Editor’s note: This article was originally published March 10, 2014
Rumors on Twitter of internationally recognized pop star Justin Bieber coming to Austin for South by Southwest didn’t seriously fly until Sunday night, when he was already performing at Banger’s Sausage House and Beer Garden, a Rainey Street bar hosting a private SXSW party for SB Projects, the talent management company that represents Bieber.
The show was so last minute that Banger’s owner Ben Siegel didn’t know Bieber was coming for sure until about 11 p.m., when he received a text from one of the party organizers that said Bieber would be showing up in about 20 minutes.
"We were outside with all the artists (from the Sunday party) who were doing a jam session," Siegel said. "We didn’t even know he had arrived yet. They were all passing the mic around, doing covers of different songs, when he came out and sang."
Performers at the Sunday Funday Showcase – an all-day show that closed Banger’s to the public – included Cody Simpson, Tori Kelly and other clients of SB Management, all singers who drew a primarily younger, Bieber-friendly crowd to the bar.
Bieber hadn’t been on the set list at all, but said on Saturday that he wanted to play at Banger’s after leaving Houston on Sunday night, where he accompanied Selena Gomez for her show at the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo.
"At first they said he’s definitely coming, and then maybe around 7 or 8 o’ clock (Sunday) they said he wasn’t coming," Siegel said.
After that initial performance onstage with the other singers, Bieber sang again – this time his smash 2012 single "As Long As You Love Me" – which ran the party much later than expected.
But fan reaction to Bieber never got out of control, Siegel said. Although "things got more hectic" once he arrived, the 400 or so people at the event remained relatively behaved, possibly thanks to the increased police presence on Rainey Street.
A city of Austin spokesman confirmed last night that additional police officers had been dispatched to the area after sightings of Bieber were reported.