What happened with ATCQ? & Hip-Hop at #OL10
So, first things first—what happened to A Tribe Called Quest? On opening day, festival organizers announced shocking news: the band wouldn’t make their set due to “unforeseen travel issues.” Luckily, for everyone with a 3-day pass, this meant we’d see them on Saturday.
Friday was cool though. Jarobi White did his Eats, Rhymes, and Life set which made some of us question the validity of this “travel issues” statement. Not to mention an Instagram post from Ali Shaheed Muhammad on Saturday clearly on site for the festival.
Then, low and behold, an announcement on Twitter Saturday, just minutes before their once-already rescheduled performance, read “We are deeply disappointed that we’ve just been informed A Tribe Called Quest will not make their scheduled performance at Outside Lands.” Riding on the notion that this is Tribe’s last tour ever, the crowd was in dismay. Thousands of questions were pouring in online and rumbles among fans leaving the stage chattered shamelessly about refunds, Outside Lands being a “scam,” and how alcohol was needed to sooth sorrows.
Industry talk surfaced; members of ATCQ were, if fact, at Outside Lands. Everyone except for Q-Tip. Q-Tip’s flight landed eventually, but when Outside Lands officials announced ATCQ’s performance would be cancelled, Tribe had no idea.
Had officials been a little more patient, and had Q-Tip been rushed through The City to get to Golden Gate Park, maybe it would have happened… we thought.
However, on Tuesday night following the festival, an open letter was published from A Tribe Called Quest offering an explanation, an apology, and a promise to “correct this”. They said:
“Our performance at the festival has been months in the making and in those months, we have been fraught with an emotional and eager excitement to touch the stage in the place where Phife Dawg made his home.”
Their humbling performance at Red Rock Amphitheater in Colorado just a day before seemed to have triggered an emotional landslide:
“You would think that with every performance we heal a little more and the sadness is easier to handle. Sometimes that is the case and sometimes the grief and loss is compounded. Although [Red Rock] was filled with love and we felt it all, we also felt the huge void of Phife’s absence. We walked off that stage deep in grief.”
So “travel complications,” sudden overwhelming grief, or both? I guess we can’t be too sure, but one thing that I can be sure of… nobody is going to start disliking a lifetime of music because of one festival. Besides, haven’t you ever called in sick to work before?
You can read the complete letter from ATCQ released by LA Times here.
Despite the funk, Gorillaz killed it. Seriously, they deserve an award for Most Features During A Live Set. Peven Everett showed up and performed my favorite track off Humanz, “Strobelite.” De La Soul was there for “Momentz,” Pusha T came through for “Let Me Out“… I’m not even done… Kali Uchis did “She’s My Collar,” and Little Simz was on “I Got The Power.” It was lit, to say the least.
Almost every feature on Humanz came through, not to mention, Del The Funky Homosapien touched the stage to perform the classic, and inevitable, “Clint Eastwood”. All in all, the only thing that could have made this performance any better would have been Danny Brown and Vince Staples.
Kamaiyah kicked off her set with a new song, which is currently featured on KSJS Urban Top 40 called, “Build You Up.” If I had to describe Kamaiyah’s sound, I would say she has a Brandy vibe, with a Missy Elliot style, and a Too Short attitude. People felt her energy and it only took two songs for people who once looked lost to be on their feet dancing.
Kamaiyah played my all-time favorite, “Out The Bottle” right before she proudly rapped YG’s part to “Why You Always Hatin?” This effortlessly turned into, “Fuck It Up.” And after a few tracks in between, she concluded with her hit single off her 2016 album, A Good Night In The Ghetto, “How Does It Feel”.
As the fog rolled in, so did ScHoolboy Q. While I would have liked to see him perform a few more tracks off his most recent album, fans were ecstatic to hear him do stuff off Oxymoron like “Man Of The Year,” “Studio,” and “Hell of a Night.” He even went as far back as “Hands On The Wheel.” I was hoping for a surprise guest appearance from E40 for “Dope Dealer,” but the only track off Blank Face LP, ScHoolboy Q performed was “THat Part.” He finished his set by panting into the mic at the gushing audience, “I’ve never even heard of this festival, to be honest…” As the crowed screamed louder, so did he, “I thought it was gonna be weak, but it’s not. Thank you, San Francisco!”
With A Tribe Called Quest’s reschedule and cancellation, other performances were rearranged to compensate. It is already impossible to see every performance across four main stages and several sub-stages, but constant changes to set times and locations made it incredibly worse.
Many fans of the house and techno producer Claude VonStroke missed his performance entirely. His set was moved up, and to a different stage. People said they didn’t get a timely notification and that it was hardly publicized (with adequate notice) on the jumbo-tron at corresponding locations. Even people with the Outside Lands app said they were unaware.
Speaking of, the Outside Lands app was helpful. Yay for technology! The Tech Writer in me has a few suggestions for improvement, but overall, if it wasn’t for the app, communication between officials and attendees would have been an even bigger problem. Plus, the app kept us informed about free food, happy hours, and whatever other fun things were going on around the grounds. With beer costing $11 and a small plate of food running between $12 and $20, samples, free snacks, and drink specials went a long way.
In an intimate press conference with Outside Lands co-founders, Allen Scott of Another Planet Entertainment, and Rick Farman of Superfly, I realized something: The Bay Area is thriving. Whether it be in art, food, culture, beer, wine, or music–especially music–we are recognized worldwide in multiple industries and on multiple platforms. And there I was, sitting in a media tent, face to face with some of The Bay Area’s industry pioneers. Pretty remarkable, huh?
When Rick and Allen were asked how they came up with the idea for Outside Lands, they said, “[We thought] San Francisco should have a great big festival. [We have] an amazing culture and amazing music history…” Sure enough, ten years later, Outside Lands is on its tenth attempt to top festival charts. And with some of the world’s best wineries, craft brews, artists, and musicians coming together in a place as beautiful as Golden Gate Park, they might be headed that number one spot.
When asked about whether Outside Lands was worried about competition from other festivals emerging in the area, Allen and Rick casually replied, “Nah.” With such an original vibe, and an appeal to so many different people–rock and rollers, EDM lovers, rave kids, indie supporters, Hip-Hop heads, foodies, craft beer enthusiasts, winos, families, and party animals–there is literally something for everyone.
New York might be the city that never sleeps, but the San Francisco Bay Area is certainly always woke.