Vanilla Ice cancels Austin performance over COVID-19 concerns

Vanilla Ice cancels Austin performance over COVID-19 concerns

Rapper Vanilla Ice has canceled a performance planned near Austin, Texas, after getting pushback from critics concerned about the potential of spreading the coronavirus.

The show was set to take place Friday at Emerald Point Bar & Grill. A promoter initially said the show would have a capacity of 2,500, but the venue later revised that number, dropping it to 450 people.

“We were being as responsible as humanly possible outside of canceling the show,” venue owner Barrett Brannam told the Austin American-Statesman, part of the USA TODAY Network.

Amid a spike in coronavirus in Texas, and Austin in particular, Gov. Greg Abbott has ordered all bars closed and is limiting capacity at restaurants such as Emerald Point Bar & Grill.

In a video posted to Twitter on Thursday, Vanilla Ice explained the decision to his fans: “I listen to my fans, I hear all you people out there. I didn’t know the numbers were so crazy in Austin, but we were hoping it would be a lot better by Fourth of July because we booked this concert a long time ago. Basically, just want to stay safe. We do take it serious and we want to make sure everyone’s safe. We’re just hoping for a good time... it turned into being a big focal point on me and it’s not about that. Happy Fourth of July and hopefully by New Years, this corona crap will have a cure. Come on! Go Ninja go!”

Before it was canceled, tickets on Eventbrite were going for $25 to $40, and all VIP sections were sold out.

Ice, born Robert Matthew Van Winkle, is a native of Dallas.

Even before Travis County crossed the 10,000 threshold for positive coronavirus cases on Wednesday, many in the community were worried about adequate social distancing measures at the Fourth of July weekend concert.

Last week, Travis County barred outdoor gatherings of more than 100 people and implemented a fine of up to $1,000 for the offense, after Abbott lowered the threshold for which local governments could bar outdoor gatherings from 500 to 100 people.

The coronavirus pandemic isn't the first time Vanilla Ice has come up against quarantine.

'It was chaos':Vanilla Ice describes quarantine of Emirates Flight 203

The rapper said he was caught up in the quarantine of an Emirates airline flight detained at New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport in 2018, after many aboard fell ill.

"So I just landed in New York coming back from Dubai and now I’m stuck on the runway with like 1000 police, ambulances, fire trucks, this is crazy," he wrote in a Facebook post, sharing footage of the scene filmed from a plane window.

Vanilla Ice also tweeted that he was "happy I’m up top" of the double-deck Airbus, as he believed the sick passengers were below.

As many as 100 passengers, including some crew members, "complained of illness, including cough and some with fever," according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Ultimately, 19 people were deemed "sick," according to Eric Phillips, spokesman at the time for New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio.


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