Ryerson RTA School of Media grad, Greg Benedetto

Photo: Alexandria Lee

Punk alumni is Stuck in the City

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By Alexandria Lee

A Ryerson RTA School of Media alumnus is at the forefront of Toronto’s D.I.Y. [do it yourself] hardcore scene.

Graduated in 2007, Greg Benedetto has become a prominent member of the underground music community through his promotional group, Stuck in the City [SitC]. Originally a collective of several other people, Benedetto is now the only official member of SitC — yet he still helps the hardcore community thrive by booking D.I.Y. shows city-wide. D.I.Y. ethic emphasizes community and culture over profit at these concerts.

The group, named after a song by New York hardcore band Breakdown, is based on the idea that members of the hardcore community have “walked the same streets.”

“I wanted to fill a void for people, I wanted there to be more hardcore and punk in Toronto,” he said.

“He’s more obsessive about [the hardcore scene] than most people, which means he gets things done,” says Benedetto’s partner, Sarde Hardie. “Greg doesn’t know everyone, but everyone knows Greg.”

In his youth, Benedetto attended all-ages shows at Brampton’s North Bramalea United Church regularly. The infrequency of shows there motivated Benedetto to travel to other Southern Ontario suburbs and eventually downtown, where he attended Ryerson.

“I wanted to make a better effort to promote DIY shows in the city,” says Benedetto on the beginning of his booking alias. “I met Sandy[from Toronto punk band Fucked Up] through going to shows and helping out at stuff that her band did when they played frequently.”

Two years after graduation, Benedetto started volunteering at local shows, helping out by stacking chairs and keeping piling crowds from toppling PA systems.  Now, SitC regularly books shows at Toronto venues including Smiling Buddha, Sneaky Dee’s, Hard Luck Bar and multiple D.I.Y. venues.   

“Anyone can book a show, it’s not hard,” said Benedetto. “It’s literally just getting some bands, getting a room and collecting money at the door for them.”

SitC and Benedetto have booked entire festivals on a D.I.Y. platform — like Not Dead Yet [NDY], a yearly festival which recently took place on Oct. 22-25, piling thousands of punks into intimate venues across the city. The group booked international acts like the pop-punk legends in Title Fight, Power Trip — a Texas hardcore-metal outfit — and Career Suicide, a popular local act. Benedetto himself plays guitar in S.H.I.T., a local hardcore-punk band. They also played at NDY.

“He doesn’t book just one kind of show, he’ll do a crusty hardcore show, he’ll do a post-punk show, and then he’ll do a show for terror — and it’s all the same dude doing different things,” said longtime-friend Steve Musgrave. “I think he’s incredibly invaluable.”

Benedetto’s work at SitC is often as a loss. To support himself, the promoter works as a full-time producer as well. But the figure of Toronto hardcore keeps on promoting, playing and attending to support the local scene.

“I do this because I enjoy this, I don’t do it for any other reason,” he said.  “If I wasn’t booking the shows, I’d be here anyway.”

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