The organizers of the Outside Lands Music and Arts Festival wanted to cut down on counterfeit tickets at last weekend’s festival. That’s one of the big reasons they switched out the easy-to-fake paper tickets in favor of wristbands. The multicolored wristbands signified various levels of access at Golden Gate Park: general admission, VIP, backstage and a handful of others. That, in turn, fueled the market for those selling wristbands for exorbitant prices on Craigslist, and got the attention of San Francisco police.
Caught in a sting was rising Bay Area musician Fantastic Negrito (Xavier Dphrepaulezz), who was detained for three hours, along with two associates, on suspicion of scalping wristbands given to him by organizers. The San Francisco Police Department, which did not name Dphrepaulezz or his associates, reported the wristbands being sold as artist passes – which could put the wearer within spitting distance of an Elton John or Kendrick Lamar. Dphrepaulezz said one of the associates, an intern, was the one responsible, and that he was not personally involved.
“In all circumstances, we are most concerned with the safety and security of our attendees, artists and staff,” festival organizers said in a prepared statement. “We continuously look to protect and maintain the integrity of our credentialing system, and are so sorry that the artist was not able to perform due to this unfortunate breach.”
Dphrepaulezz came to the forefront of the national consciousness in the past several months by beating out 7,000 other musicians in the NPR Tiny Desk Concert contest. Even more costly than the detention was the festival’s decision to remove Fantastic Negrito from the lineup altogether (with little notice to fans). In a Twitter conversation, he communicated his disappointment:
@RomiTheWriter intern NOT me why punish me? My family? My fans? For something I knew NOTHING about ? The guy confessed right in front SFPD
— Fantastic Negrito (@MusicNegrito) August 9, 2015
A handful of other Bay Area musicians performing at the festival, or attending as fans, said they were bewildered and disappointed that Dphrepaulezz was removed from the lineup or not allowed to sell a pass. It should be noted that one of the festival’s official sponsors is StubHub, known as a reseller of tickets far above face value. In interviews following the cancellation, Dphrepaulezz has said he is moving on from the incident.
Follow Roman Gokhman at Twitter.com/RomiTheWriter.