Drake’s performance at Camp Flog Gnaw was poorly received this year — why?
Drake had a rough go this year at Camp Flog Gnaw. In a shocking twist of events, the last surprise guest of headliner Tyler the Creator was booed off the stage before completing his set on Sunday night. The crowd was eagerly expecting the stage to be taken by Frank Ocean, who has not performed live since 2017.
The stage was first taken by A$AP Rocky, then Lil Uzi Vert, and finally Drake, who performed a short set, including his hits “Headlines,” “I’m Upset,” “Started from the Bottom,” and “Mob Ties.” The crowd was reportedly acting underwhelmed by his performance, which prompted the artist to check in with the subdued crowd. He was met with boos, and then stated, “Well, look, it’s been love. I love y’all. I go by the name of Drake. Thank you for having me.”
Fans began a chant to bring someone back on stage– but it was difficult to tell if the crowd was yelling “Drake” or “Frank.” Twenty-one year old festival attendee Kellie Cage stated that the crowd’s vibe after Drake left the stage was definitely unsettled.
“Everyone was standing around, looking at each other. People were murmuring and talking and some were chanting, but that ended pretty quickly,”Cage said. “It was like no one knew what to do, not even the people operating the stage. After about 20 minutes, the lights came on and we knew it was time to go.”
After the incident, Tyler the Creator went on a Twitter rant about his guest performance choice, scolding the crowd for their behavior.
“I THOUGHT BRINGING ONE OF THE BIGGEST ARTIST ON THE … PLANET TO A MUSIC FESTIVAL WAS FIRE! BUT FLIPSIDE, A LIL TONE DEAF KNOWING THE SPECIFIC CROWD IT DREW,” he said. “SOME CREATED A NARRATIVE IN THEIR HEAD AND ACTED OUT … WHEN IT DIDNT COME TRUE AND I DONT … WITH THAT.”
It seems that the “narrative” he was referring to was the expectation that Frank Ocean would take the stage, which there was no evidence for.
“There was no reason for anyone to think that Frank would perform,” said Cage. “Everyone was just hoping for it, I guess. If they had known Drake was coming and hadn’t been expecting something else I’m sure it would have been fine.”
In a Variety article discussing the incident, the crowd was described as “young, sarcastic” and “Gen Z-heavy.” The crowd that gathers that Flog Gnaw is getting younger every year, and seems to be heavy laden with young LA teens, unlike the Coachella crowd which draws individuals of all ages from around the globe. The dramatic reaction to Drake’s performance could be seen as a reflection of the immature, youthful crowd that attended the event.
Personally, I think it was a dramatic display of immature behavior for the crowd to react in the way that they did. There was nothing wrong with Drake’s performance — the reaction was simply a response to the expectation that someone else was going to take the stage. The response was a rather bratty way to welcome a world renowned artist to the stage.
It seems as if Drake’s negative reception this year at Camp Flog Gnaw was due in part to the cancel culture that is widely displayed by Gen Z, as well as the unfounded expectation that a different artist would be taking the stage. Either way, after the flopped performance, Drake ironically signed a 10 year residency contract at Camp Flog Gnaw, according to his own instagram. It looks like the artist isn’t going anywhere.