WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – Outraged. That’s how many are feeling after a rapper’s concert Wednesday night at Riverfest ended abruptly. Talib Kweli and fans are concerned it was censorship. Riverfest officials are saying it was due to weather.
“Everybody who was there was amped,” said Charles Schoch. “Jumping around with maximum number of hands in the air.”
Charles Schoch said he and a group of friends were enjoying hip hop artist Talib Kweli’s concert Wednesday night when it was cut short. In this video taken by a viewer, you hear Kweli talking to the crowd and from the left side of the stage you see the president of Riverfest come on stage ending the show just after 10 p.m. They said it was due to lightning.
“That was a pretty depressing moment,” said Schoch. “There were a lot of boos. There was a lot of irate fans.”
But Schoch said he is not buying the weather reason, saying it came after anti-Trump statements.
“It wasn’t the profanity when they stopped him,” said Schoch. “It was during [Kweli] making his political view point clear.”
Critics point out, a country concert performed by Jerrod Niemann on a separate stage was still going on, as Kweli fans were leaving. KSN took the questions to Mary Beth Jarvis, the Riverfest President and the woman you see in the video stopping the concert. She says lightning indicators at the stage near Century II were going off.
“So it’s unfortunate that we didn’t get the last couple of songs in, but Talib was gracious,” said Jarvis. “I got up on stage, and he wished everybody a safe night.”
She said the other stage near the Hyatt didn’t have the same concerns.
“Now our South stage continued about 10 minutes longer because they weren’t getting the same lightning indicators,” said Jarvis. “It was also just an acoustic show where we could take a guy and a guitar off the stage more quickly.”
“But the fact remains that this very, very, very suspicious that I was pulled off stage in such an abrupt manner after a soundman tells my DJ I’m cursing too much,” said Talib Kweli. “And as I’m driving off, I hear another concert going on that’s part of the festival.”
Kweli said the decision seems suspicious due to the timing.
“If the festival people made a decision that, to, to sort of censor me that would be unfortunate,” said Kweli. “That would be a bad look for them, but it should not reflect on the town or the people because the people here showed me so much love.”
Riverfest organizers said the concert was supposed to stay PG-13, essentially using a radio edit version of the songs, without extended profanity. Kweli said that wasn’t in the contract. Neither have responded to KSN’s requests to see the contract to get the full answer.