Listen to Austin 360 Radio

SXSW music returns to the Mohawk Thursday night

Deborah Sengupta

Editor’s note: This article was originally published March 13, 2014

Less than 24 hours after a car crashed through a barricade on Red River Street killing two people and injuring 23 others the South by Southwest Music Festival resumed shows at the Mohawk. At 7:25 p.m., before the club opened a line of about 30-40 badge holders was outside the club. A general admission line comprised of fans of the wildly popular young Harlem hip-hop crew A$AP Mob hoping to pay a $20 cover to get in stretched down the length of the block between Ninth and Tenth streets.

Danielle Chapman from San Antonio had been in line for about four hours. About the crash that happened last night she said, “it’s unfortunate that it happened, but I don’t feel unsafe or anything.”

Her friend Daniel Payares from El Paso was waiting with her. He described a very organized scene. Volunteers have been going up and down the line, confined to the sidewalk across the street from the club, giving people instructions about where to stand and making people feel comfortable.

Chapman said that her group was first in line. She said the line really started to fill out about 2 hours before the scheduled door time.

Inside the Mohawk the staff was focused on pushing through, trying to recapture the sense of community that is at the heart of the venue.

“Everybody thinks of each other as a family here,” Transmission Entertainment general manager Bobby Garza said, explaining that the club’s employees were deeply shaken, but trying to come together and build something positive out of the prior evening’s tragic events. Signs were posted throughout the club for www.sxswcares.com the donation site set up in coordination with South by Southwest to raise money for the victims of the Wednesday night incident.

“We don’t know who has health insurance or who is facing astronomical medical bills. This is the one thing we can do that we know will help,” Garza said.

Garza was quick to praise the club’s staff for their level headed and organized response to last night’s crisis.

“Some of these guys are real heroes,” Garza said. Several Mohawk employees rushed into the street immediately after the crash. They coordinated with first responders to assist with crowd control. They also maintained calm within the club that was locked down by police until the street could be cleared.

The show kicked off with Montreal rapper Tommy Kruise around 8 p.m. By 8:30 p.m. SXSW staffers had let about 80 people from the general admission line in and 187 people total were in the club. Montreal hip-hop crew 100s took the stage around 8:40. Neither of the first two acts mentioned the previous night’s events.