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Did France's best-selling rapper really play at a small-town Swedish children's show?

The Local Sweden
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Did France's best-selling rapper really play at a small-town Swedish children's show?
French rapper Jul performs on stage at Victoires de la Musique, the annual French music awards ceremony in 2017. Photo: Thomas Samson/AFP

Tickets for a Christmas-themed children's dance show in a small Swedish town sold out in record time after a technical and linguistic mix-up led fans of the French rapper Jul to think they were snapping up a bargain.

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Organisers of a Christmas-themed children's dance performance in Kungälv, north of Gothenburg, were left scratching their heads after tickets for their Jul och Kul ("Christmas and fun") event sold out unusually fast – so fast that some of the children's own families were initially not able to get tickets.

But it turned out that the sudden international interest for a children's dance show was due to an AI-fuelled misunderstanding.

The tickets, which were sold online via Ticketmaster, had in fact been bought up by fans of French rapper Jul.

The event had been picked up by event websites that scrape the internet and automatically list events based on the name of the artist, city and date.

Kungälv's advert for the event contained the word "jul", which means Christmas in Swedish, alongside the word "hiphop", which led the sites' algorithms to wrongly advertise the rapper as appearing at the Kungälv dance show, local newspaper Kungälvs-Posten was first to report.

"We had a number of angry phone calls from parents who hadn't been able to get tickets to their child's show," the head of culture at Kungälv municipality, Matilda Skön, told the newspaper. "That's when we started to realise something was wrong."

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"You wonder why people buying tickets didn't react to the place and time," Skön added. "A hiphop concert with a huge French rapper at 11.30 on a Saturday morning in the cultural centre in little Kungälv? It doesn't exactly seem believable."

The municipality eventually had to officially deny that the rapper would be playing in Kungälv.

"External websites are incorrectly stating that the French artist Jul is performing at this event. This is incorrect," a post on Kungälv municipality's website read.

Jul, or Julien Mari, is the best-selling artist in French rap history, having sold more than 5.5 million albums, but this doesn't appear to be the first time this mistake has been made.

Some event websites list Jul, who regularly sells out stadiums in France, as having played concerts in past years at Kalmar cathedral, Fässberg church near Gothenburg, as well as 16 nights at Golden Hits night club and karaoke bar in Stockholm, which is unlikely to say the least for an artist who only raps in French.

As far as The Local is aware, he does not have any plans to perform in Sweden this Christmas, but we hope his fans who snapped up the 60 kronor (5 euro) tickets to the show in Kungälv enjoyed the event anyway.

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