Camp Flog Gnaw Carnival; COURTESY of Goldenvoice

Written by: Bernadette Angeles

Let’s just say, the 8th Annual Camp Flog Gnaw festival ended in an “Um. So that’s it?! Fine then.” No riots. No emergencies. Just a respectful goodbye from Drake that ended the night in a bitter sweet fashion. Drake asked what he asked, said what he said and that was it. An abrupt end to a fun 2-day music festival that felt like an awkward blind date that didn’t go too well. 

The problem with success is it appears to have its peak. Its popularity. Its limelight. That’s really no problem at all as what’s more of an issue is crowd members acting like punks that didn’t get what they wanted and what the majority of Camp Flog Gnaw attendees expected was Frank Ocean to be the “???” headliner. Punk mentality is not immaturity. Rather than cheers, the juvenile booed. Not all Frank Ocean fans were disrespectful but d@mn were there some vicious ones. No poor behavior at the end of the night as the audience left quietly without any rowdy business though some possibly questioned their content. 

You reap what you sow.

A fun night was ended shortly because the headliner wasn’t the headliner anticipated. It’s not the audience’s choice. That’s why it’s called a “surprise act.

I’m not talking sh!t. I love kids but when people act childish it can ruin a good time. Remember, it’s okay to like things that are mainstream. How else does mainstream become mainstream. It’s by people doing what they do and being good at it. Popularity shouldn’t take away from ones business smarts, talents and successes. 

Frank Ocean is known to be an affiliate of Tyler, The Creator’s, but Drake?! Far from the spectrum of the music Tyler, The Creator f*cks with. Well that’s what some audience members must assume. He must somewhat f*ck with Drake because if he didn’t that’d be a bad move on his end. Would Tyler, The Creator allow an act to headline his own music festival just so he could disappoint? If it was to mess with the audience or mess with Drake, that’s a hard prank to get over and an expensive one at that. Drake’s had large success with his debut solo album “Thank Me Later” in 2010 which debuted at number one on the US Billboard 200 and was soon certified platinum. 

Being successful and having hit songs seems to have a peak of popularity. It shouldn’t mean an artist who has made hits for multiple years doesn’t deserve respect. In years to come, people will talk about seeing Drake live because his hit songs are a hit for a reason. Your kids will probably know his hits and if your kids don’t know them, your kids’ kids will know them. Hit songs will forever be played. They go down in history as catchy tunes. Drake songs will be played in years to come. They’re catchy and some songs are made for just that. You want to dance to the beat. Hits impact music. Drake’s done just that yet it wasn’t enough for the crowd or maybe writing good music and continuing to make hits over an extended period of time is just too much for such a crowd. The crowd wanted something younger; something “fresher;” something more “Frank Ocean”-er. Really, it appeared Frank Ocean was all the booers imagined or what seemed the most likely at such a concert especially with Frank Ocean releasing new music and him being part of the ODDFUTURE coterie. I question the question because wouldn’t Frank Ocean be the obvious act at a Camp Flog Gnaw concert? The point of surprise is to literally be surprised. Drake being the surprise act WAS a real surprise which made some festival goers unhappy that it was truly an unpredictable surprise. Nothing would’ve made it better than the wishful thinking of what most of the crowd wanted: Frank Ocean. But would it truly be a surprise if it were something expected? An unfortunate circumstance Drake and Tyler, The Creator didn’t intend either way.

At any concert, musicians play one or two hits when they come on stage to get the crowd hyped. Play some new songs in the middle and do an encore with their biggest hits at the end. A festival somewhat works the same way. See artists you’re a fan of, discover new artists and enjoy a well-known artist as the headliner. Drake is well-known by all. From the standpoint of Camp Flog Gnaw goers, well-known isn’t necessarily a good thing. Drake as the last surprise guest WAS the encore after following the first two surprise headliners: ASAP Rocky & Lil Uzi Vert. Drake has numerous hits and substantial discography that he could play an entire set just of hits and I suppose that’s why Tyler had him as the last performance. The encore.

Liking mainstream music doesn’t make you lame. What makes things lame is lame reactions. Drake songs make people dance but dancing to certain songs at certain festivals must have its limits as the ending to this year’s Camp Flog Gnaw festival strongly points. Taste in music will never be unified. Drake told the audience he knew his music didn’t necessarily cater to such a crowd and that all he wanted to do was give the crowd a good time. The crowd could’ve danced to the beat, but they didn’t want to. Maybe Drake is too much of a different generation or a different culture than some of the attendees. Who’ll ever truly know why. Those who booed Drake aren’t horrible people, they just don’t understand the meaning of respect. Why boo someone that just wants everyone to have a good time. Why act like a child. 

Drake said it was their [the audience’s] festival, not his. After asking the audience if they wanted him to play more songs the crowd shouted their domineering tantrums of expecting Frank Ocean to be Tyler’s last friend to come on stage. There was no other friend. Drake was the friend and final act. If they’re truly friends, you hope they’re hashing out the outcome of the show. To Camp Flog Gnaw attendees: “Was Drake not enough of a surprise?! Is he that terrible of a performer that you can’t enjoy his live performance?” For me, I can’t help but to move & groove to Drake songs. I may not get his name tattooed on my forehead, but I respect his success and would have enjoyed celebrating last night. It surprised me that Tyler, The Creator called Drake out to the stage as his friend. Who knew they were friends? I didn’t. That surprised me and isn’t the purpose of a surprise act is to be surprised? I was ready to have a good time for another twenty-minutes, listen to hits, sing along and dance to a few fun catchy beats. Why not. The biggest dilemma is what went wrong. Was the crowd being spoiled brats? Should Tyler have made it clearer that Drake was the final headliner? Should Drake have told the audience members that were boo’ing to go home so those that wanted to finish having fun could’ve enjoyed the remainder of the show?

I mean, Tyler, The Creator could never want Drake to be the surprise headliner even though he was the headliner. Isn’t that “???” enough of a surprise? For Tyler, The Creator to bring one of the most prominent artists of a generation out as the surprise act what more can one expect. 

At the end of the day, it is what it is.

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