Two Future concerts in L.A. are canceled in one day over crowd issues; third try is a charm
A day filled with police in riot gear and helicopters circling overhead seems more like a played-out trope of hip-hop music videos than a free concert.
But for Atlanta-based rapper Future, the finale of his “Salute the Fans” tour saw two cancellations, major street closures and throngs of fans being turned away before he and his fans finally prevailed on his third try.
Future’s four-date tour to promote his new album, “DS2,” has consisted of free, secret shows around the country. The time and location of these performances has been announced the day of the show. He had already wrapped up Atlanta, Chicago and New York before hitting Los Angeles, where he tweeted out “The Roxy” around 9:30 Thursday morning.
Almost immediately, fans began pouring onto the Sunset Strip in hopes of snagging a wristband for the 500-capacity midnight performance.
Fan Owls Almighty, 23, from Atlanta was driving around L.A. in anticipation of Future’s disclosed tweet. Almighty said when he heard the show would be at the Roxy, he was outside the venue in 10 minutes.
Almighty and hundreds of other fans poured onto the street around the club, a crowd amassing by 11 a.m.
After concertgoer hopefuls waited hours in the scorching heat, the Roxy tried to hand out wristbands around 1 p.m.
Joshua Villegas, 19, drove from the Inland Empire into West Hollywood after Future’s Thursday morning tweet. Villegas said the mass of fans swamped the doors of the theater.
“They told us to be cooperative, but then the line started getting crazier,” Villegas said. “People who were standing on the sidewalk, they all just rushed into the line.”
The swarm of fans prevented the distribution of wristbands.
The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department was called out to oversee the crowd and monitor traffic, according to a tweet from the sheriff’s department Twitter account.
The stretch of Sunset Boulevard between Doheny Drive and San Vincente Boulevard was closed off from around 3 to 5 p.m. to accommodate an estimated 700 people spilling out onto the street around the Roxy Theatre.
Videos and tweets posted on social media from those on the scene showed that police had rubber bullets and tear gas.
A representative for Future’s label, Epic Records, confirmed around 3:30 p.m. that the show had been canceled at the Roxy because people who didn’t get wristbands were refusing to leave the premises.
By 5:30 p.m., however, Future had posted a photo to Instagram announcing he was trying to find another venue. The last group of his fans near the Roxy quickly got into their cars and drove off in search of a yet-to-be disclosed location.
Thirty minutes later, Future announced the show would be back on, this one at the House of Blues Sunset Strip, a mile east of the Roxy Theatre.
Almighty said fans flocked to the House of Blues immediately after Future’s announcement and 800 wristbands were handed out around 8 p.m.
When it came time to open the doors at 10 p.m., commotion erupted when two fire extinguishers were set off and fans rushed the entrance.
Future’s representative confirmed that the concert had again been canceled shortly after 10 p.m. because of rowdy fans inside and outside the venue. More than a dozen police vehicles and police in riot gear again blocked off stretches of Sunset Boulevard, this time from Kings Road to La Cienega Boulevard, as the crowd dispersed.
Almighty described the atmosphere as one of disappointment, especially for friends of his who had driven from Denver just to see Future and were turned away after a dozen hours of waiting in line at both locations.
“I would’ve paid if they had put this ticket on sale, but that wasn’t the point,” Almighty said. “The point was he just dropped an album … and I was down to have a good time tonight. It sucks that it didn’t happen.”
Future himself expressed a similar sentiment, tweeting after the second cancellation, “I will be back soon to give the ppl the show they deserve.”
By 2 a.m. Friday morning, the rapper made good on his word and took the stage in Hollywood at the Supper Club. Future performed tracks off his new record for a capacity crowd (the club holds 500, according to its website) with a continued police and fire presence on Hollywood Boulevard just outside the nightclub.
For more music news, follow @bthornbostel on Twitter.
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