Vanilla Ice’s Texas concert plans come to a halt over coronavirus concerns
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Vanilla Ice has indefinitely postponed a Texas concert that had drawn fierce criticism due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The 1990s rapper with the hit single “Ice Ice Baby” had been scheduled to play a lakeside concert just outside Austin on Friday, but he decided to postpone until a later date, the owner of the restaurant hosting the show said Thursday.
Barrett Brannam said Vanilla Ice, whose real name is Robert Van Winkle, decided not to play because of concerns for he health of his fans and himself. Brannam said he didn’t know when the show will be rescheduled.
“Hard to say. Could be later this summer or not until next summer. We don’t now how long this virus will be around,” Brannam said.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott last week shut down bars and clubs in an effort to halt what he called a “massive spread” of the coronavirus. But the Emerald Point Bar & Grill is still open and hosting live music because it is a restaurant and performances can take place outside.
The Vanilla Ice show drew widespread attention — and criticism — when the rapper posted about it on social media Wednesday. Only 84 tickets had been sold before the online ticket broker suspended sales, Brannam said.
“I take the coronavirus serious. But we can’t live in a bubble,” the rapper tweeted before canceling Thursday. “I think at this point we all understand the severity of it. (P)ractice social distancing and wear a mask. This is an outside venue, Fourth of July on the lake with fireworks. Plenty of room for distancing.”
The rapper’s management company didn’t immediately respond to messages seeking comment.
Brannam said he hadn’t come under any pressure to cancel the show from state or local governments but he has been swamped with calls of complaints.
The performer played the same venue last year in front of 1,800 people and is booked for the holiday weekend for the next two years, Brannam said. Friday’s concert was booked in 2019, he said.
“I didn’t know about COVID when I booked this show. Nobody did,” Brannam said.
Brannam said the rapper had committed to asking fans to wear masks and follow proper social distancing guidelines. The venue will check patrons’ temperatures at the entrance and will give a mask to anyone who needs one, he said.
The restaurant has been hosting live music performances since it reopened in May. Brannam said no one complained until it was a Vanilla Ice concert. There are shows scheduled for Saturday and Sunday as well.
Brannam said he postponed upcoming concerts by Coolio and Tone Loc next weekend because he wouldn’t lose money.
“Vanilla Ice, he’s poised for people to poke fun at. Nobody was saying anything until he made his post. That’s when everything went crazy,” Brannam said. “I’m the most hated person on the planet right now over a Vanilla Ice show.”