Ethan Dussault and his sound engineering team are scrambling to leave the EMF building in Cambridge, Massachusetts. They have to be out Friday. But he's now considering joining some other artists next month, who are making noise and planning to go out with a bang.
"Start protecting the artists before it's too late," said Dussault.
The 11th annual Make Music Harvard Square Festival is scheduled for June 16, a time for bands to play for free in Cambridge. Many of those same musicians used to live at EMF, and they are now planning to protest the event.
State Rep. Mike Connolly agrees with them.
"I would appeal to him to step up and be a community partner," said Connolly, who's targeting building owner John DiGiovanni.
"I think it is misguided," DiGiovanni said.
He's also the president of the Harvard Square Business Association, an organization expected to benefit financially from the festival.
"They can protest there hasn't been enough public funding," said DiGiovanni.
Cambrige Mayor Mark McGovern says the city tried to take over the lease. But when inspectors went in, they realized the cost to fix and maintain the property would be too high. He's now focused on finding other options moving forward.
"Provide incentives for property owners to provide affordable housing space," said McGovern.
"I wouldn't want anyone, whether musician, artist or otherwise, at any risk in any building," said Digiovanni.
Digiovanni's made a few friends in the Cambridge arts community. But he says his critics need to realize the place is no longer safe.
"It's really hard to pin the blame on any one person," Dussault said.
But through this process, Dussault says the artists can no longer rely on politicians and landlords to get their backs, and they now need to advocate for themselves.
"We've been just so focused on the art. There are lots of changes happening in the city, how do we protect ourselves from this?," asked Dussault.