Fans Booed Camp Flog Gnaw, Not Drake

Following last weekend, the whole internet was swarmed with the news that Drake had been kicked offstage at the Los Angeles Camp Flog Gnaw Festival this past Sunday. The video can be seen here, which depicts Drake asking the crowd if he should continue his show, only to be met with “boo”s and “no”s from the disgruntled crowd. 

Following the audience’s response, Drake kept his head high and finished with “It’s been love […] I love y’all. I go by the name of Drake. Thank you for having me.” 

What then followed was an awkward 30-minute confusion where eager fans thought Frank Ocean could possibly still perform. As one of the many festival goers, the lack of any clear message or signage that said the festival was over post-Drake only furthered our confidence that the show was to go on. We watched the stadium lights turned on and the construction crews come out to take the stage apart (we thought maybe they were actually building a new set for Frank), all in hopes that there would be some elaborate relief to our dwindling patience. 

After 30 minutes or so, the video boards displayed a message informing the audience that the festival was over and to head home. We gave it another few minutes until we officially tapped out. Flog Gnaw was over. 

Overall, the situation was pretty shitty. Tyler, The Creator’s iconic festival ended with its headliner being booed off stage, fans were disappointed and unfulfilled, and Drake was put in a position to fail. This failure was simply Drake being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Spencer Kornhaber from the Atlantic describes the poor mix as “a clash of tastes” because “Tyler and Flog Gnaw’s brand is colorful and punkish and opposed to all things serious,” and “Drake’s is chilly and commercial and calculated.”

Drake showing up was the equivalent of a popular jock crashing the art geeks’ party and demanding to take over the aux cord to put on Maroon 5″ – Spencer Kornhaber

Leading up to the festival, everyone I spoke to had a good reason to believe Frank Ocean was going to be the mystery headliner. While he hadn’t performed in years, the Odd Future icon had just released two singles over the past few weeks, and it seemed that the stars aligned for Ocean’s public return. From Reddit to word of mouth, it was clear fans were building up anticipation. Even rumors spread that Frank canceled and Drake was his replacement. Drake at Flog Gnaw? It was unthinkable. 

Come Sunday at 9:55 p.m. when the “???” headliner still hadn’t been announced, the mystery added to the Frank Ocean enigma that made the artist’s upcoming appearance make even more sense. Frank Ocean’s “Moon River” even played as the crowd waited (some for 8+ hours), which all but confirmed our suspicions. 

Finally, Tyler came out to greet the eager fans. He thanked us for attending and promised a memorable night. Lastly, he asked if he could bring some friends on stage. (We agreed). 

To start off, A$Ap Rocky suddenly came out bumpin’ and got the crowd hype as hell. He delivered a couple bangers before heading off stage, leaving us warmed up for the next performer. Tyler came out again and essentially delivered the same bit. Next, Lil Uzi came out and turned the festival up again, even going out deep into the crowd and bringing the energy to a new high. Similarly to A$Ap, Uzi just played a few hype songs and promptly said farewell to the crowd.

It has been more than two years since Frank Ocean played a live show.

The whole act repeated itself as then Drake came onstage. I wasn’t sure whether to be excited or very concerned, for time was running out for Frank’s set. This is when things grew increasingly hectic. 

Drake said he was gonna play just a couple songs, then played about four. He then said the same exact thing and played another four songs, not two. With each song engaging the crowd less and less, the understanding settled over the crowd the Drake was here to stay, and Flog Gnaw fans weren’t having it.

Tyler was undeniably tone deaf to what the audience was expecting. The “entitled crowd” that paid upwards of $300 for a two day festival simply weren’t Drake fans and were not vibing with his music even if they knew it. A simple text or tweet on the day of saying “Frank isn’t performing” at least could have wiped away all assumptions before the tension grew too much and led to a heated crowd. 

Nonetheless, Drake at least took it all in stride, calling it a “moment of humility” as it “was just not my night. Wasn’t who they wanted to see.” 

Be smarter than that, Flog Gnaw.

2 COMMENTS

  1. I really love that you wrote about this, because I’ve actually been trying to find the rationale behind (1) inviting Drake to Flog Gnaw in the first place and (2) people booing him off stage. On the one hand, Drake is definitely not the type of artist Flog Gnaw fans came to see. You’re right, he’s too commercial for the crowd Tyler, the Creator brings. On the other hand, booing someone like that off stage is flat out disrespectful. Drake has worked hard to get where he is today, and though I personally despise his music, I honestly feel bad for the guy. Tyler said it right — he though bringing such a big act would be a great move — but unfortunately he was wrong.

  2. I enjoyed reading this — I also wrote my op-ed on Flog Gnaw because I was confused and slightly irritated by the whole situation. I think that if the festival had announced the headliner prior to the performance, the whole boo-ing situation could have been avoided. Like you, and many others, I thought that Frank was going to *finally* perform at CFG given his recent singles and merch drops. I was a little confused when Drake was the surprise headliner, given that he doesn’t really fit the vibe of the festival. Had the festival been Coachella or Lollapolooza, it would have been fine, because those festivals are so large to the extent where a crowd would be satisfied with an act as big as Drake. Since Flog Gnaw is a much smaller, more genre-based festival, Drake was not the correct pick for a surprise guest.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here