Royal Blood Go Viral After Flipping Off ‘Pathetic’ Festival Crowd
Festival season is underway, and admittedly not every festival is alike. During an appearance at BBC Radio 1's Big Weekend festival, Royal Blood made headlines as they openly mocked the tepid response of the audience during their set, with frontman Mike Kerr then flipping off the audience as he walked offstage at the end of their set. The end result is a video that went viral while also opening much discussion online as to who was at fault.
The BBC Radio 1 Big Weekend festival has been in operation since 2003, itself a successor to the Radio 1 Roadshow event put on by the broadcaster in the '70s, '80s and '90s. And over the years it has given a platform to a broad array of acts, ranging from pop and electronic music to alternative and rock.
Toward the end of their set, singer Mike Kerr let the audience know his thoughts on the lukewarm response to their performance up to that point. "I guess I should introduce ourselves seeing as how no one actually knows who we are. We're called Royal Blood and this is rock music," stated the singer. "Who likes rock music," he then questioned, before noting, "Nine people, brilliant."
After introducing drummer Ben Thatcher, he noted, "We're having to clap ourselves cause that was so pathetic." "Will you clap for us?" he asked a side-stage camera operator. "What does that say about you," he then noted to the audience.
As the band played their final song, Kerr was then heard playing an off-key note and he and Thatcher disengaged from their instruments. The singer then walked off flipping the bird to the audience. This can all be seen in the video shared by The Rock Revival below.
Who Was At Fault? The Audience?
Social media response after the video started to circulate was varied. Who was at fault in this situation? Royal Blood blamed the audience, and there was some sentiment to back that up. "Royal Blood will be co-headlining at the biggest festival in the world this summer. They deserve the crowd to be giving it a bit. Proper music like this is dying now a days. Kids haven’t got a clue," wrote one responder on the video posting.
"Well, I listened to @royalblooduk after watching this and it changed my initial reaction. They play great rock and roll and deserved more enthusiasm," added another commenter.
Who Was At Fault? The Band?
To see a band go after the audience they're performing for is probably expected to yield some backlash, and there are those who called out the band for this action.
"Posh boy w..kers everything that’s wrong with rock n roll today," noted one person on the video thread. "Do you know rock music? Top Boomer burn," noted another.
"If they really class themselves as a rock band why would they play a pop music festival like this? If you've agreed to it for the money do your job, but don't complain about your audience if it's a pop festival. They only have 2 songs anyway," added another commenter, with another echoing those sentiments noting, "It’s Radio 1 Big Weekender .. what they expect . Don’t take the gig on if you’re to rock n roll to play in front of teenagers n families."
That said, there are others that feel the band could have handled it better. "I love Royal Blood but no artist is beyond critique: this is what happens if you feel that you're entitled to an audience's adoration," stated one fan. Another suggested, "Give a good performance, take it on the chin and move on." And yet another, commented, "Pretty much every gig I play, nobody has heard of me. Just suck it up, crack on, do your job and if you win some folk over then all the better. There’s no excuse for a tantrum here."
Who Was at Fault? The Festival Booker?
There are also others on the thread who noted Royal Blood's odd fit in the lineup as it was presented, slotted in between pop vocalist Lewis Capaldi and Niall Horan on the bill. It should be noted that the rest of the lineup that day included Wet Leg, Thirty Seconds to Mars, Nothing But Thieves, Anne-Marie and Zara Larsson.
"Festival organisers put them on between Niall Horan and Lewis Capaldi, who’s idea was that?," noted one person. Another added, "Don't know what festival organizers are thinking with some choices lately. Dave Grohl hinted at what he thought of Foo Fighters playing on the same bill as Niall Horan the other day, too. It's like they're trying to guarantee every performer is hated by at least half the crowd."
So where should the blame lie in this situation? What do you think? You can let us know in the comments if you feel that the crowd should have given more energy, if the band, like their set closer suggests, should have to "Figure It Out," or if the problem lies with the booker trying to fit a rock band in between a pair of pop leaning acts that likely had little interest in them.
Having just announced a new album, Royal Blood are just re-entering the touring world with a summer filled primarily with European tour stops. See where they're playing and get tickets here.
Royal Blood, BBC Radio 1's Big Weekend 2023 Setlist (per Setlist.fm)
1. Out of the Black
3. Lights Out
4. Trouble's Coming
5. Little Monster
6. Mountains at Midnight
7. Figure It Out