XO Festival Cancelled. Bay Area Saved from it’s Own Fyre Fest.
If the name “Fyre Festival” doesn’t ring a bell, let me take you on a quick stroll down memory lane. See, awhile back, rapper “Ja Rule” teamed up with a trust fund fuckboy named Billy McFarland with the intention of putting on a “luxury festival experience” in the Bahamas. Without going into large amounts of detail, let’s just say it was a total disaster. People got abandoned on the island, many bands pulled out of the festival, the island was trashed by irate festival attendees and people are still fighting for refunds. Many workers still haven’t been paid and Billy McFarland is looking at a minimum of 10 years in prison. That’s what we call a catastrophic fuck up, dear readers. It was such a legendary dumpster inferno, in fact, that the term “Fyre Festival” is used as a universal term to describe other fuck ups such as the narrowly escaped one I’m about to talk to you about called “The XO Music Festival”, set to take place in the Bay Area this entire weekend. Now that we’ve skipped down memory lane, let’s get into what you all missed out on.
Starting on July 13th, there was supposed to be an “Ultra VIP Experience” that promised 100 music acts performing across seven stages along with appearances from celebrities including the cast of “The Jersey Shore” & more. This was to be taking place at The Contra Costa Event Park in Antioch. That sounds like a fun time, all things considered, even with the inclusion of The Situation, Snooki and J-Wow. So why did the venue decide on Wednesday (2 days ago) to pull the plug on this suspiciously underbooked festival? Well, it seems there’s a few reasons they made that decision.
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The first reason they decided to pull the plug on this smoke & mirrors extravaganza was that the promoters were not fulfilling contractual obligations. They didn’t get into specifics but honestly, we don’t need them. Breaching a contract is usually a huge issue no matter what. The second reason they pulled the plug was due to “low ticket sales” and “negative media attention” per the official XO Music Festival website.
I want to talk about the negative media attention here, actually. You see, the festival was being ran by a company called World Class Entertainment, headed up by a dude named Sami Habib. What? You don’t know who Sami Habib is? Of course you don’t, because it’s not even his real name. His real name is Habibullah Said Qadir and he just so happened to be arrested and charged with 40+ felonies in connection with a big ass real estate scam. If that doesn’t raise a red flag and make the media question exactly what the fuck is going on with this mysterious festival, I don’t know what would. The more and more you dug into this, the more and more it started to look like a huge scam or, at very best, a catastrophe waiting to happen. Ludacris & T.I. were among performers set for the festival but at least one other performer pulled out when the promoters messaged them last minute about bringing all their own lighting and other various tech stuff that’s pretty much always taken care of by the venue. Red flag after red flag seemed to be popping up near the end but I’m honestly amazed it ever even got off the ground in the first place. I should also mention that this thing was so poorly ran that the promoters were looking for tech people on the website “GigSalad”, which is like all the shitty gigs you can get on Craigslist in the convenience of one website. They probably would have used Backpage if it were still up & running.
From the very beginning, shit was sketchy about this event. Early advertisements and teasers used stock photos and poorly made videos using stolen imagery & video footage. It was marketed as a secretive line up aside from a few announced acts to give it an “exclusive” feel or, as I like to call it, a way of buying time because you didn’t book enough acts in time to promote it properly. Red flags and the sour taste of The Fyre Festival probably did ultimately kill this diaper fire of a festival, but people still bought tickets. Not a lot of people though – they’re saying that only 400 tickets were sold – but the ones that did shelled out between $375 and $2500 a ticket for a glorified state fair music festival. That’s insane to me because I’m poor, but also who in the fuck would spend $2500 to sit in the East Bay sun all day and watch Ludacris & T.I. as the major headliners? Nothing against them but come on, they’re old news at this point.
Luckily, Bay Area readers, you have so much more you can do this weekend. See a live comedy show, a concert for a fraction of the cost, stay inside with Netflix, have a weekend full of skin slapping sex or just sleep if you want. Because y’all dodged the Bay Area Fyre Festival bullet and you should reward yourselves for not being big enough idiots to buy tickets to this outhouse of a music festival.