LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) - Rapper Moneybagg Yo was set to perform Friday, but late Thursday night the concert was cancelled with city officials citing concerns about safety. Now, fans who hoped to attend the concert are frustrated.
“[He's] a great artist, he’s on the top of his career right now,” said fan Travis Osa.
His album, Federal 3X, debuted at number 5 on the US Billboard 200 in August. But it's the history of violence breaking out at his concerts that caused concern for some. Osa understands the worries and concerns, but Osa feels this decision is unfair.
"I understand that people may be worried or concerned with the violence in the city, but ya’ll just had one of the biggest music massacres in Las Vegas,” Osa said.
The last minute cancellation comes after concern from police and city leaders. Little Rock Police Chief Kenton Buckner sent a letter to the president of iHeartMedia, asking that the department be allowed input in the "number of officers to assure the safety of the concert patrons and the officers." Metroplex then agreed to increase security, upping the number of off-duty officers to 15.
Once Mayor Mark Stodola was made aware of the letter, he contacted the promoters and venue voicing his concerns. In a statement, he explained that Little Rock police were working to increase security but "it was my opinion that the concert should not be held."
"There was no way to guarantee the safety of the audience," Stodola said, "to effectively guarantee safety in the large parking lots of the Metroplex and with the State Fair beginning it made no sense to pull police resources from other areas of the city."
An Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reporter overheard a phone conversation between Stodola and City Attorney Tom Carpenter. In that conversation, Stodola didn't agree that the city "would be liable for violating the First Amendment" if the concert was canceled.
"A lot of people from out of town purchased tickets, then for it to cancel the day before? That’s crazy," said Osa.
Carpenter said the city planned for 25 police officers, 30 security guards, metal detectors, and searches including the band before the concert.
A Metroplex representative said that they canceled the concert after “the city led the effort" to stop it.
All tickets are being refunded where they were purchased, either online through Ticketfly or through one of the ticket sale locations.