Written by: Mikala Lugen
Utah Meets Hip-Hop: Inaugural HIVE Festival Brings Two Days Of Hip-Hop To SLC
Utah’s inaugural HIVE Festival took place over the weekend at Salt Lake City’s Utah State Fairpark.
Originally slated for June 2020, the festival was forced to first reschedule and then all-around cancel their event due to the global effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. A year later, the new festival was able to finally bring two days of world-renowned hip-hop to the city.
After a year without live music and large-scale gatherings, it seemed as though the events industry was going to shift back into high gear for the summer. A first-year festival always poses a variety of difficulties, and this year was no different for event organizers around the country trying to mitigate the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Amid the current environment, the idea of bringing people together again brought thousands of music fans to Utah to see some of the brightest acts in hip-hop, including one of the state’s most popular music resident, Post Malone. Joining on the weekend’s lineup included hip-hop group Suicideboys, Trippie Red, Flatbush Zombies, Ski Mask The Slump God, and more.
As Friday’s blazing sun set ablaze on the first day, unfortunate news loomed over the crowd as the announcement that Da Baby, Suicide Boys, Ski Mask The Slump God, and The Kid Laroi weren’t going to perform over the weekend. While Suicide Boys announced on social media their COVID-19 diagnoses, and Da Baby was nearly forced to cancel due to his recent anti-gay banter, it was unclear why additional acts were pulling the plug on their sets. Animosity and disappointment grew as some fans complained in groups on social media requesting refunds and referencing the festival to the notorious “Fyre Festival.”
“We spent almost $1,000 for two, two day passes,” wrote a fan on social media. “There was no staff anywhere to be found, zero accommodation for water even though it’s in the middle of summer…. This was by far the most poorly planned, executed, and poorly run concert I have ever attended. I talked to probably 20 people tonight who all agree, this is not what we paid for and we deserve to be reimbursed. Do better. Fyre festival all over again.”
While the first day turned out to be a lack luster, it seemed that Saturday prevailed when the festival acknowledged the criticism from fans and encouraged a smoother day of music.
“As we head into Day 2, we hear and recognize all your criticisms,” the festival stated. “As we begin to address each request, there is one thing to keep in mind that the artists that did come out, showed up and put on great performances. Through the growing pains of a first year festival, artists who are sick, miss flights or withdraw are all instances out of our control, and as crushing to us as it was to you all. Thank you for your understanding.”
The Saturday stage saw crowd pleasing sets from Don Toliver, Jack Harlow, Joey Badass, Saint Jhn and more. Approaching the final hour, it wasn’t until hometown headliner Post Malone took the stage and eased the energy of the even to fans.
“My name is Austin Richard Post, I’m here to sing some shitty songs,” Malone said. “Honestly, I want to say before we start this show, I just want to say… thank you to each and every single f*****g one of y’all for coming out tonight. It’s been a rough year… over a year and a half… and I just want to say thank you to everybody, for… you know, supporting and showing love to all these beautiful f*****g artists… and it feels f*****g awesome to be able to come out and sing.”
Although the first-year festival had its set of adversities out of their control, Post Malone concluded the weekend on a more positive note during his 90-minute set and fireworks display. While it seemed there were a majority of negative reviews, the return of live music and opportunity to dance and celebrate remained a common theme among the attendees. Whether or not HIVE Festival will return next year remains unknown. For more information on HIVE Festival, visit its website.