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We Talked to Sad Frank Ocean Fans at FYF Fest

"I shared the FYF Facebook post about it on my friend's wall with a cry face emoticon."

Of all the cancellations at this year’s edition of FYF—and there were a few—none broke more hearts than headliner Frank Ocean’s last minute swap-out with Kanye West. Yeezy killed it, as he’s wont to do, casually bringing Rihanna onstage for an impromptu duet on “FourFiveSeconds” and goading even the grumpiest hipsters into un-crossing their arms and busting a move.

Still, extreme cases of Frank FOMO abounded, and we spotted many a red bandana sported in tribute to the absentee headliner. We talked to the most bummed out Frank Ocean fans at the fest about their feelings, being pissed about Kanye, and whether Frank could ever make it up to them.


Shamar, 25, New York

How did you react when you found out Frank wasn't performing?
“I was super upset, borderline heartbroken because I never saw him perform before.”

Why did you come here?
“I flew from New York to be here for Frank and found out two days before that he wasn't performing. It's a lot of money and a long distance and I was close to not coming.” What can Frank do at this stage to make it up to you?
“If he performed somewhere or gave out a statement. Drop the album! That would ease it over.” Who would you like to see on the album?
“I'm not expecting too much because I was expecting an album and it never came.” Are you angry Kanye is performing?
“No! Kanye's great! But people wanna see Frank.” Has anyone recognised your bandana as a tribute to Frank?
“No, but I know people are thinking, Hey man, did you not get the news? He's not performing.”

Austin, 24, Santa Clarita
Tell me about your shirt.
“I just really don’t like Kanye West. He’s a cocky douche bag. When I heard he was playing the festival I was like, ‘Fuck that!’ I almost got a refund, actually, I decided not to be a baby about it. So I just made the shirt.”

Who did you come to see?
“La Femme and BRONCHO were my two biggest ones I wanted to see. Dinosaur Jr., who’s playing right now [behind us].”

Frank only cancelled two days ago. How did you get a shirt made so quickly?
“My friend read on Reddit how to make T-shirts using bleach. So right after we found out about the lineup we went to his house and made stencils and then we sprayed bleach on the stencil and that’s how we made it.”


There’s a little posse of you guys. How many people are wearing this shirt today?
“There’s three of us. We’re all pissed [about Kanye]. None of us like it. My friend Bianca actually lives in Berkeley and she was coming all the way down just to see Frank Ocean.”

Christoph, LA

When you found out Frank wasn't performing, what was going through your mind?
“It was devastating. Saturday was my Frank Ocean day. That was my reason for coming here. It's a spiritual thing. Last time I saw Frank Ocean show I was just really sad and didn't enjoy it.” Why?
"The brain was on certain things and didn't enjoy that show… It was a shame that he got taken away. Kanye's cool but i've seen Kanye two times. Frank Ocean I've seen once and had a horrible time. I needed my redemption."

What can Frank do to make it up to you?
"He can let us know when he'll release the album. I guess it's still a work in progress but he could be like, Yo it's coming out in two months. That's him – the mysteriousness – it's Frank. But the next album has to be perfect." Who should be on it?
"I don't care who would be on it. I just want the conceptual evolution from Channel Orange. I don't know what the emotions I want from it are yet but I know Frank has the power to connect those emotions." Did you make your t-shirt?
"Yes I did."

Why is Frank's name upside down?
"It's symbolism for the fall from grace that's happened within these past couple of days."


Jose, 39, Annaheim

Did you come to see Frank Ocean?
“He was up there. Frank and Morrissey.”

Are you happy that Frank Ocean pulled out? You have a Kanye t-shirt on…
“It's like replacing Magic Johnson with Michael Jordan. You can't go wrong.” What can Kanye do to prove he was a better option than Frank?
“Just be Kanye! Go into his philosophical narrative, comparing himself with the great intellectuals, which he is.” Who will win the battle of the headlining egos between Kanye and Morrissey?
“Ho ho ho! I don't know, Morrissey is gonna say something bombastic and Kanye's gonna do that too. I just love 'em both.”

Still, not everyone stayed sad. Some fans who had been bummed out admitted they had a great time at Kanye’s set.

JD, 23, Las Vegas

Did you come specifically to see Frank Ocean?
"Yes. The rest of the lineup was great and all, but I would not have been so set on coming if his name hadn't been at the top. The thought of seeing 'Forrest Gump" live… I didn't even hesitate when buying my ticket. I'm stll a little bitter about it."

What was your reaction when you heard he wasn't performing?
"My heart broke a little. I shared the FYF Facebook post about it on my friend's wall with a cry face emoticon. And I was happy to see they replaced him with Kanye but I just saw Kanye at Life Is Beautiful in Vegas last year. So as great as it was to see him again, I wasn't as excited about it."

Is there anything Frank can do to make it up to you?
"Yes: Release another album. Which was supposed to happen in July, right? If that's why he couldn't make it, I'd be ok with that."


Did Kanye get the job done? Was Rihanna a worthy consolation prize?
"Definitely. I liked his FYF set a lot more than his set at Life Is Beautiful. By Kanye standards, it felt pared down a bit—just him up there doing his thing. We all know Kanye can be very full of himself but I don't think he was over the top. I was all about it. And Rihanna! My body reacted to her presence. That made the whole thing worth it. I shrieked at the top of my lungs when she came out. My only disappointment was that it didn't segue into her performing 'Bitch Better Have My Money.'"

Evan and Vanessa, LA

How did you react when you heard Frank Ocean cancelled?
Vanessa: “Well I want to know why. It’s so last minute too. When we got the email from FYF saying Frank Ocean cancelled on his own, I was even more surprised. For some reason I thought it would be an FYF decision instead of his, because everyone was so excited to see him.” Was Frank the main draw for you this year?
Evan: “Savages and Deerhunter were the main reason I really wanted to come, but Frank Ocean was definitely a bonus.”
Vanessa: “I was really excited for him, yeah. But I’m a big Kanye fan, too, so I was even more excited that Kanye replaced him.”

What did you think of Kanye’s set? Did it make up for Frank?
Vanessa: “I thought it was really great. It was a lot of fun. I did feel like the crowd was a little…maybe lazy? But I do find that a lot with LA crowds. They tend to be really lazy and they don’t like to dance. I actually found him funny too, which I don’t think most people think he is. They think he’s so literal. Especially the last part where he was doing one hit a minute for the last ten minutes. That was really funny.” Was that your first time seeing him?
Vanessa: “It was. Totally worth it.”

Andrea Domanick bathes in the tears of Frank Ocean fans. Follow her on Twitter.

Eve Barlow came all the way from East Hollywood to watch Frank Ocean headline. In an Uber. Follow her on Twitter.