Amid surging COVID-19 cases, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) ordered the reclosure of state bars on June 26, just over a month after reopening them. The contingency was that dine-in restaurants could remain open provided the capacity is limited to 50%.
Given the state’s troubling statistics and dramatically rising coronavirus case rates, you might think a concert would be the last thing anyone in Texas would want to do for the Fourth of July weekend. Some venues that serve food are allowed to remain open, however, and are using this loophole so that the show, so to speak, may go on. That included a Vanilla Ice concert planned for July 3. On July 2, though, the show was canceled.
The concert was to take place at the Emerald Point Bar & Grill, described as a “massive, multi-level marina structure” on Lake Travis, located on the western edge of Austin. The venue has been allowed to remain open due to its categorization as a restaurant, meaning that at least 51% of its sales are food. A few other local venues such as Stubb’s, an iconic barbecue restaurant and concert venue in downtown Austin, are also operating under this loophole.
The Independence Day Throwback Beach Party, as the concert was billed, had tickets ranging from $25 to $300 for VIP tickets—the latter of which had sold out. Dallas native Vanilla Ice, also known as Rob Van Winkle, did a victory lap on Instagram ahead of the billed concert.
“I can’t wait to get back to this. The ’90s were the best. We didn’t have coronavirus, or cell phones, or computers,” he captioned throwback video footage from a packed concert. “We had 5.0’s, Blockbuster [Video], Beavis and Butthead, Wayne’s World, Chris Tucker, and Jackie Chan. And Mortal Kombat is still better than Fortnight [sic] but we got out of the house. We danced, we invented house parties in the ’90s. The last of the great decades.”
Yet only a few days after writing that message, Vanilla Ice abruptly canceled the show. According to Austin 360, Vanilla Ice withdrew from the concert because of “social media backlash on coverage of the event.”
“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,” he said in a statement released on social media. “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.”
Still, on July 4, the venue is supposed to host a concert by R&B group Color Me Badd, best known for their hit 1991 single “I Wanna Sex You Up.” As of this writing, that show is still on.