I'm not even sure what happened at the Nelly concert-- and I was there!

If you were in the grandstand Saturday night for rapper Nelly's scheduled performance at the Allegan County Fair like I was you're probably asking yourself...what happened?

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Heck, even if you weren't amongst the crowd you're probably seeing the memes and comments on Facebook groups like Allegan County Informed as disappointed concertgoers debate their theories as to what could have possibly led to the Country Grammar star's no-show at "the most popular county fair in the state."

By now you've probably heard the fair's official reasoning for the last minute concert cancellation-- that Nelly's plane was trapped on a runway somewhere-- but what really happened? And could this whole fiasco have been avoided?

Just speaking from my own experience the event seemed almost doomed from the start but even despite long lines that wrapped around the midway hours before gates opened, a laborious entry process, and just overall poor communication between event staff and patrons, the general consensus amongst attendees is: we still had fun!

Despite the headliner's failure to appear fans were still enjoyed opener Trea Landon's performance in addition to a fabulous soundtrack of Y2K bangers that played overhead as concertgoers waited-- and continued to drink--in anticipation of Nelly. In the pit I personally witnessed numerous dance parties, informal class reunions (AHS class of '07), and a girl on top of someone's shoulders. It was wild!

But what really happened?

Inclement Weather

Officials at the Allegan County Fair say the rapper was stuck on a runway due to inclement weather but to my knowledge they have yet to specify where Nelly was coming from or which airport he was flying into. Those in the crowd also questioned when fair officials learned of Nelly's grounding.

As I said, fans continued to purchase and consume alcohol as the waited for the performer and I heard a rumor that the box office was still open for ticket sales during this time.

Lauren G-TSM/Screenshot Allegan County Informed via Facebook
Lauren G-TSM/Screenshot Allegan County Informed via Facebook

Merch Truck

Another unconfirmed rumor says Nelly was actually backstage the whole time, but when the trailer carrying his merch failed to appear he became angry and refused to perform. To that rumor I will say that I only recall seeing a trailer with Trea Landon merchandise but do not recall seeing one for Nelly; then again, I didn't look that closely. Surely that can't be a reason to cancel a performance-- can it?

NLE Choppa via TikTok
NLE Choppa via TikTok

Scheduling Conflict

Another cyber-sleuthing member of Allegan County Informed was quick to point out a supposed pre-VMA event also scheduled for September 9 in Newark, NJ featuring
an appearance by NLE Choppa and Nelly.

Was there a scheduling conflict? And if so, was it accidental or intentional? I only ask because the grandstand was barely even full at the show and one can't help but wonder if poor ticket sales led to Nelly's no-show?

What About Refunds?

Whatever his reasoning may be we can all agree we're disappointed. I was really looking forward to hearing "Hot in Herre" live! But in spite of the ONE thing we were all there not happening it was a beautiful night and we were among friends. I think we made the best of it!

Fair officials say fans who purchased tickets online with a card via eTix of the ACF website will automatically receive a refund. Concertgoers who did not use a card can contact the fair office between September 20-30, 2023. Fair office phone: (888) 673-6501 or AlleganCountyFair.com.

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