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Why Drag Fest UK Is “The Fyre Festival of Drag”

Drag Fest UK is an annual drag music festival featuring some of the biggest names in drag. It’s happening in London and Manchester this weekend — but over the past few days, a ton of the performers have dropped out of the lineup, pointing to poor communication and mismanagement. What exactly is going on?

Klub Kids UK, the festival’s promoters, addressed the situation on Twitter, claiming that COVID regulations made this year’s Drag Fest very difficult to organize. “We are going to work on getting these artists back with Klub Kids later this year when we can be more prepared and organised,” they wrote.

But with tickets starting at £54, fans aren’t taking the loss lightly, especially considering some of the legendary performers who will no longer be appearing. Queens who’ve dropped out include “RuPaul’s Drag Race” alumni Shea Coulee, Trinity K. Bonet, Miz Cracker, Pearl, Acid Betty and Laila McQueen, as well as “Dragula” monsters Vander Von Odd, Biqtch Puddin’, Abhora, Ursula Major and Erika Klash. Festivals changing lineups isn’t too out of the ordinary, but this volume of performers dropping out is certainly raising eyebrows.

Many of the queens took to social media to explain why they wouldn’t be appearing. “Dragula” Season 1 winner Vander Von Odd tweeted about a startling lack of communication from promoters even days before the festival, and that tickets were on sale for a meet and greet she’d never agreed to. “I had no idea these were being sold and I never would have agreed to it,” she wrote. “​​If you are working/attending Drag Fest UK, please be safe and always put your health first.”

“Dragula” Season 2 winner Biqtch Puddin’ explained to her followers that she’d been trying to communicate with the promoters for months, to no avail. “I understand it’s a pandemic & things change but there was no communication,” she wrote. “But I wanted you to know & let you know that I’ve been trying to get em to stop misleading ya. Cause I love you. You’re amazing, you’re beautiful & I can’t wait to b back in the UK soon.”

And “Drag Race” Season 8 contestant Acid Betty revealed her name had been put on the flyer without her ever actually being booked for the festival. “I am so sorry to anyone who was deceived, but I had no contracts & never knew much about the event,” she tweeted, accompanied by a highly appropriate tea emoji.

Bob the Drag Queen, winner of Season 8 of “Drag Race,” was never booked for the festival, but that didn’t stop her from commenting on it. “I don’t know what going on with the fest but it sounds like the Fyre Festival of drag,” she tweeted. So true, Bob.

And Season 10 winner Aquaria also entered the conversation, tweeting, “Dababy will not be appearing at DragFest this weekend 😔.” A true loss for the community.

Klub Kids UK did tweet out a finalized lineup, which still features plenty of extremely talented drag artists. But this blow to their reputation and evidence of their poor management isn’t likely to blow over any time soon.

And to those still attending Drag Fest UK: good luck, and don’t fuck it up.

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