A Tribe Called Quest offers apology, explanation for Outside Lands cancellation: ‘We will correct this’

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A Tribe Called Quest is on what has been billed as its final world tour — a bittersweet run that marks the group’s first album in nearly 20 years and the group’s first outing since the passing of member Phife Dawg.

The act was a highlight of this year’s FYF Fest and was set to play Outside Lands this past weekend.

But fans at Outside Lands never got to hear Tribe, following a weekend in which the acclaimed hip-hop collective canceled twice.


During opening day on Friday, promoters announced the band couldn’t make its set due to “unforeseen travel issues.”

RAC and Little Dragon were shuffled around to fill in the vacated slot and organizers moved Tribe to Saturday night.

Yet to the dismay of festivalgoers on Saturday, Tribe was again a no-show.

“Due to further travel complications, A Tribe Called Quest could not make their re-scheduled festival performance,” organizers said in a statement. “Outside Lands has done everything in our power to accommodate these unfortunate circumstances and we deeply regret the disappointment this has caused our fans.”

After a weekend of harsh criticism from disappointed fans, the band is offering a full apology — and explanation for its no-show in a lengthy open letter that The Times has posted in full below:

Dear Questers,

We want to sincerely apologize to you for our absence at the Outside Lands Music Festival. Your love, dedication and support of our music is important to us. Our performance at the festival has been months in the making and in those months we have been fraught with an emotional and eager excitement to touch the stage in the place where Phife Dawg made his home.


Upon the eve of playing for you, we performed not to a mixed crowd of festival patrons but to a filled house of solely Questers. It was humbling. The beautiful Red Rock amphitheater was filled with voices helping us get through a difficult performance without our brother Phife. You would think that with every performance we heal a little more and the sadness is easier to handle. Sometimes that is the case and sometimes the grief and loss is compounded. Although the house was filled with love and we felt it all, we also felt the huge void of Phife’s absence. We walked off that stage deep in grief.

In show business there is a notion that the “show must go on” no matter what. Sometimes though, when you have lost someone close, you are riddled with the notion that there is no going on. That Friday morning upon traveling to San Francisco, a wave of grief was still on us and in that moment we could not see the “on” to go on to. Eventually though in face of loss you find that glimmer of light to bring you to your center and you find the “on.”

We missed Friday but we found our “on” the following day. We wanted to play for you and we wanted to honor Phife’s wife in their hometown. Unfortunately, everything did not come together before the closing curfew. For that, we are deeply sorry. We look to correct this and regain your confidence.

Actually, let us restate that — we will correct this and regain your confidence.

A special shout out goes out to Another Planet Entertainment, the promoter/organizer of Outside Lands.

They put together an incredible event that was enjoyed by many despite the fact that we were unable to add to that joy. We want to express our appreciation for their efforts and encourage our fans to continue to support them. And to those who traveled far and wide, we sincerely apologize and are looking for ways to make this up to you. We are fully aware that without you (the fans), we would not be where we are today. We appreciate you having our back during this challenging period.


We are not making excuses for our absence. We just wanted you to know that we are still grieving and yet we want to honor each and every one of you for 28 years of music love. Thank you for the support.

Sincerely, Tribe

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