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Popular Strip music festival canceled by threat of strong winds

Updated May 4, 2024 - 9:11 am

Saturday’s “Lovers &Friends” festival in Las Vegas was canceled due to the threat of high winds, according to a statement posted on the event’s social media accounts late Friday night.

This was to be the third installment of the annual hip-hop and R&B festival at Las Vegas Festival Grounds. It had been sold out.

Headliners for the event were to include Alicia Keys, Janet Jackson, Usher, Snoop Dogg, Gwen Stefani, Lil Wayne, the Backstreet Boys and many others.

“Lovers &Friends Festival has unfortunately been canceled due to dangerous weather predicted for Saturday,” the statement read. “Fans who purchased tickets directly through Front Gate Tickets will receive a refund within 30 days.”

The statement included a link to a website that appears to be deactivated, but the actual festival website had an updated statement from organizers.

“Lovers &Friends Festival organizers have been monitoring the weather for several days and proactively preparing for a windy Saturday,” it read. “However, the National Weather Service has now issued a High Wind Warning, including dangerous 30-35 mph sustained winds with gusts potentially more than 60 mph. Following advice from the National Weather Service and in consultation with local public officials, we must make the safest decision for our fans, artists, and staff, and cancel tomorrow’s Lovers &Friends Festival.

“This was an incredibly heartbreaking decision to make as we are aware that fans have traveled from all over the world to enjoy this incredible lineup of superstars and have been looking forward to this event for several months. We’ve worked hard to create an amazing event for you, and we are just as disappointed as you are.”

Jackson reposted the announcement on her social media accounts.

Usher, one of the founders and organizers of the event named for his 2004 hit song with Ludacris and Lil Jon, posted a statement on social media early Saturday morning.

“Mannn…I’m just as disappointed as you are. We were getting ready to turn up and celebrate today,” he wrote on X. “I have to follow the orders of city officials and the National Weather Service for everyone’s protection and stand strong in my belief that everything happens for a reason. I’m sorry we won’t get to see each other today, but know that I am always working on something to express my heartfelt gratitude for each and every one of you who continue to support me.

“I’ll see you soon.”

As recently as Thursday, the event’s social media accounts were updating guests on information such as parking procedures, walking directions and ride-share meeting points. Hours before the cancellation announcement, the accounts were posting links for merchandise.

The lineup was expected to include more than 70 acts on five stages, beginning just before noon and running until after midnight.

The bill was to feature Nelly Furtado playing her first Vegas show in 17 years, M.I.A. bringing her clamorous alt-hip-hop, as well as Ciara, TLC, Brandy, Eve and plenty more female stars.

Fans react

Responses to the post were quick to flood in, with many expressing anger about having already arrived in Las Vegas for the show and requesting travel reimbursement.

“A 12-hour notice is disgusting,” one account responded.

Others were complaining that the weather on Friday night was just fine. But the weather service warned Friday that patchy blowing dust was expected after 1 p.m. Saturday.

Clark County issued an air quality dust advisory for Saturday and Sunday, advising people to use precautions to limit their exposure to blowing dust.

Weather festival woes

This is not the first time bad weather, especially strong winds, has affected a Las Vegas festival.

■ In October 2022, the much anticipated debut of the When We Were Young festival was canceled because of high winds. The festival picked up the next day.

■ In May 2019, strong winds shut down the main stage during the Electric Daisy Carnival at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. The same thing happened in 2012.

Contact Adam Hill at ahill@reviewjournal.com. Follow @AdamHillLVRJ on X.

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