Austin’s Public Assembly Code Enforcement (PACE) made its presence known on the first Saturday night of South By Southwest, interrupting a show at Licha’s Cantina by Nineties rockers Hum.
The band’s only scheduled Austin appearance, part of the Pygmalion Festival concert series, elicited over 2,400 RSVPs according to one staffer at the restaurant (1306 E. Sixth Street). Around 9pm, PACE officials arrived and soon the hundreds waiting for a performance in the eatery’s backyard were asked to exit.
A media rep for the City of Austin confirmed today that the business was cited for overcrowding. A ticket alleges that 237 people were in Licha’s backyard, though its capacity is only 49.
In order to satisfy customers determined to see the Champaign-Urbana, IL fourpiece, which broke up in 2000 and have occasionally reunited, management allowed 38 people in the backyard at a time before cycling in another group of the same size. That figure, 38, was likely what remained of the capacity after accounting for the band and staff.
Several hundred people waited in an epic line behind the venue as Hum parceled out its set list for a revolving crowd. The staff would let in one batch, the band played two songs, then that crowd made room for another, and so on. Ostensibly, everyone who wanted to see Hum did – albeit briefly.
“We appreciate you being so understanding about this,” vocalist/guitarist Matt Talbot told the first round of audience members as they filed out. “How is everybody feeling out in the alley?” he then asked to eager applause. “Hopefully everybody can get in.”
Across town, party-goers were being cleared out of V Nightclub (409 Colorado) for capacity issues, according to eyewitnesses. The venue was hosting an invite-only party put on by creative/tech company MRY and headlined by rap superstar Nas. Eventually patrons were allowed back in the club and the Brooklyn MC performed as planned.
The City’s media rep wasn’t able to find documentation of that ordeal, so it’s unclear whether that action was initiated by PACE. There was, however, another overcrowding citation issued last night to an event held at 304 E. Third Street.
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