And Finally Artist News Beef Of The Week

CMU Beef Of The Week #167: Wiley v CockRock

By | Published on Friday 26 July 2013


Wiley’s a man prone to falling out with people. There was that time he gave away all of his unreleased music for free because he fell out with his manager, for example. Or more recently when he claimed to be “walking out” of his deal with Warner Music, having “rinsed the majors for every penny”. It’s one of the things that makes him so entertaining (he makes some pretty good music too).

“Walking out” has been a bit of a theme for Wiley this year, in fact. Earlier this summer he pulled out of the Glastonbury Festival, after arriving there and realising that he didn’t like the countryside, farms or rain, of which Glastonbury had all three. During a lengthy Twitter rant (another thing he’s prone to), he began tweeting messages to the festival’s official account and Emily Eavis herself, asking for his set to be cancelled. “Fuck them and their farm”, he also told one fan during all this, just in case his feelings weren’t clear. Then he walked out.

So, the organisers of the Cockermouth Rock Festival, CockRock for short, must have been a little worried. Their festival being in the countryside, on a farm, and in an area known for its high rainfall. Losing an act from the Glastonbury line-up isn’t such a big deal. Losing one from a 5000 capacity event is a bit more of a problem. Especially when that person is one of the headliners.

But CockRock bosses were presumably pleased to hear that Wiley was indeed on his way to their event last weekend. Except that he was complaining all the way. And as he travelled to the festival he tweeted a plea to his agent to “please stop sending me to farms to perform. Just the name [of this event] makes me not wanna go. My agent knows that there are cool places to play and other places are just not worth the hassle”.

Following some angry tweets from CockRockers, he later added: “Do not throw piss at me cos I will throw it back”.

Despite him implying he’d be there to throw back all the piss, by this point it was looking like this could be another Glasto. Would he actually make it to the stage? Except, once at the festival itself Wiley seemed to warm to country life. “LOL farm traffic”, he tweeted gleefully. Then, later: “To be fair, yes, the farmers in Cumbria have made sure the burger is proper beef. Big up the farmers in Cumbria… this burger is proper”.

And so, with a proper burger in his tummy, Wiley was ready and raring to go. And luckily he’d made peace with all the Cumbrian farmers now. Surely the show would go ahead without a hitch. Unless the farmers hadn’t seen his later tweets. Or the majority of the people in the audience weren’t actually farmers.

Sadly, it seemed that quite a few farmers and non-farmers alike were still upset. And while the rapper came out and played his first three tracks to the pleasure of many, there were some who were still unimpressed. Having already asked for people to stop throwing beer cans at him once, Wiley stopped the show just under fifteen minutes in.

Amidst much booing, he said: “You know what I said, yeah? If one more can comes flying, I’m coming off the stage. I said that. You know why? Because you cannot throw cans at me because of a situation that I’ve had with my agent, because he didn’t made it quicker for me to get to Cocker[mouth]. So you can’t be angry with me. If you wanna throw things, I’ve given you enough music … so I’m gonna say bye. Goodbye Cocker[mouth]!”

Of course, upon leaving the stage Wiley updated his 350,000 Twitter followers on what had happened, assuring them that he’d “faced up to a few pagans and got paid”, despite the cut-short set. Some of those pagans (no, I don’t know either – he also went with “inbreds”, “reptilians” and “witches’ children”, amongst other insults), responded by suggesting that he should give that money to the two charities the non-profit festival supports, at the very least. This was not a solution Wiley was impressed with though, telling them that he planned to “piss this 15k up the wall”.

Some people might have then decided to lay low for a while and let this all pass. But some people aren’t Wiley, are they? He continued to goad the festival, its attendees and the entire county of Cumbria for days afterwards, at one point tweeting a photo from within his bank, as well as accusing the festival of being organised by the English Defence League.

While that is definitely not the case, the amount of racist abuse Wiley has received online in the wake of his walk off can’t have helped any possibility of making amends with Cumbria – the comments on this video of the incident (and the chant of “you black bastard” from one audience member in it) aren’t exactly endearing.

Anyway, Wiley’s management issued a statement on the matter, claiming that the rapper had been warned that a portion of the crowd were likely to be hostile towards him. It said: “Wiley was advised by the event organisers if the situation with the crowd became dangerous or out of hand that he could leave the stage early. Wiley continued his performance and then a sea of coins and glass bottles were thrown one closely missing his face so they called time on the set. It is one thing for crowds to heckle or boo but quite another for peoples safety to be at risk by coins or bottles”.

But organiser Marie Whitehead, Event Director at CN Events, responded to this by telling local radio station CFM: “It wasn’t agreed at all, he said, ‘If this goes bad I’m coming off’. He said there was bottles thrown at him, there was no bottles on site, we’re a totally glass free festival, but nothing hit him and we had fifteen security guards all monitoring the stage”.

And despite having said that the festival’s organisers were “not angry” immediately following Wiley’s departure from the stage, as his ranting on Twitter continued, Whitehead did contact CN Events’ lawyers. Ahead of that meeting on Wednesday she told local newspaper The Times & Star: “It is fairly clear that there was a breach of contract and we had Wiley criticising the festival. There’s an awful lot of things that can go wrong at festival and this was one of them but we have to do what we have to do”.

It has now been widely reported that this means Wiley is getting sued, though he insisted yesterday that “nobody ain’t suing shit”. So, we’ll see.

Wiley is due to play GlobalGathering this weekend. Hey, at least it’s not on a farm.