SALT LAKE CITY, Utah, Aug. 8, 2021 (Gephardt Daily) — A stirring performance by hometown hero Post Malone not only lit the crowd in Salt Lake City Saturday night, it’s also being credited for casting a positive light on the fledgling Hive Music Festival, a two-day event that stumbled out of the gate when top acts — including one of the headliners scheduled for Friday night — turned out to be no-shows.
Many of the fans — a good number of whom had spent hundreds, if not thousands of dollars on VIP packages for the well-hyped event — were already inside the Utah State Fairpark when they learned from a Facebook post that Suicideboys had canceled their appearance. Their managers said the band was recovering from COVID-19 and told fans they would make it up to them.
Already deeply disappointed that one of two headliners would not be appearing, some of the festival-goers were on the verge of apoplexy when they realized promised swag bags had not materialized — or had allegedly been shorted — and that lines for concession stands were a couple of hours long.
The growing disappointment gave way to anger, and soon the HIVE Festival’s social media pages were flooded with complaints and demands for refunds. Some even threatened legal action.
Fans were even more ramped-up as the festival wore on and others acts, including The Kid Laroi and Ski Mask the Slump God, were scrubbed from the lineup.
The next day, even as more billed acts bowed out of the festival, attendees told Gephardt Daily the performers who hit the stage both days were compelling and represented the cross section of talent they were hoping to see. They had special praise for Trippie Red, Don Toliver, Jack Harlow, Night Lovell, Ramirez and Dro Kenji.
Festival organizers from Select Sound took to social media Saturday to address concerns and thanked fans for their “understanding.”
“As we head into Day 2, we hear and recognize all your criticisms,” the statement said. “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.”
Despite the upheaval, the bad feelings largely came to an end the moment hip-hop headliner Post Malone appeared above the stage; walking on a catwalk atop the lighting grid, beverage in one hand, microphone in the other, Posty serenaded the hometown crowd with his hit, ‘Wow,’ including his famed reference to driving a “750 Lambo in the Utah snow.”
Pausing between songs, a relaxed, yet emotional Malone praised the thousands in attendance and expressed his genuine joy at performing live again.
“My name is Austin Richard Post, I’m here to sing some shitty songs,” he said laughing. “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.”
And sing he did. And so did the crowd. For the next 90 minutes. Austin Richard Post, the 27-year-old firebrand out of Grapevine, Texas held the hip-hop crowd in the palm of his hand, in a good old-fashioned sing-along on a smoky summer night. And what better way to begin it all than with a pitch-perfect rendition of “Better Now.”
It was right about then that the majority of those in attendance seemed strangely at peace, as though at that very moment, they had finally found, at least for a while, that for which they’d been looking.
Building steadily in intensity and bolstered by top-notch visual effects, Malone’s performance proved captivating and, for many we talked to, tilted the festival experience into the plus category. Others, however, remained skeptical. The fireworks were great, but many said they were feeling a bit burned.
The talent that showed up, topped off by Post Malone, provided a hopeful glimpse of what the festival could become. Whether it gets a chance to live up to its billing may take a while to sort out.
(Writer/producer Patrick Benedict contributed to this story.)