FMMF Pulls R. Kelly From Lineup, Alternative Festival FeMMe Fest Still On
Since we wrote about the Fashion Meets Music Festival (FMMF), a three-day festival set to debut in Columbus on Labor Day weekend, in the August issue of Columbus Monthly, the story has continued to develop. Last night, FMMF announced in light of the controversy surrounding R. Kelly, the festival has dropped the R&B singer, who was scheduled to perform at Nationwide Arena, from the lineup.
“It had nothing to do with ticket sales, as we were happy with where we were positioned with our overall sales,” says Melissa Dickson, FMMF communications director, adding they don’t plan to replace Kelly with another act. “Nationwide Arena has always been our partner and 100 percent supportive of our efforts. This was our decision, and we recognized that the one place that needed to be heard was our city.”
Immediately after the festival organizers announced R. Kelly as a headliner in June, they were hit with backlash from the community and other acts on the lineup who didn’t want the city supporting Kelly, whose reputation hinges upon the 2008 child pornography charges of which he was acquitted. In response, local acts Damn the Witch Siren and Saintseneca withdrew from the festival, followed by radio station WCBE 90.5 FM, which had previously signed on as a sponsor.
A few weeks ago, members of local band The Girls!, who was not previously on the FMMF lineup, banded together with a few community members to start an alternative festival called FeMMe Fest, the dates for which will overlap with FMMF from Aug. 29 to 31. FeMMe Fest organizers say they’re happy with the decision to remove Kelly from FMMF, but they still plan to move forward with FeMMe Fest.
“We aren't putting this on to spite R. Kelly; that situation had just galvanized us into action,” says The Girls! member Raeghan Buchanan. “We wanted to use it to talk about issues that we care about and want everyone to know about.”
FeMMe Fest, which will raise funds for the Ohio Alliance to End Sexual Violence through ticket sales and donations, will be a series of concerts at Ace of Cups, Seventh Son Brewing Co. and Little Rock Bar. The lineup, which they began announcing on their Facebook page yesterday, includes local acts Ipps, The Ferals, Damn The Witch Siren, The Girls!, Cosmic Moon, Katherine, DJ Moxy and Sega Genocide. They also plan to include burlesque performances and a brunch.