Kayla Delson decided to study for finals early so she could go see her favorite R&B artist, The Weeknd.
She had her camera ready like dozens of others who had shown up at The Chop Shop last month to get their photo taken with the Grammy-nominated artist. Little did they know, this would not be the case.
Soon there was an announcement from the DJ: There were to be no photos of The Weeknd.
“That was the whole reason why I went,” said Delson, 18, who attended the Jan. 14 event at 1st Ward Events at The Chop Shop, 2033 W. North Ave.
Delson and many in the crowd voiced their disappointment once they realized they would only be getting a signed poster from the artist.
The Weeknd, whose real name is Abel Tesfaye, stopped in Chicago as part of a five-city tour to meet with fans and sign posters. He had never had an event like this before, though he did CD signings with his debut album “Kiss Land” this past year.
Fans were notified via email about last month’s event through myplaydirect.com, the site where fans purchased Kiss Land.
Fans were told to RSVP, then they would receive more details about the event, including the time and location, by Jan. 7. But details and email confirmations did not come until after that date, and communication was not as organized as fans would have liked, said Delson.
Desiree Mendez agrees.
“It was kind of confusing for some people. It was short notice,” said Mendez, 18, who attended the Los Angeles event on Jan. 17 at the Supper Club on Hollywood Boulevard.
Like Delson, Mendez said she was disappointed she couldn’t get a picture with The Weeknd. Both women expected something out of the private event – and a poster signing was not it.
Fans should not blame The Weeknd for the event’s disorganization, said Chamille Weddington, an adjunct instructor in Columbia College’s Arts, Entertainment and Media Management Department. But she said The Weeknd needs to improve how he communicates with his fans.
“I would blame his team,” said Weddington, who specializes in promotion, conceptualization, event management and execution.
She called the lack of communication a public relations flop and said The Weeknd has to consider who he has on his team. She said he has to be consistent when sending out emails and other communications.
The Weeknd’s team did not respond to multiple requests for interviews.
Though there were some perks to attending the event besides the poster signing and fan interaction. 1st Ward Events and The Supper Club provided appetizers and one free alcoholic drink to those over the age of 21, according to Mendez and Delson. They said the event itself was pretty organized and welcoming.
“After all, it was all about meeting Abel,” Mendez said.
One fan who was not able to attend the Chicago event, said she was okay with not having her poster signed.
“I was content since I didn’t need him to sign anything,” says Sanja Kerr, 22, a Chicago resident who couldn’t attend because she purchased “Kiss Land” at a store, and not through myplaydirect.com.
She had her “Kiss Land” CD signed at the concert The Weeknd held on Oct. 13 and 14, last year at the Chicago Theatre. When she learned no pictures were allowed at the January event, she wasn’t as upset about not getting an invite.
“I felt salty about it,” Kerr said.
Although Delson and Mendez don’t like what happened, they’re grateful they were able to see him again.
“Overall, I enjoyed the event,” Delson said.
“I got to see [Abel],” Mendez said.