After three hours of standing in line, I whispered to my cameraman, "I don't think this show is happening tonight." As it turned out, I was right.
I like to think the old saying that you speak things into existence is true, but in this case, my words had nothing to do with the cancellation of the Roots' SXSW showcase on Saturday (March 17) in Austin, Texas.
Standing in long lines is part of the SXSW experience (for some) but in this situation, the line wasn't even moving at all. For hours, everyone stood in line waiting to enter the venue conversing with strangers that soon became acquaintances after a 2-hour line experience. Soon I started to hear rumors that the show had been canceled due to a bomb threat.
The news traveled like the old game of telephone, up and down the crowd lines. No one at the venue would confirm at the time, but once I saw what I thought were bomb-sniffing dogs, my suspicions grew. Despite the rumors I was hearing, I wasn't moving. Nothing would have bothered me more than hearing the show went on after I left the line. So I stayed and continued to cross my fingers.
By this 8:15pm, it was dark and lines were still thick; not a single person was let into the venue. I decided to take to social media and further investigate the issue. First place I went to was the Twitter account of Roots drummer Questlove and that's when I saw it.
In a tweet (that has now vanished from his account) Questlove said the following: "Uh, welp can't say much but for those in Austin waiting in line to see us tonight, tonight's show has been cancelled. They'll make official announcement but I'd rather save y'all the trouble of waiting in line."
Once I showed the tweet to the people around me the news spread like wildfire and people quickly got the hell out of dodge.
One thing I was kind of mad about is that the venue never came out and told us the show was over, the majority of us had to learn the news from Questlove's Twitter page. (This is why I love social media though!) Eventually, I did see an official statement was later released.
https://t.co/NYmAcIKBv8 (thx @craftyiscool) no one is Mr “show must go on” than me. But we can’t risk our lives if we are told there was a bomb threat. I’m sure we will return to Austin ladies and gentlemen. Thanks for understanding.— Question Love student of Roy Lee 8 (@questlove) March 18, 2018
I love the Roots, but I was really coming to see Ludacris, I was super excited for that. But hey, safety is more important. Turns out there was a bomb threat and they caught the culprit.
We made it out alive with another SXSW story to tell. Stay tuned to REVOLT.tv for more SXSW coverage.