“These motherfuckers surrounded the building.”
Rap fans in Sydney were left fuming on Saturday (June 3) after a show co-headlined by Fortay, HUSKii and Kearve was shut down by NSW Police.
The show, dubbed Run It Back, was being held at the Bank Hotel in Newtown, with the full line-up also featuring Corrupt Consortium, Freesouls, Redbak, LOCO, Losty and BigRedCap, Lonez, Faddy Dante and Jimmy The Gent. It’s unclear exactly when it was shut down, however concertgoers have shared footage of both Fortay and Kearve performing online. It’s said that HUSKii was not able to perform at all.
In videos posted by Take Flight yesterday (June 4), a line of at least 13 police officers can be seen standing outside the Bank Hotel as the show was evacuated. As they left, concertgoers were spotted chanting “201” and “fuck the police”.
In a video statement (also shared by Take Flight), Fortay explained the situation from his perspective: “The police shut down the music. Everyone was wondering what happened – I was wondering what happened. These motherfuckers surrounded the building. Just know, the police shut it down tonight.”
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Fans of the artists were understandably enraged by the incident, with one commenting on Instagram that “it’s like there is a war on [Australian] rap in Sydney”, opining that affected rappers “really need to start suing the departments or something”. Another fan described the situation as “fucking ridiculous”, writing: “[You] can’t do anything in Sydney. There is no such thing as freedom there.”
One fan who attended on the night said it was “heaps disappointing” to see the show be cut off. They wrote: “Huskii’s show got cancelled on us in [Newcastle] twice last year and then the homie got locked up, finally get down to Sydney for a show over a year later and the coppers shut it down before he even performs.”
In a formal statement provided to Purple Sneakers, a representative of NSW Police said: "About 12am (Sunday 4 June 2023), officers attached to Inner West Police Area Command were called to a licensed venue on King Street at Newtown, following reports of crowds refusing to leave. Officers assisted with dispersing the crowd, who became compliant and left the area."
Speaking to Purple Sneakers, Fortay said that Kearve and HUSKii both had their sets cut short, and police made no effort to communicate with organisers before shutting down the show. He explained: "Police brought sniffer dogs through three separate times during the night which is highly unusual. There was no communication between police and myself nor did I hear anything from management.
"The power was cut and it wasn't until I walked through the crowd, up to the sound man, that they told me police had shut it down. I got back onstage and with a microphone, had to quiet the crowd to tell them it was over due to police shutting it down. No police entered the building but six cars and 20 cops waited outside as management herded patrons like sheep out onto the street, where police awaited."
Fortay went on to express shock at the situation, given that the night had run smoothly up until that point. "I don't understand how an event with no dramas had such a heavy police presence," he said. "It almost seemed planned and orchestrated. We had three shows in previous states with no hiccups. I guess if they can taser a 90-year-old lady then anyone can be a victim."