SXSW Music News: Stormy Friday
Wind, rain, and a weapon torments SXSW on Friday night
By Kevin Curtin,
12:00PM, Sat. Mar. 19, 2016
Cold winds started suddenly, 90 minutes past midnight, after the storm had seemingly gone out like a lamb. It was enough to peel paper off light poles and send tumbleweeds of concert fliers shooting down Fourth Street outside the Austin Convention Center. Miracle of miracles that I wasn’t blown into traffic on my bone-chilling bike ride home.
“For attendees in the Auditorium Shores area (SXSW Outdoor Stage at Lady Bird Lake), seek shelter at the Palmer Events Terrace or the Long Center parking garage. Do not stand under tents during severe weather conditions,” read SXSW’s website.
Subsequently, the free concert at Auditorium Shores was canceled before headliner Coheed & Cambria could take the stage. Outside of town to the west, Willie Nelson’s annual mini festival in Luck was evacuated due to severe weather – though it restarted later in the small, indoor chapel stage. Major unofficial attraction Fader Fort was also cleared out and all of its Friday programming canceled.
Meanwhile, other outdoor gigs continued. After waiting out the rain, Santigold went on at Stubb’s and Flo Rida on the McGarrah Jessee Rooftop. Indeed, by 9pm, the sky had dried and wet ponchos were tossed in the trash in favor of T-shirts.
As fantastic British rapper Jay Prince wowed a crowd at Karma Lounge, local municipal Twitter handle @AustinTexasGov alerted, “Austin Music Hall cleared for safety reasons, more details to follow.” The Hall was hosting the Beer n Tacos showcase, headlined by 2 Chainz. The large concert venue is enjoying its last hurrah before demolition this coming week.
An Austin Police Department officer standing outside the venue, which had been evacuated, revealed that while Houston rapper Trae tha Truth performed to a capacity crowd, members of two other artists’ entourages pushed past security and entered the club. He said one individual with a firearm was seen, which prompted the APD’s arrival. The gun had not been pointed at anyone.
By the time law enforcement were on the scene, it was suspected that the man seen with the gun had left, but it wasn’t clear. According to the officer, it was SXSW and not APD that pulled the plug on the show. Call it a no-brainer.
From the 2004 onstage murder of “Dimebag” Darrell Abbott of Texas thrash metal legends Pantera to the mass shooting in Paris during an Eagles of Death Metal performance last November, a zero tolerance policy for weapons at concerts is now a given.
SXSW Director Roland Swenson confirmed the APD officer’s detailing, but noted that the decision to clear the venue was a consensus agreed upon by SXSW, APD, and Austin Music Hall’s management.