A cornerstone of the New York City festival season is not coming back…for now.
Due to “logistical factors” beyond the control of organizers, the annual rap festival Rolling Loud will not come to the Big Apple in 2023. But in the statement released by the festival’s Instagram, the organizers tried to reassure their followers:“But don’t worry, this isn’t ‘goodbye,’ more like ‘see you later’. We’ll be back in New York when the time is right. In the meantime, we invite all of our New York fans to meet us in Miami July 21-23 for our biggest, best festival of the year. Love you all! Rolling Loud forever!”
Rolling Loud has been the nation’s biggest rap festival since it originated in 2015. It first came to New York in 2019, but not without controversy.
In 2019, the late Pop Smoke was banned from performing along with fellow rappers 22Gz, Sheff G and Casanova. A letter from an assistant chief at the NYPD explained at the time that they “had been affiliated with recent acts of violence citywide… the New York City Police Department believes if these individuals are allowed to perform, there will be a higher risk of violence.”
2020 saw no festival during the pandemic. In 2021, before arriving at Rolling Loud New York, rapper Fetty Wap was arrested on federal drug charges for conspiracy to distribute drugs such as heroin, cocaine, and fentanyl. Rolling Loud 2021 was also criticized by Rolling Stone for having an “excessive” police presence in comparison to Gov Ball, another festival held at the same location.
In 2022, at the behest of Mayor Eric Adams and the NYPD, Brooklyn’s 22Gz was banned once again along with Bronx natives Sha Ek and Ron Sunon. They were dropped from the lineup over concerns about public safety.
So for 2023, it seems that local officials did not want to give the festival legs this time around. But given the popularity of Rolling Loud in New York, it stands to reason that the multi-city festival will return soon.