Don't look now, but on the weekend Drake sold-out his 5th Annual OVO Fest in seconds (and tickets are already going for big money on the secondary market)...oh, this happened before too. Fans waited in line to snatch up tickets to the 2-day event featuring Outkast on August 3rd and Drake headlining on August 4th. But how did Drake turn OVO Fest into Hip-Hop's must-see concert?
THE ELEMENT OF SURPRISE
In entertainment, the element of surprise is a tried and trued part of making something great. From soap operas to movies to unannounced guest features on Rap songs, surprise works to draw the viewer or listener in time and time again. From the 1st OVO Fest in 2010, Drake made the element of surprise a key driving factor as to why the OVO Fest is a must attend event:
After the 1st year, while people were impressed that Drake was able to bring through the likes of Eminem, Rick Ross, Young Jeezy, and Jay-Z, people were asking themselves "can he really do this every year?" "Am I going to be disappointed if I don't go again next year?" The answer was a resounding "yes he can" as Drake followed 2010 up with a 2011 surprise line-up that included Nas, Lil' Wayne, J. Cole and even the legend, Steve Wonder. And what do we say about 2013? Drake managed to bring pretty much the whole damn music industry with Lil' Wayne, Diddy, Ma$e, Lil' Wayne, Kanye West and more coming through:
Who will come through in 2014? That's the question that continues to drive instant sell-outs and interest.
Sorry folks, if you don't live in Toronto, you're out of luck on OVO Fest...I mean, unless you are willing to combine a Toronto vacation with one of the greatest Hip-Hop concerts ever created.
Upon the success of the initial OVO Fest and the rising star power of its creator, it would have been very easy to take OVO Fest on the road. Bring its surprise, you never know what might happen angle to cities throughout North America. But to Drake's credit, even though big money was probably left on the table, Drake set out to make OVO Fest a Toronto exclusive event from the outset. No, Drake wasn't going to bring himself and his OVO Fest concept to Hip-Hop cities across North America - Hip-Hop was going to come to Toronto.
And guess what? People are willing to travel to Toronto for the show:
Umm guess who's going to Toronto to OVO Fest in August?! Fingers crossed for a crazy lineup!!— Devin Lee Johnson (@DevinEKLJohnson) February 22, 2014
Looking into going to the OVO fest and there’s seriously a hotel in Toronto called The Drake #WishIWasKidding— Steve Kosie (@0_Stev3Swell) February 20, 2014
The fact that #teamdrizzy is going to be on the same bus going to Toronto from NYC come ovo fest is sick 🙌— Nadine (@naynayyx3) June 1, 2013
A FUN ENVIRONMENT
Ok look, Rap concerts, in most cases, were never breeding grounds for violence. The media, over the years, would have you believe that going to a Rap concert would mean you were putting your life at risk. So while this isn't the norm by any means (and never was), kudos are due to Drake and his team for putting together a concert, now going into its 5th year, that has been largely problem free. The celebratory vibe of OVO Fest from the onset of the event assured this would be a good time and nothing more.
IT'S ON CARIBANA WEEKEND
Take an event that draws some 1.3 million visitors each year for a wild street party/celebration of Carribbean culture that includes concerts, club nights, parades and more...and then throw in the most important Hip-Hop concert of the year. Drake holding his OVO Fest on Caribana weekend each year not only assured a sell-out each year (I mean let's be honest, Drake could hold OVO Fest outside in Canada in January and people would go now), but it also nicely complimented the Caribana festivities, strengthening an already must-attend celebration with a major event on Hip-Hop's calendar.
IT'S HIP-HOP'S SUPER BOWL...OR WRESTLEMANIA
Every sport has its event. The one major event that happens every year. Baseball has the World Series. Hockey as the Stanley Cup final. Basketball has the NBA Finals. Football has the Super Bowl...and wrestling, while not a sport per-say, has Wrestlemania. The reason OVO Fest is closer to Wrestlemania than it is the Super Bowl or the NBA Finals is because Wrestlemania is that one event every year on the wrestling calendar where you see things you don't usually see.
Take the upcoming Wrestlemania 30 for example. The legendary Hulk Hogan will be returning to WWE to host the event. OVO Fest has become Hip-Hop's Wrestlemania. It's filled with surprises and things you didn't think you would see: Diddy and Ma$e rockin' together again, Stevie Wonder playing at a Hip-Hop concert started by a kid from Toronto, Outkast reunited and headlining.
A big part of going to concerts is the merch booth. It doesn't matter if it's Rock, Rap, Pop, Reggae...etc., fans love to flock to the merch booth to see what item of clothing they can buy to rock with their favourite artists face or slogan on it. Drake, and his wildly popular OVO Clothing is no exception. At each OVO Fest, Drake and the family have some sort of OVO gear exclusive for those attending the show.
Last year, the order of the day was these limited edition Blue Jays x OVO caps:
Sure, it's not going to be anyone's overriding reason for splurging on tickets, but it's that little extra touch that makes this event special.
Leading up to the 2012 OVO Fest, the blogsphere was buzzin' with news that Drake would debut a new Aaliyah collaboration at the Toronto festival. Drake delivered on the buzz (although the song was pretty underwhelming):
The possibility of new music from Drizzy (and even other artists) is another reason to ensure your attendance at the October's Very Own Fest.