South Africa

WATCH: US singer Khalid makes a fan’s birthday special during Hey Neighbour Fest performance

Retha Khalid

Birthdays are naturally special, but Retha Richards’ day of birth was made more special by US crooner Khalid, who signed her birthday sashes during his performance on the Hey Neighbour Fest stage on Friday.

The Hey Neighbour festival took place over the weekend, running from Friday until Sunday. Khalid was the headliner on the festival’s first day, and his performance was more special for birthday girl Richards.

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The patron, who turned 31 on Friday, admits to not having a plan about how to get her birthday sashes signed but weaved her way through the crowd until she was close enough to the stage.  

“I don’t have a pen; I don’t have anything. I ended up in front, just behind some girls, and I kind of recruited them to assist me; they did; they were so neighbourly,” Richards told The Citizen.

“He danced with it on the stage; he signed it and said, ‘Happy Birthday’. There was no plan, kind of made up as I moved forward. I would also say the neighbours made it work; the neighbours made it happen; if it wasn’t for my neighbours, it wasn’t going to happen.”

Using a black pen, the US singer’s signature was over the black part of the sashes, of which only a small part made it to the white section of the sashes.

“He wasn’t very smart about it; he just signed it; he didn’t write anything. He was actually under a lot of pressure because I didn’t give him a pen or anything; he had to organise people at the back to give him a pen,” said Richards.

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Sensational Khalid

Richards, who is from Gauteng, said she was grateful for the gesture made by the American.

“I am 100% an experience girl, like I love gifts but anything that makes me feel something is what I’m chasing. So that was the gift I got, him signing was so unexpected, it was this massive birthday surprise. It was incredible; he seems so genuinely nice and kind.”

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Khalid performed on the first day of the festival on Friday and Richards described his performance as sensational.

“I feel like he interacted with the crowd; it almost felt like he was part of the crowd. His vocals were absolutely on point; he did different things; he got the crowd going—it was pretty dope,” averred Richards.

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A good outing

Richards attended the event with friends who travelled as far as East London to attend the three-day festival.

“I think there are some logistics and teething issues that they still have to sort out. It’s literally their first rodeo and I think they’ll sort that out,” said Richards, sharing her thoughts about the festival as a whole.

The well-attended festival left some patrons furious over the bad signal, where those in attendance struggled to make or receive calls while the VIP section of the event was overcrowded with little to no seats for those inside the section.

“Besides logistics issues with leaving and maybe the signal issues, because you can’t really get a hold of your friends. Maybe they can make the VIP experience more VIPish, so give some kind of incentive to VIP ticket holders to be up closer and that will make it worth it,” said Richards, who said Hey Neighbour was the best music festival she’s attended.

“In terms of line-up, production in terms of artist quality, I think it’s madness what they did with various sets, I was there for three days—local artists included.”

“I think they succeeded with the vision of Hey Neighbour. It felt like people weren’t there to cause issues, people were kind, everybody loved each other.

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