A video of Hippie Sabotage, an electronic dance music duo from Sacramento, has gone viral on social media but not for musical reasons. A clip posted to Facebook that captures the group fighting with security during its June 18 set at Portland’s What The Festival has received close to 500,000 views.
The nearly two-minute video shows a melee breaking out as festival staff attempt to remove Hippie Sabotage from the stage. Band members shove and punch a security guard who ends up caught in a deep choke hold. According to attendees of the festival who posted on social media, the brawl erupted after Hippie Sabotage experienced technical problems during its set and tossed microphones into the crowd.
Hippie Sabotage claimed self-defense in a statement to Willamette Week: “It was an unfortunate event that placed us in an unsafe situation in the middle of our performance. We feel terrible that the fans didn’t get the full set, but we love performing for Portland and will be back.”
The band did not respond to an interview request. Glenn Boyd, owner and producer of What The Festival, provided the following statement to The Bee: “(This) was an isolated incident and totally out of character for our event. We’ve been really grateful for all the support, positive vibes and well wishes we’ve received from our fans, attendees and the general public.”
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Hippie Sabotage is best known for its remix of “Habits (Stay High)” by the Swedish singer Tove Lo. The remixed track reached the Top 10 in various European countries and garnered more than 429 million views on YouTube.
The group has received significant backlash from the electronic dance community since the video was posted. Hippie Sabotage’s Facebook page has since been flooded with commenters expressing outrage over the incident and calling on promoters to blacklist the group from future performances.
Onstage fights between performers and security are fairly rare. One exception occurred in 1969, when Jefferson Airplane singer Marty Balin was punched in the face during the Altamont Free Concert by a member of the Hell’s Angels who helped provide security. In 1991, Kurt Cobain of Nirvana scuffled with a member of security following a stage dive gone wrong during a show in Dallas.
Hippie Sabotage are scheduled to perform Saturday, June 25 at the Electric Forest festival in Rothbury, Mich.