R. Kelly will not be “hosting” the Spring Break Jam in Springfield, IL, if state officials have anything to say about it.
The release of Surviving R. Kelly, a six-part documentary series detailing the many abuse and sexual misconduct claims that have been lodged against the rapper over multiple decades, has sparked such an intense backlash that state officials no longer believed that Spring Break Jam organizers could control the crowd should a protest break out. All week, protests have been cropping up around Chicago, including multiple gatherings outside Kelly’s recording studio.
In order to obtain a permit for the Illinois State Fairgrounds, organizers must meet specific criteria, including, “reasonably foreseeable problems with security caused by either the nature of the usage or the identity of the proposed lessee or his/her patrons” in addition to “the welfare of the general community.”
Festival organizers submitted an application to lease the space; however, they began making announcements while their application was still under review. “They had just submitted an application, and unfortunately we can’t control when an organizer begins promoting an event,” Illinois Department of Agriculture spokesperson Denise Albert told the Chicago Tribune. Spring Break Jam tickets were already on sale when the permit was denied. Organizers have since taken down the website.
The Illinois Department of Agriculture made it clear that the permit was rejected solely because of the protests and crowd control concerns and not due to the sexual abuse allegations against Kelly, adding that organizers could reapply for the permit and receive approval as long as Kelly is no longer the “host.”