AJ Maddah, Paul Dainty, Eminem and the festival that “didn’t work out”

We managed to survive the apocalyptic rapture that the Mayans had scheduled for late last year, but was there supposed to be another Rapture in Australia in 2012?

Earlier this week Soundwave promoter AJ Maddah confirmed he attempted to book Eminem for a new festival called Rapture that simply “didn’t work out”. He later revealed that the festival “was something discussed for almost a year [but] sadly not going to work.” Maddah had purportedly been in negotiations with Eminem to play at Soundwave 2014. According to The Herald Sun, Maddah had withdrawn his offer when it became clear that the rapper preferred to play solo headline shows and not festivals.

So what was Rapture festival anyway?

When Eminem played Australian shows in December 2011, a video hype reel for Rapture was screened, leading to speculation that the tour would be the first in a series of major hip-hop events. According to one fan posting on the “the Ultimate Eminem Fansite”, “What I took from it was that Eminem will be returning every year with some of the biggest names in hip-hop to put on a hip-hop festival called Rapture.”

Last year several fans chased up the rumour pestering Dainty on the promoter’s Facebook page only to be teased with comments like “no news at this stage…..”, “We have had a lot of interest re: Rapture, so we’ll keep you posted on FB” and “We can’t reveal anything just yet – but stay tuned”. The most promising post from Dainty came back in April when they announced “We’re working on it guys!!! More to be announced soon :)”

Intrigued by the comments, and the lack of official information, FL contacted Tim McGregor, group managing director at Dainty in August last year. Here’s what he said:

“When Paul Dainty and [Eminem’s manager] Paul Rosenberg created the concept of the Rapture Festival, it was on the basis that it would happen in such venues and on such dates as suited the key targeted artists,” McGregor explained. “Rapture is not intended to be an annual event or necessarily held during any fixed period on the calendar. Accordingly, we will announce the next instalment of Rapture when we have settled on the line-up, dates and venues; which is all a work in progress. The real story is still ‘watch this space’ for Rapture as we have been working on its development since last year.”

Following Maddah’s comments about Rapture earlier this week FL chased up further comment from Dainty. The promoter hasn’t replied, but according to the Herald Sun’s Nui Te Koha, Eminem will be returning to Australia for another run of headline stadium shows early next year.

So if Rapture does indeed take place in 2014, it’ll be without Eminem. As for Maddah’s involvement, the promoter confirmed he would “not be doing a hip hop festival. Ever” on Twitter this week. His reasons? “Too many dodgy promoters. Too many dodgy agents. Too many dodgy managers. Too many dickhead artists,” he wrote in a series of tweets.

“It’s plain larceny on the part of fake agents and managers selling acts they don’t have with money up front or promoters lying about acts and then not refunding; or ‘artists’ that can’t be fucked getting on a flight or leaving hotel. It’s just 1 giant circle jerk of thieves and arseholes. And even when they do turn up, the ‘artist’ usually wants to do the absolute minimum fuck-all possible to fulfill contract.”