Festevents Takes On Foul Language

A promoter in Norfolk, Va., has some news for artists who sign on to play at the city’s Town Point Park: If you can’t keep it clean, don’t bother coming.

Following a recent incident at the Bayou Boogaloo and Cajun Festival, Festevents has decided to insert a no-profanity clause into all future contracts with bands and artists who play the park, according to the Virginian-Pilot.

It all started when rapper Raymond "Boots" Riley took the stage. Riley, invited onstage as a guest of Galactic, reportedly introduced the band with a variation of the F-word. He was issued a misdemeanor for using obscenity in public.

The onstage profanity apparently didn’t sit well with many in the crowd, who began to leave the show.

"It was a mass exodus," Karen Scherberger, director for Festevents, told the Virginian-Pilot. "It was not a good scene. It was probably the worst night I’ve had in 26 years."

Scherberger told the paper that the organization, which sponsors most downtown festivals and receives funding from the city, has told agents for years that profanity is not allowed in the family-oriented concerts at the park.

But according to Riley, he was never told he couldn’t curse, and given his reputation, the promoter should have known it was a part of his act.

"I perform at daytime events where I can’t cuss," Riley told the paper. "I perform on TV. There was nothing stopping them from changing the performance. All they needed to do was ask."

City officials still claim Riley should have known better.

Vice Mayor Anthony Burfoot, who took his daughter to the show, told the paper Riley’s speech was inappropriate.

"He could look out and see the type of crowd that was there," Burfoot said. "There were a lot of kids out there. A lot of families. It wasn’t like there was a mob of young, excited people with their shirts off."

Riley is reportedly scheduled to face the misdemeanor charge in Norfolk District court July 23rd.