Should Artists be Held Accountable For Failing Fans?

Gag city, Dublin?

via NickiMinaj / Instagram

Thousands of fans were left waiting in the pouring rain at Malahide Castle over the weekend as Nicki Minaj came on stage an hour and a half late. The rapper was originally supposed to start performing at 8pm, but only got on stage at around 9:50pm, and because the curfew for gigs at Malahide is 10:30pm, she only performed for forty minutes. After paying around €100 for tickets, fans were left furious, with many of them leaving the venue early, under the impression that Minaj was not going to show up. 

Attendees have described the concert as a “complete disaster” and “the worst concert ever”, and many are hoping to get refunds for their tickets. But this isn’t the first time that Minaj has disappointed fans in Ireland. The rapper was supposed to perform in Dublin in 2019, but cancelled the show one hour before it was supposed to start, because of the weather. She is notorious for cancelling shows at the last minute.

The day after her Dublin flop, Minaj was set to perform at the Saga Festival in Bucharest, but cancelled that one too, only a couple hours before she was set to perform. She claimed that this was because she was concerned for her safety, as there were protests happening in Romania at the time, but many Romanian fans have been arguing that the only protest happening in the country was a peaceful one organised by accountants, with one fan commenting “what could they have done? Do your taxes?” 

To make matters worse, Nicki did not apologise or even address the delay on Saturday night, and instead posted footage of her performance in Malahide on Instagram with the caption “IN.LOVE.WITH.DUBLIN #GagcityDUBLIN. They WIN.”


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There has long been debate about whether artists should be held accountable for being late to concerts, with many people believing that it’s rude and disrespectful to fans, and the artist should at least notify attendees in advance, while others claim that it is often not the fault of the artists, but the production team. At the end of the day, when an audience has paid money for an experience, you should provide that experience for them, and Irish Nicki fans definitely did not get what they paid for.

But Nicki isn’t the only artist who is known for last minute cancellations and long delays. In fact, these issues are nothing new. Many artists and bands have already built reputations for showing up tardy to the party, including Lauryn Hill and Guns N’ Roses, who notoriously leave their audiences waiting at least one hour before coming on stage. In the last year, Queen of Pop Madonna faced multiple lawsuits from concert attendees during her Celebrations Tour, where she constantly pushed back concert times by two hours.

Unlike Nicki, Madonna completed her full set, and her concerts often ended in the early hours of the morning. This wasn’t good enough for two fans though, who decided to take her to court. Michael Fellows and Jonathan Hadden argued that “many ticket holders who attended concerts on a weeknight had to get up early to go to work and/or take care of their family responsibilities the next day.”


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Although many would argue that suing the artist is a bit extreme, the pair brought up a fair point. Is it fair for artists to disregard the needs of their fans, who have spent their own money and time to come see them? After all, the most crucial part of any performance is the audience being there.

Of course, there are circumstances where being late or last minute cancellations are valid. We need to remember that musicians are just people too, and they’re not any more invincible than the rest of us. If an artist becomes sick just before a scheduled performance, or experiences any problem out of their control that prevents the show from going on, why should they be obligated to compromise themselves further for the sake of their fans?

There can be any number of reasons for a late start or a cancelled show, and the audience, despite obviously being disappointed, should try to have empathy too. Both Amy Winehouse and Whitney Houston received a lot of backlash for subpar performances and late arrivals in their final years performing. If continuing with a concert is genuinely putting the artist at risk, they have every right to cancel.

Many performers have also pulled out of concerts or festivals to stand by their stances on social justice or political issues. Recently a number of Irish artists pulled out of the SXSW festival in the US to support the people of Palestine. If anything, we should be promoting these actions, where artists use their positions as a way to fight for those who can’t.

Really, the most important thing is that fans are reimbursed if they do not receive what they paid for. It’s all about respect, and if an artist truly cares about and respects their fans, they will do their best to give them a good performance every time. And if they can’t, they should at least apologise for the inconvenience.

Take note, Nicki.