Emerald Point Bar & Grill owner Barrett Brannam announced Thursday that Vanilla Ice has withdrawn from Friday’s scheduled concert at the marina restaurant on Lake Travis, due to social media backlash.
News of the planned event went viral Wednesday night after party promoter Mike Wade told the Austin Chronicle weekly that the show’s capacity would be 2,500 people.
However, Brannam told the Texas Tribune that the show was always going to be capped at 450 tickets, including three VIP sections that were already sold out by Thursday morning. Eighty-four general admission tickets were sold before Vanilla Ice, born Robert Matthew Van Winkle in Dallas, pulled out early Thursday afternoon.
"We were being as responsible as humanly possible outside of canceling the show," Brannam says.
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.
"I take the coronavirus serious," Vanilla Ice tweeted Thursday morning. "But we can’t live in a bubble. I think at this point we all understand the severity of it. practice social distancing and wear a mask. This is an outside venue, Fourth of July on the lake with fireworks. Plenty of room for distancing."
Later in the day, In a video posted to Twitter, Vanilla Ice explained the decision to cancel the show 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!"
Due to the increase in COVID-19 numbers in Austin we’re gonna move the concert to a better date. We were hoping for better Coronavirus numbers by July but Unfortunately the numbers have increased quite a bit so for the safety and health of everyone we’re going to stay home. pic.twitter.com/MWWfNWf3zd— Vanilla Ice (@vanillaice) July 2, 2020
According to Brannam, the rest of the Emerald Point’s shows for the holiday weekend will also be canceled, including a Saturday concert with fellow 1990s artist Color Me Badd. He expects throwback beach weekend with Vanilla Ice, which started in 2019, to return next year.
Emerald Point will continue to showcase local artists for the rest of the summer.