6 Things I want to see in the 6 at the 6th OVO Festival

Dear 6 God/the artist who is usually known as Drake,

How are you? It seems like a silly question because it appears that your 2015 is already a very productive year. I doubt you’ve even had time to listen to the new Kendrick album (it’s great, by the way). You released a mixtape/album so you can say farewell to your record label and sold over 500,000 copies within three days of its release. I really like Preach and Now and Forever, by the way. You&the 6 is pretty insightful and, well, 6PM in New York is what I like to call fire.

You’re making the rounds on the festival circuit this year too, which I guess is cool. Coachella, Wireless, Squamish, you say? Can I come? Do you have an OVO branded plane that I can join you on?

I know you’ve traveled to the other side of the world to perform in Australia and hang with princes in Dubai. You’ve probably seen some really beautiful places and done some adventurous things. My mom’s a little upset that you didn’t stop over in India to visit her, but she will forgive you, because she hopes to go to OVO Fest for the first time when she’s back home.

Which brings me to the subject of this letter. I think your track record with the annual festival is pretty strong, and I didn’t take your tease at last year’s event lightly (ya know, the point during the show where you said it’s going to be the biggest one ever…). Since you’ve been so busy, I understand why it’s taken a while for you to respond to the awaiting public about your annual celebration.  I do expect big things, and I think after attending four of the five OVO Fests thus far, I probably deserve at least five lint rollers, three Drizzy waves and at least two of the following. Maybe three. Or all of them.

1. $6 Tickets

I tried convincing myself that I’m not a secret member of Team Drizzy, but the stats are against me: five concerts, physical copies of your albums, OVO merchandise, numerous tweets and my fair share of voluntary album/show reviews over the years. Aubrey, I wouldn’t spend money on you if I didn’t support you/like you, but I think it’s time to return the favour, and not just in your endless Toronto promoting ways or bringing cool people like Stevie Wonder to the city so I can say yes, I’ve seen Stevie Wonder live and my parents haven’t.

Photo taken by me. Pictured: Eminem and Drake.

Photo taken by me. Pictured: Eminem and Drake.

I know all of these efforts cost money, and that we’ve come a long, long way from the days where $130 got me a floor seat and up close and personal with you, Jay Z and Eminem. If you could celebrate Toronto in the the hey, let’s charge six dollars for a ticket and have a good time with our woes way, that would be greatly appreciated, economically and emotionally. It’s also just another opportunity to drive the 6 brand in the 6 at the 6th annual OVO Festival.

2. Big Sean and J.Cole Open Day One

I know you’ve struggled to expand OVO Fest into a multi-day fest. The first time you moved to a two day expansion, Frank’s throat wasn’t doing so well, and the second time, not enough of your target demographic were feeling Outkast. But this year, things can be different.

via Zumic.com

While I’m 99.9% certain that J.Cole and Big Sean’s Toronto date on the Forest Hills Drive tour will land on OVO Fest due to the ambiguous “TBA” next to Toronto on the tour announcement and the fact that there is a nice little opening on Caribana weekend amongst the tour dates, I want to say that it would be a great decision. Both of your peers have released fantastic albums, are relevant to your market, and are very entertaining live. Fortunately, you haven’t had issues in selling out your festival, but bringing these two won’t hurt your cause at all.

3. Maybe Change Your Venue

I can’t believe I’m suggesting this because I love the Molson Amphitheatre oh so dearly and think it’s a wonderful place to celebrate good music, summer and Toronto. But with every passing year and OVO Fest, it feels like I’m at a premium event that I’m going to eventually stop receiving invitations to, by which I mean I will no longer be able to afford it. I’ll reserve my judgment until I see this year’s ticket prices, but I wonder – have you ever thought about changing the venue? Let’s revisit the announcement you made at OVO back in 2012, when you said you were going to move the show to the Rogers Centre. Remember when you said that? Did it not happen due to costs? Marketing? Maintain the exclusivity of the event? I understand, but I also would appreciate a move to a larger venue so ticket prices can hopefully decrease. It may also help with the tone of a multi-day festival.

4. Beyoncé Finally Makes The Appearance I’ve Been Hoping For Since Year 1

via popsugar.com

I know B was back stage during the first OVO Festival. Now, I just really, really want to hear both of you perform “Mine” together. You can bring Hov too if you want and share “Light Up ” for kicks.

5. A Balanced Set List

Given the release of If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late, I anticipate that it’ll dominate your set list. Last year’s show was a gradual exploration through your independent catalogue. Some years the performers outdo your contributions to the setlist. Striking a balance between your old school hits, your new efforts and the cameos that make OVO the popular event that it is may likely be your biggest challenge while growing the event. My suggestion: let’s make this mixtape centric, but throw back to your big singles and bring out your celebrity amigos for collaborations. I’d love to see you and Big Sean perform “Blessings” and would freak if you could add “Little Bit”, “Dreams Money Could Buy” and/or “HoustAtlantaVegas”. Side note: I know “Dreams” isn’t a mixtape track…I just like it. A lot.

6. The Extra Special Guest

TLC, Kanye West, Stevie Wonder, Eminem, Jay Z, Usher, 50 Cent, Snoop Dogg, Nicki Minaj, Lil’ Wayne and Nas were all great guests at OVO Fest. I foresee Madonna or Rihanna (or refer to #4 for another awesome female artist)  joining you this year, both of which would be equally cool – but how about creating a more hip-hop centric moment?

via atribecalledquest.com

My suggestion: A Tribe Called Quest. Try and make it happen so we can kick it like Ali Shaheed and Phife Dawg. Let’s bring it back to a celebration of the genre, you know?

Another special guest would be free t-shirts. I’d happily accept those, too.

6 God, I know you’ve got a lot going on, but I’d really appreciate it if you consider these things. This is a big year for you. Let’s keep the momentum going. If you’d like further consultation, please feel free to get in touch. I can join you while you work the night shift on Views from the 6.

I hope Momma Graham is doing well and that you come back soon so we can chat. It’s also getting warmer here in the 6, so you can drive your Bugatti and head over to Sotto Sotto because yes, I hear they’re back too. So come through, and we’ll eat some roasted eggplant and pasta.

Your woe,