Vanilla Ice cancels Texas concert after COVID-19 blowback

Vanilla Ice, a.k.a. Rob Van Winkle.
Vanilla Ice has axed his annual holiday weekend concert just outside Austin, Texas.
(Frank Micelotta / Associated Press)

Amid spiking COVID-19 numbers in Texas and growing personal blowback about a planned Friday concert, Vanilla Ice has slammed it into reverse and canceled the annual show at a venue on the Lake Travis reservoir just outside of Austin.

The ‘90s rap star, real name Rob Van Winkle, announced Thursday that he would skip the Independence Day Throwback Beach Party, saying in an upbeat video on social media that he had listened to his fans and just wanted everyone to be safe.

“I didn’t know the numbers were so crazy in Austin,” the “Ice Ice Baby” hitmaker said in the video.


Travis County, which includes the music-obsessed college town, saw 88 new cases logged on June 1, but by Wednesday reported 597 new infections in a day, an almost 700% increase. Texas saw more than 8,000 new cases overall on Wednesday, an almost 14-fold increase from a month earlier. (Don’t gloat, local folks: California just saw more than 8,600 cases on one day and is taking measures to head off a contagion-filled holiday weekend too.)

“We were just hoping for a good time, Fourth of July weekend, but it turned into being a big focal point on me and it’s not about that,” Vanilla Ice said. “Anyway, happy Fourth of July, and hopefully by New Year’s this corona crap will have a cure!”

His decision is notable only because four hours before announcing the cancellation, Vanilla Ice had been defending the wisdom of drawing a crowd to the Emerald Point Bar & Grill, an outdoor venue. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott had ordered all bars in the state to reclose last week, but Emerald Point is classified as a restaurant, which meant it could operate at 50% capacity.

“I take the coronavirus serious. But we can’t live in a bubble,” Vanilla Ice wrote Thursday morning in a tweet that has since been deleted. “I think at this point we all understand the severity of it. practice social distancing and wear a mask. This is an outside venue, Fourth of July on the lake with fireworks. Plenty of room for distancing.”

In the video, however, the Dallas-born performer said that the show had been booked well in advance and that he’d been hoping the numbers would be better by now.


Austin TV news reporter Rudy Koski reported on social media Thursday that the event had been canceled “due to blow back on capacity dispute” with Travis County. Last year’s show was the biggest ever, Emerald Point owner William Brannam told Fox7, with 1,800 tickets sold, but this year, the venue was offering only 450 tickets, plus some VIP seating.

The event would have required attendees to wear masks and promised a temperature check upon entry.

In other Vanilla Ice news, the dude is still touring.

Depending on how the pandemic goes, fans can see him next on Sept. 19, when he is scheduled to play with Coolio, Rob Base and C&C Music Factor at the Rivers Casino in Pittsburgh.

“All dates are contingent upon governmental approval regarding COVID-19 restrictions,” his website reads.