Mixed reactions and no ‘surprise guest’ at RSU’s 6 Fest

6 Fest French Montana

French Montana closed out 6 Fest, leaving attendees disappointed at a lack of “surprise” guest appearances suggested by the event’s promoters. (Kemeisha McDonald)

The Ryerson Students’ Union (RSU) wrapped up its two-day 6 Fest music event, and people have taken to Twitter to voice either support or frustration for the student organization following last-minute lineup changes and no surprise appearance by Toronto rapper Drake.

6 Fest ran Sunday and Monday, with artists Diplo and Big Sean initially billed as headlining acts, alongside “special guests.” Last-minute changes to 6 Fest’s online promotional material, however, removed Big Sean and placed artist French Montana as a new co-headliner alongside Diplo. The Moroccan-born French Montana had also performed a very short set at a 6 Fest pop-up concert in early September. Posters hanging around Ryerson’s campus as recently as late Sunday still listed Big Sean as one of the event’s guests, and the RSU has not released any official retraction or apology for the loss of the artist on any platform.

Pre-sale tickets for the concert ran for around $40, while “Tier 2” tickets were $116.66. The RSU-run event, which was open to non-Ryerson students as well, attracted a few thousand attendees at its Toronto Port Lands venue. The rocky, largely empty space hosted one stage, several food trucks and not much else. While the crowd was receptive and energetic on the first night, tensions began to build on Monday, with many concert-goers voicing disappointment when it became clear that Drake would not be making an appearance. The Toronto-based artist has performed at two separate RSU-affiliated events in the past, but a recent injury caused the rapper to cancel one of his Toronto concerts at the Air Canada Centre on Sunday, and cast doubts over whether or not he would show up at 6 Fest.

The two-day festival still featured a sizeable lineup of artists. DJ sets by Toronto groups Thugli and Grandtheft opened the show on Sunday, and an energetic performance by New York rapper and frequent Kanye West collaborator Pusha T led well into Diplo’s sprawling set. Monday featured more local talent, with rappers Baka and Roy Woods, as well as R&B duo DVSN, rounding out a list of Toronto-area artists leading up to French Montana. DJ sets by DJ DattaBass, Unimerce, and others kept the crowd moving throughout the evening, with Drake’s songs getting frequent play in spite of his notable absence.

Aside from last-minute lineup changes, the RSU successfully ran a professional-looking music festival according to schedule, with no dead air between sets. There were several fights within the crowd on both nights that required intervention from festival security, but no major injuries or stage rushes by audience members were reported. 6 Fest promoters did little to kill the runaway hype surrounding a potential appearance by Drake leading up to the event, and now it seems that hype has caught up with the RSU.

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