The latest industry news to your inbox.


I'd like to hear about marketing opportunities


I accept IQ Magazine's Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy


R. Kelly concert permit denied amid “security concerns”

Illinois state rejects proposed spring break concert hosted by disgraced R. Kelly following a spike in protests

By Anna Grace on 14 Jan 2019

R. Kelly concert permit denied amid “security concerns”

Controversial R&B singer R. Kelly was to headline the concert

image © Lean-Op

Illinois State has rejected plans for a spring break concert that would have been headlined by R. Kelly. The organisers of Spring Break Jam planned to hold the concert at Illinois State Fairgrounds in April, but officials have denied the application, citing security issues.

Controversial R&B star R. Kelly was to host the proposed event on 6 April in Springfield, Illinois. The line-up also included Yella Beezy, Young Lloyd and Dre Madison. Tickets for the event cost between US$75 and $150, according to previously released promotional material. Such material, including the event page on Eventbrite, has since been taken down.

“Unfortunately, we cannot control when organisers start promoting an event – there was never a signed agreement to host the event at the Illinois State Fairgrounds, only an application,” says Denise Albert, a spokesperson for the Illinois Department of Agriculture (IDOA), reports the Chicago Tribune.

R. Kelly has faced allegations of sexual abuse throughout his career. Criticism of the artist has spiked following the airing of the Lifetime documentary series Surviving R. Kelly earlier this month. The documentary exposed detailed accounts of the singer’s alleged physical, sexual and emotional abuse of women, as well as claims that he ran an “abusive cult”.

“We cannot control when organisers start promoting an event – there was never a signed agreement to host the event”

The documentary has prompted many industry figures to denounce R. Kelly. Lady Gaga has since removed her duet with the artist from streaming services, apologising for having collaborated with the singer.

The IDOA claims that the cancellation is down to security concerns spurred by protests against the artist, and not in direct response to the documentary. The proposed event failed to meet the following criteria:

  • The security of both the physical premises and persons upon the premises of the State Fairgrounds
  • Reasonably foreseeable problems with security caused by either the nature of the usage or the identity of the proposed lessee or his/her patrons
  • The welfare of the general community

The IDOA have stated that they could reconsider and approve the concert, but only in the event that R. Kelly will not appear on the bill.


Get more stories like this in your inbox by signing up for IQ Index, IQ’s free email digest of essential live music industry news.