GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Nelly’s Saturday evening performance at the Allegan County Fair was canceled because Nelly was not able to travel to the fair, organizers say.
Saree Miller, the fair’s executive director, announced the cancellation in a news release at around 10 p.m. Saturday. Nelly’s show, with opener Trea Landon, had been scheduled to start at 7 p.m.
“We were so excited,” said fan Abbey Williams.
Williams says she grew up going to the Allegan County Fair. When she saw that Nelly was going to be there, she bought tickets months in advance.
“We’ve been counting on this since May,” said Abbey.
She had the night off — her mom was taking care of her kids and she was surrounded by friends. So she didn’t mind waiting awhile for Nelly to come on stage.
“We were partying, having fun, you know, doing our thing. And then I kept hearing people whispering like, ‘He’s not here,’” Williams said.
They kept waiting, past 7 p.m. when he was supposed to start, until around 9:30 p.m. when Miller, the fair’s executive director, stepped on stage to announce Nelly wouldn’t be showing up.
“It was a very rough night for all of us,” said Miller.
She said organizers were on the phone with Nelly’s team constantly, trying to figure out exactly where he was and what time he would get there.
“They kept telling us that the plane was held up on a runway and when they finally decided to make the call … and tell us that he wasn’t going to make it, it was late. It was about 9:30 at night,” she said.
Organizers were told Nelly could not make it to the Allegan County Fair because inclement weather grounded his plane, Miller said. Nelly’s management ultimately canceled the show.
In the release, Miller described it as “an incident that no venue ever wants to experience.” She said she says she understands that people are upset about the cancellation and that the fair is doing what they can to make up for the cancellation. But many people say they want Nelly to speak up as well.
“Take the responsibility. Go online and, you know, let your fans know it was out of our control, that it was your thing and, you know, you couldn’t get here,” Miller said.
“Just be a little more respectful of your fans,” said Williams. “We put so much time, effort, and love into this, and it just seems like you don’t care. It’s rough.”
Tickets purchased through Etix or an Allegan County Fair charge card will be automatically refunded, according to Miller. Other ticketholders can contact the fair office at 888.673.6501 between Sept. 20 and Sept. 30 for a refund.
Nelly was one of the fair’s headliners.