ja rule toronto

Ja Rule gives Toronto the Fyre Festival treatment at '90s nostalgia concert

Well, it finally happened: The long-awaited, thrice-postponed "90's Nostalgia Music Festival" in Vaughan, Ontario, starring such headliners as Aqua, the Vengaboys, Haddaway, Eiffel 65 and Ja Rule.

The latter three acts didn't end up making the show, much to the chagrin of attendees who had purchased their tickets nearly two years in advance, before the COVID-19 pandemic hit.

While blue to be missing Eiffel 65, fans at least knew beforehand — before schlepping it all the way up to Improve Canada — that the artist would not be performing. The same could be said for What Is Love singer Haddaway.

Fans did not, however, know before the three-day-long fest that Ja Rule wouldn't make it to the stacked Rap City-themed show on Sunday. 

In retrospect, maybe they should have.

Fans say they initially waited more than two hours for Ja to arrive, thinking that perhaps he wasn't, in fact, always on time.

It became clear that the 45-year-old artist wasn't showing up at all when his frequent collaborator Ashanti took the stage alone (and, by all accounts, as expected, killed it anyway.)

One attendee tells blogTO that organizers failed to tell anyone that Ja Rule wouldn't be performing, or explain why Ludacris ended up going on two hours late.

"To ALL my fans in Toronto, I'm sooo sorry I couldn't be there last night but the Covid restrictions prevented me from getting into the country," explained Ja Rule (whose real name is Jeffrey Atkins) on Twitter Monday morning.

"I promise I will be there soon to make it up to y'all love to the T dot!"

Some fans weren't buying the excuse.

While not the biggest name on the bill for Sunday (that was Ludacris, obviously), Ja Rule was a big draw for many fans of mid-oughties hip hop and pop.

Fans were disappointed to hear that the artist didn't make it across the border — something all Canadian music fans can agree happens from time to time — but also annoyed to see him sharing footage of himself performing with Jennifer Lopez in New York.

Ja Rule was one of several artists who performed at the Global Citizen Live concert in Central Park on Saturday, a full day before he was scheduled to hit Toronto.

For some reason, however, the rapper ended up tweeting out footage from the New York show during the exact time slot when he was supposed to be performing at the 90's nostalgia fest.

Attendees were not amused.

"How you gonna tweet when you should be at your show in TORONTO?!," replied one fan. "You Fyre fested us all over again… well played."

It didn't take long for people to start bringing up the infamous Fyre Festival that Ja Rule co-founded with documentary villain Billy McFarland.

Ja Rule failing to show up for one performance in Toronto is clearly worlds apart from what happened at his horribly failed "luxury music festival," but Fyre Fest seems like one of those things someone could never really live down. 

"Go figure that the founder of Fyre Festival didn't show up to perform tonight," wrote one Instagram commenter on a post from the festival.

It should be noted at this point that Ja Rule was officially cleared of any legal wrongdoing in relation to Fyre Festival in late 2019. The rapper maintains that he, too, was a victim of the mega-scam.

He also seems genuinely apologetic for missing the Toronto show.

"Now what other reason wouldn't I be there to tear down the stage in a city I LOVE???" replied the artist to one fan on Twitter today. "Sending my love to the 6… T dot… I'll definitely be there soon to give y'all these HITS!"

Fortunately for 90's nostalgia festival attendees and organizers, other booked acts like Luda and Aqua put on crowd-pleasing shows that inspired many positive social media posts.

And hey, this one seemed to go better than the 2019 nostalgia fest: At least there were no reports of people being unable to buy alcohol with non-refundable booze tickets this time around.

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