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Festival Where Drakeo the Ruler Was Killed Signed JV With Live Nation This Year

The concert that resulted in the fatal stabbing of Drakeo the Ruler was produced by indie promoter Bobby Dee, Jeff Shuman and C3 Presents.

The organizers of a Los Angeles festival that was the scene of a high-profile homicide Saturday night (Dec. 18), when rapper Drakeo the Ruler was fatally stabbed, had recently made a major management change, ending its relationship with the organizers of Coachella in July to ink a new joint venture with global concert promoter Live Nation. Last month, Live Nation came under heavy fire for its alleged role in the deadly Astroworld festival headlined by Travis Scott that killed 10 people and left scores more injured.

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Authorities say that Drakeo was murdered in a stabbing attack Saturday during the Once Upon a Time in LA festival at Exposition Park and Banc of California Stadium in downtown Los Angeles. Headlined by Snoop Dogg, the festival was a joint venture between Live Nation and veteran independent promoter Robert “Bobby Dee” Drieslein, who is Snoop’s business partner. Austin, Texas, festival promoter C3 Presents, which promotes Lollapalooza and Austin City Limits, was also involved in producing the festival, a Live Nation rep confirmed.

Once Upon a Time in LA was created by Drieslein and well-known talent buyer Jeff Shuman in 2017 under the name Summertime in the LBC and had been promoted by Goldenvoice, the AEG-owned concert company behind Coachella. Goldenvoice also co-promoted the R&B-focused Lovers and Friends festival owned by Dreislein and Shuman and the Smokin Grooves festival, which the men co-owned with booking agent Cara Lewis.

From 2017 to 2019, the three festivals were staged at an outdoor site in Long Beach near the Queen Mary, a 1930s-era luxury ocean liner that had been permanently moored and converted into a hotel. In 2019, Summertime in the LBC was renamed Once Upon a Time in LA following a settlement with the Long Beach band The Dove Shack, who wrote the 1995 song “Summertime in the LBC” and claimed the Summertime in the LBC festival infringed on the group’s intellectual property. Goldenvoice also promoted a Latin music and Chicano rock festival on the site called Tropicalia festival in 2017 and 2018 before moving the festival to the Pomona Fairplex in 2019. Records show that Shuman owned a trademark for Tropicalia Festival and that Bobby Dee Presents Inc. owned a trademark for both Once Upon a Time in LA and Once Upon a Time in the LBC.

The festivals were rapidly growing and selling out in record time (Once Upon a Time in the LBC 2019 sold out in an hour) when the pandemic hit in March 2020, followed by the bankruptcy of Urban Commons in April 2021 amid fraud accusations. The real estate company had reportedly used the Queen Mary as collateral for a number of large loans and was threatened with jail time by a federal bankruptcy judge accusing Urban Commons executives of diverting $2.4 million in PPP loans meant for Queen Mary to personal bank accounts, court records show.

The bankruptcy ended Goldenvoice’s agreement with Urban Commons, and the concert company moved the events it owned to different venues, including a park space in Long Beach. Then in July 2021, Shuman parted ways with Goldenvoice and joined global concert promoter Live Nation, which inked a new JV with Shuman and Drieslein under more favorable terms, Dreislein confirmed to Billboard in a September interview.

Th 43-year-old Dreislein manages Snoop’s Dogg’s live business and its Uncle Snoop’s Army platform, which is part booking agency and part fan club. He also co-manages Ice Cube’s concert business and manages the careers of Cypress Hill frontman B-Real, Warren G, Xzibit, Lisa Lisa, Bone Thugs-N-Harmony, Trae tha Truth and Berner. Dreislein is the son of a successful night club owner and promoter and grew up in in South Los Angeles.

The killing of Drakeo the Ruler is the second deadly incident to happen at a Live Nation festival this year, although the circumstances between Astroworld and Once Upon a Time in LA are quite different. A crowd crush of fans trying to rush the stage is the cause of the high casualty count at the Houston festival, while the death of Drakeo was the result of a fight backstage at the festival, sources tell Billboard. No arrests have been made in the case.

Billboard contacted reps for Dreislen and Shuman, and neither man elected not to comment at this time.