XO Festival, not to be confused with anything to do with The Weeknd, was supposed to take place this weekend (put that together and say that all 10 times fast), but was canceled very last minute for a long variety of reasons. The festival, originally slated to take place in Antioch, California, blames poor ticket sales and “fake news” being leveled at the California hip-hop festival, but in fact it was a scam from the start that as the more we learn, is turning into a Fyre Festival-like debacle.
The festival promised to feature musicians and comedians like Ludacris, The Diplomats, T.I. Russell Peters (DJ Set), Biz Markie, The Sugarhill Gang, DJ Qbert, Vanilla Ice and others among their headliners. However tickets ranged from $375 to $2,495, which should have been a big red flag since none of the artists were real headliners in today’s market for a $400 festival. It also promised Instagram perks like a foam pit, indoor ice rink, color arena and more.
However, things have been sketchy behind the scenes for months. According to Rolling Stone, artists have been concerned about payment for some time and several artists pulled out in the past few days over incomplete or missing payments. The venue, Contra Costa Event Park, on Wednesday canceled the festival in a statement, “due to the promoters’ lack of fulfilling contractual obligations.”
The red flags have been showing up for quite some time. Jim Hudson of Country Music Management, who initially booked Nashville artist Madison Hudson for the show, told Rolling Stone, “things didn’t add up. It was fraud from the start. I’m a retired cop and I try to do a bit of background on people before booking Madison, and it’s been nonstop issues, nonstop red flags.”
Adam Brooks who manages Dangermaker, who was slated to perform, noted how shady it was. He said there was “no compensation for us, no contract, no details.”
The festival had to change its name from XOXO Festival because of infringement claims. One of their promoters, Sami Habib, though it may be an alias for Habibullah Qadir according to Amplify, was recently arrested and charged with over 40 felonies in a scam for high-end properties.
As early as yesterday, the festival said they were still planning the festival, blaming the “fake media” for their problems, but no, it is canceled. They listed SiriusXM as a sponsor, but Sirius says no such deal was ever struck.
Ludacris was scheduled to perform at a different event this weekend and the festival said his schedule was wrong. Some artists like Trinere spoke out against the festival, calling it a scam.
It is a mess that hopefully we will see get decided in court if Habib knowingly misled fans and artists in a fraudulent way. Good luck getting your money back.