From being booed off stage to proclaiming himself the greatest living rockstar, Kanye’s festival history is definitely colourful.
The eccentric rapper is known for his untimely and often unthought-out rants on stage. As painful as those may seem to endure, they’re not the defining facet of the musician. Kanye West has made for several– some spectacular, some cringeworthy– moments in music festival history.
Here’s glance back at seven of the most prominent Kanye moments in music festival history, including some of our personal favourites.
1. His Rendition of Bohemian Rhapsody — Glastonbury, 2015
This moment could either be described as painful to behold or boldly brilliant, depending on who you ask. Not only did Kanye attempt to cover Queen’s most iconic ballad, to the internet’s outrage, he also forgot the lyrics. Oh, Kanye.
2. That Time He Was Was The (Self-Proclaimed) Greatest Living Rockstar — Glastonbury, 2015
We’ve breached this subject before. This was a defining moment in Kanye’s slew of ridiculous word-vomit statements. The rapper thought it prudent to declare to the world that they were watching the “greatest living rockstar on the plant”. It was soon enough that the crowd realized there would be no surprise performance by Paul McCartney or Mick Jagger and that the ‘Heartless’ singer was talking about himself. It’s almost like he was inviting Twitterverse to trash on him.
3. When He Was A Total Diva — Bonnaroo, 2008
Described as one of the most disappointing Kanye performances, the attendees at Bonnaroo waited for the rapper to show up on stage for hours before he finally made an appearance at 4.45am. Not only that, frustrated with the negative reaction he received, Kanye stormed off stage half an hour later. The delay was apparently caused on his end, word on street says, even though the exact reasons are unclear. Fest-goers then spray painted “fuck Kanye” on Bonnaroo’s wooden fences in understandable outrage. Here’s a video of him dodging a glow-stick mid-performance.
4. When He Made Up For Being A Diva (Sort Of) — Bonnaroo, 2014
Six years after his Bonnaroo fiasco, Kanye delivered a spectacular set. He performed well and on schedule, much to the fans’ joy. He also tried to explain his side of the story– credibility of which remains to be confirmed– blaming his diva-ness on grief, “I did Bonnaroo six months after my mama passed.” And by passing the blame, “Pearl Jam went three hours late. Fuckin’ daylight was coming on, they said I was running late. They blamed my motherfuckin’ tanks, with all my pyro. They wrote ‘Fuck Kanye’ on that shit. Y’all wrote that shit in the press. Where the press at? Is y’all gonna write about all these motherfuckers puttin’ their hands up right now? Where the press at? Where the press at? Where the press at?” But his set itself won the crowd over.
5. That Time He Was Booed Off Stage (Again) — Wireless, 2014
Wireless festival does not remember Kanye West fondly. The Yeezus rapper apparently delivered a rant so long and arduous, that hundreds dispersed and those that were present, booed him off stage. These were people who just wanted to watch him perform. They came here for good music and had their buzz butchered by Kanye’s rant about everything under the sun.
6. When He Crashed Coachella And It Was Actully Great — Coachella, 2015
Kanye’s surprise performance during The Weeknd’s set was actually pretty phenomenal. This just goes on to prove that he’s a great musician when not, well, talking.
7. That Time He Totally Nailed It — FYF, 2015
Another one of his greatest festival sets, Kanye pretty much killed it at FYF, especially since everyone was expecting the rapper to screw up somehow. He stepped in for Saturday headliner Frank Ocean and delivered a great performance without offending anyone or having glow-sticks thrown at his head. Even Rihanna made an appearance during the set. This is the Kanye we want to see more often.