Rock The Bells Cancels Washington, D.C. And New York Shows Due To Poor Ticket Sales


Rock The Bells, the traveling hip-hop festival celebrating its 10th anniversary this year, has already pulled off two successful shows in Los Angeles and San Francisco this summer. But according to local Washington, D.C. publications, as well as Ticketmaster’s web site and XXL‘s own sources, the iterations in both the nation’s capital and the New York City area have been cancelled.

Rumors began circulating an hour or so ago after Ticketmaster’s web site updated their sales site to say that the event was cancelled for both Sept. 28 and 29. That fact set Twitter alight, but confirmation was elusive until two D.C. papers, the Washington Post and Washington City Paper both received word from sources that the event at RFK Stadium was indeed off.

ticketmaster rock the bells

The festival announced its weekend lineup just this morning, with the Wu-Tang Clan, J. Cole, Pusha T, Kid Cudi, Black Hippy, Bone Thugs-N-Harmony, Rakim, Big Daddy Kane and a whole host of other hip-hop legends and up and comers set to fill out the bill. The Washington City Paper is reporting that Chinyere Hubbard of Events DC, which operates RFK Stadium, has confirmed that the festival will not take place.

At press time, Rock The Bells has not released an official statement, nor have phone calls placed by XXL to promoter Guerilla Union been returned.

A XXL source confirmed that both remaining dates would be cancelled due to poor ticket sales in the final two locations, and that the festival will take a $3 million loss over the shows and refund all tickets.

We will update this story with more information as it becomes available.

Additional reporting by Miranda Johnson and B.J. Steiner.

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  • Paige Caulum

    dc’s a stupid place to try
    that show. take it to chicago, atlanta.

    • Keith

      They had this show in DC for 4 years straight with no problems

      • Paige Caulum

        lol i’m not hating on dc. just jealous rtb is always on the coasts. and just doesn’t seem like a major hip-hop hub there

        • Cameron Ambers

          what? dc not a major hip hop hub but atlanta and chicago are..? shows how much you know

          • Paige Caulum

            umm Atlanta: outcast,goodie mob, luda, t.i. waka, trinidad, migos…
            chicago: kanye, twista, common, lupe, lil reese, chief keef, chance, rockie fresh…
            d.c.: wale, oddisee, shy glizzy…???

          • Keith

            there’s some good things going on in D.C. It’s always been a weird market; it’s never had the glory days I hoped it would have, but there are certainly dope artists from all sides of the spectrum. It’s always been a nice mix of soulful stuff and street stuff. But obviously Wale shined a light on D.C. and over the last couple of years, there have been some ppl who have gotten some buzz—Black Cobain and Fat Trel—and some different people that are actually starting to shine a little bit.

          • Paige Caulum

            oh yea for sure, i’m not hating on the music coming out of there at all. it’s a different vibe, i like it, i like black cobain right now for sure. and they get great shows. i guess i just want more of the big festivals to make their way in a bit.

          • Paige Caulum

            i guess i should’ve chosen my words more carefully in the first post. disappointed they have to cancel at all!

          • Keith

            It’s ok Paige , u went into detail & I understood you. Where are you from if you don’t mind me asking?

          • Paige Caulum

            madison/milwaukee, wisconsin. a lot of tours come through milwaukee so i make it there a lot. chicago for bigger shows.

            and yea, wisco’s rap game is hugggeee…haha jk jk.

          • Keith

            haha, you almost made me Google “wisco’s rappers”

          • B Real

            aint none of them there, although some good artist listed!

          • Paige Caulum

            i was just making the point in reply to the comment from cameron, who was suggesting that d.c. has a stronger hip hop scene than atlanta and chicago, so i listed artists from those cities.

          • Kalani Makanui

            you were doing decent with naming people off but you said waka, trinindad, migos , reese and keef. they are terrible. and you spelled “outkast” wrong

          • Paige Caulum

            well i was just naming rappers who’ve made noise coming out of those cities. some people obviously like them. i have respect for trinindad and waka for sure. and you have extra spaces around the comma in between migos and reese. and you forgot a period at the end of your last sentence.

          • nae

            oh god no. DC is the perfect place. it’s local to virginia and maryland as well so there’s people from a large land mass that could get there. I don’t think there was a major problem with ticket sales..i think they didn’t budget out everything correctly.

            and just because a lot of hip-hop doesn’t come out of DC, doesn’t really make a difference. everyone here from all different cultures are really into hip-hop here.

          • boom for real

            uh, yes. ATL is def a major Hip Hop hub

          • Jacko

            Hahah ATL and chicago put out better music so she obvs knows more than you!

    • donkey

      shut up you NASTY

      • Paige Caulum

        ok tyler the creator

    • Morgan

      I agree I think they should try to switch up locations Dallas, Atl, Austin, etc.

  • pat_austin

    They need to focus more on classic hip-hop acts. Those acts have older fans with the means to travel to the shows. Up until a couple years ago, I traveled every year to various locations to see Rock The Bells. As RTB focused more on newer artists the past couple of years, I stayed home.

    • deffff

      Me too! It was dope being able to see Rage Against the Machine reunite, De La, Tribe, etc. Nowadays I’m not into these flavor of the month artists – if you’re going to charge outrageous ticket prices you better have the lineup to back it up! I was expecting something huge for their X year anniversary – Outkast reunion I would have paid $$$ for!

      • gggggg

        wu, J5, bone thugs, krs one, big daddy kane aren’t classic enough for you?

        • deffff

          I’ve seen Wu like 10 times at RTB and at solo shows, KRS already seen. Big daddy kane I would have loved to seen but let’s be serious – he prob got a 30 minute set around 1:30. All the legends get is a shitty spot while the new artists get to headline. I saw Black Hippy (who I love) at Paid Dues and the whole crew rapped over vocal tracks. That shit ain’t cool.

  • Carl Kufikiri Bastien

    maybe if they had actually told people who was gonna be there before today more people would have been excited, this is the line up I’ve been waiting years for….

    • Najah

      um the line ups have been posted since they announced the tour

      • ToneMD

        Unless you were LOOKING for this show or kept your nose in the citypaper, you would not have heard shit. It’s 2013, people gotta stop going to to same old outlets to advertise. The people who would have loved (and can afford) this show aren’t listening to wpgc or wkys all day.

        From the wording of the statement though, I’m thinking their sales have been hurting for the whole run of the tour, so it may have just not been worth the expense of DC and NY.

  • Lavish Magazine

    Rock the bells definitely cancelled in ny. I went to pick up my tickets at hot97 this afternoon, and they gave me the bad news

  • Zola

    The organization and the brand has changed. Rock the Bells used to be able celebrating the true essence of hip-hop. It has now become just a shell of that!

  • Nick

    I can’t believe this….. They had plenty of talent on the line up! Yet, they can’t sell tickets? Something doesn’t seem right..

    • nae

      mostly everybody’s thinking something’s up..pretty sure they booked all those big names and couldn’t afford them or something when it came down to it.

  • Rodney C

    Ain’t no black people left in D.C. #Gentrification. Rock the Bells hasn’t come south of the Mason Dixon since it started. Stop being prejudiced. Atlanta loves “real hip-hop” too dunson. Google A3C Hip-Hop Festival. Y’all missing out on major moolah