This past weekend was The Governors Ball Music Festival, New York City’s answer to Coachella over the past few years. Kanye West was slated to perform on Sunday night, but the third day of the music festival was canceled thanks to a rain storm. The inclement weather was over by the time Kanye would have taken the stage on Randall’s Island, though plenty of festival goers were bummed.
As soon as Gov Ball was canceled, rumors started circulating that Kanye would play elsewhere in NYC. Earlier in the night Yeezy popped up at Hot 97’s Summer Jam at MetLife Stadium. Then, around midnight, a rumor broke that he’d be playing a surprise show at Webster Hall in the East Village.
Sam Sheffer‘s vlog recap above is probably the best account of events from that point on.
Webster Hall is small and old — It only holds about 1600 people at the most. I was actually out walking in the East Village around the time the rumor broke, so I got to witness the pandemonium at a distance first hand — hundreds of hipsters of all ages from all over the city started jumping out of taxis and running to get in a line a couple blocks long. A couple EMTs were dealing with people who were trampled in the mob. Within a few minutes, thousands descended on East 11th Street between 3rd and 4th. Some were wearing Yeezys, others various merch from Kanye’s Yeezy Season tours and clothing collections.
Almost all who gathered were the very definition of Kanye stans. Some of these hipster idiots even jumped on a couple cars that happened to be parked on 11th Street. Only one arrest was made, according to the NYPD.
Based on the crowd, it became clear very early there was no way city officials were going to let Kanye take the stage at such a small venue for such a poorly-planned last minute event. New York’s police, EMT, and fire authorities were gathered on Fourth Avenue. It was clear when fire trucks showed up at 1AM that it wasn’t going to happen.
Kanye showed up in a black Mercedes (in the video above), attracted a huge mob while hanging out of his sunroof, then drove away from the horde down Third Avenue. The show was officially canceled, as predicted. By the time Kanye actually showed up I was long gone, drinking a dark and stormy in my underwear watching Anthony Bourdain on Netflix.
Anyway, it was fascinating sight to witness. There’s a big population of people in America that don’t understand the cult of Kanye West. Maybe they listened to The College Drop Out or Graduation and based out on his career. But it’s impossible to ignore how there are millions and millions of people who DESPISE Kanye West and everything that he stands for. “Who are the people who *actually* buy this guy’s music? How does he still have a career? Who likes this loser?”
Well, here they are. Kanye fanboys and fangirls worship the bombastic air he breathes. They support his every artistic move with biblical zealotry and enthusiasm. The fact he can cause a near riot by rousing a couple thousand people out of bed on a Sunday night at midnight is nothing short of how powerful his celebrity is in the urban centers of America.
Dude never even picked up a mic last night in New York City and he caused a full-fledged freak out. As the old Chinese curse goes, “May you live in interesting times…”