By Kelly Harris
Ever had a feeling that a night is not going to end well? That’s how I felt the minute I began walking from the car to Xavier University’s Convocation Center for the concert featuring KeKe Wyatt and Fantasia on August 2, 2014.
First signs of trouble…
The show started at 7:00PM. I arrived at 7:25PM and it appeared no one had been seated. Once I got inside the Center (after waiting in a long line outside), I still had to wait in the lobby for reasons unknown. Around 7:40ish people were allowed in but only after showing proof of a ticket again to one person and receiving a yellow wristband from another person (the wristband also had hand written numbers on it).
Finally Seated and…
I could hear people on their phones recounting what had happened. Others near me were frustrated but still eager to see KeKe Wyatt and Fantasia.
8:12pmish: The emcee makes an announcement to the audience. He asks everyone to please sit in the seats they paid for. Huh?
The row behind me is cussing him and his mama.
Suddenly Big Freedia saves the Day
To the crowd’s surprise Big Freedia appears on stage and performs 2 short numbers. Big Freedia is only a temporary fix to the crowd’s growing anger.
We’re waiting again.
Finally KeKe Wyatt appears. There seems to be a relief in the crowd that the concert is starting (almost 2 hrs late). There seemed to be a decent number of fans happy to sing along with her. By the third song, though, there were sound problems and although it was embarrassing, she pushed through the song. But then she scolded fans to stand up and stop acting like they were at a funeral. That did not endear her to the crowd. At this point the show was hella late. Folks had just twerked and were probably tired and were saving their energy for Fantasia.
And now introducing the St. Augustine Marching 100
Wait. A marching band? A good one yes, but we’re here to see Fantasia.
After three songs by the Purple Knights the wait continues.
I think there was a cast from a local play introducing themselves on stage somewhere in the mix of all this.
Then Fantasia came out hand in hand with Keke Wyatt and expressed her love for New Orleans, but made it clear she wasn’t performing (but would be at the after party).
Folks were yelling and using all sorts of cuss word combinations. Demands for refunds were immediate and countered with security and police.
I left around 10:40ish pm, but there were people still waiting at the box office for refunds.
Video reaction from fans is posted on the BrassyBrown.com Facebook page.
I don’t know what happened, but I do know the sponsoring organization does good work for youth in the New Orleans. It’s important that people know that. I’m sure there are details I don’t know. Nevertheless, I know people are upset and with good reason. I received a statement from a representative of the event Sunday night. Read it below:
A special message for those who attended Saturday’s Divine Foundation, Inc. benefit concert.
“First, we want to thank everyone who attended the Divine Foundation, Inc. benefit concerts (Friday and Saturday). As you can imagine, Saturday night’s outcome was a disappointment to us all.
Let us be clear, the outcome is not a reflection or the fault of any of the artists, Xavier University, the Divine Foundation or Professional Funeral Services. Please know that we all worked tirelessly to deliver an event worthy of your support.
Upon further review, the system was not equipped to handle the needs of the artists. Discussions around those repercussions are being handled with the production company separately.
Our commitment right now is to rectify the situation with you, our supporters, as soon as possible.
Everyone will receive a full refund for their ticket purchases. The process to issue refunds to those who purchased tickets using a credit card has begun and will continue until complete.
For those who purchased tickets with cash, refunds will be made at the Xavier University Convocation Center ticket box office Monday through Friday, 11am-5pm and will continue daily until complete. Refunds will be issued to the person whose name is recorded in the ticketing system. You must present a valid ID to receive a refund.
We created this event to benefit our youth and the community as a whole and we stand behind that commitment. If you have any questions or concerns you may contact us directly at 504-218-7487. Thank you for your patience and more importantly for your support.”
I sincerely hope things work out for everyone involved.
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Kelly Harris is the founder and Editor of BrassyBrown.com. She’s a poet and the owner of KHD Communications LLC. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter & Instagram: @BrassyBrownnola