Earlier this year, Supafest organisers promised fans a HUGE lineup and they delivered, on paper at least anyway. Boasting a stellar list of urban acts including 50 Cent, Ne-Yo, T.I. and Akon, the comprehensive bill seemed too good to be true. In light of last year’s unfortunate cancellations and no-shows, many of us were impressed with talent but questioned whether they’d bother turning up. Addressing fan concerns and discussing the hideously perilous nature of running music festivals, former Harlem Globe Trotter, Paperchase Touring co-founder and Supafest promoter Dwayne Cross took some time out from his hectic pre-tour schedule to answer a few of our questions. 

Having toured over 60 urban acts including the debut Australian tours for Jay-Z, Rhianna and Kanye West, Cross’ main gripe with the wave of negative publicity surrounding the cancellations of P.Diddy, Missy Elliott, and the Rick Ross no-show, was that these incidents, in addition to the previous year’s Timberland cancellation (because of pre-existing contractual obligation), were the only major line-up dramas Cross has endured during several decades of touring urban acts. Here are a few things we learned from our chat with Dwayne Cross.
Rick Ross should just turn up and perform Hustlin’ and spend less time strait up hustlin’. Dick move Rick!
“Rick Ross, three times he’s been a no show. For us in particular, he was paid in full, flights were paid for, visa’s were paid for, everything was done in the standard manner. For whatever reasons, political or otherwise, he just decided not to show.”

Cross has ensured a controversy free 4th edition of the festival by enforcing a no dickheads policy.

“What I’ve done this year in particular, is use a number of artists that I’ve worked with over a period of time. Due diligence has been employed by myself and the team we are working with to figure out how the line-up is going to be powerful and sell tickets but also be promoter friendly. We’re working with people we have history with. I’ve toured 50 here a couple of times. I’ve toured Akon. T.I. has been committed to us for well over a year.
“We’ve been really safe with the people we’ve picked. They’re media friendly, we have relationships with them, and we can rely on them.”

Why Dwayne was bummed by the shitty press he received after last year’s Supafest. 
“There is a passion for this genre of music that I really have. That’s the only thing that aggravates me, when I read press and comparisons to other promoters and other events, with people saying that they’re looking to capitalise on the market and it’s been done unprofessionally over the last blah, blah, blah. If you look at the history and go back through the roll-call of all the artists we’ve toured here, it’s clear we’re at the forefront of urban and it’s clear our track-record for delivering far exceeds the very few instances where we haven’t been able to deliver.”

Final words with Dwayne Cross
“I want to see an urban radio station. I want to see an urban music channel dedicated to playing urban clips.I want to see some local artist from here, cross over into the US in the urban market. I won’t stop doing what I’m doing until those things happens. I’ve manged to get it to a point where we have a festival that everybody is talking about and other promoters are looking at our turn around time. We have a passion for the music, what it means, and what it takes to get it to the level where we have it here.”

 Best of luck Dwayne. May the contractually-obliged artists be with you!
Thursday 25th April – Perth, Perth Arena Tickets
Friday 26th April – Sydney, ANZ Stadium Tickets
Saturday 27th April – Melbourne, Flemington Racecourse Tickets
Sunday 28th April – Brisbane, RNA Showgrounds Tickets
For more info, head to the Supafest website
Pictures via Getty Images