TAMPA, Fla. - A rowdy crowd of hundreds swelled 7th Avenue in the heart of Ybor City Saturday night, prompting police to cancel a free rap concert.
South Florida rapper XXXTentacion promoted the all-ages show, but was forced to scrap it after
witnesses say mobs of fans rushed his vehicle and the venue.
"Just mayhem," said Fernando Cerros.
Cerros and his friends waited in line for more than five hours Saturday and say the scene turned dangerous fast.
"I was honestly thinking something bad might happen knowing his fan base are just crazy in general," said Cerros.
The Orpheum can hold up to 720 people, but ABC Action News has learned, upwards of 1,000 people showed up.
The live music venue explaining on Facebook in part, "This decision was made in order to assure the safety of fans, staff and our Ybor City neighbors. Unfortunately the allotted number of passes was far exceeded by the number of fans who showed up for the event... We are very sorry that this situation developed beyond our expectations and ability to handle."
"Their first words were there's a riot, people are running inside," Veronica Sogno, general manager of The Blind Tiger.
Sogno directed her employees to lock the doors, if needed. The coffee cafe is just a couple storefronts down from The Orpheum.
"Saturday night was very unusual," said Sogno. "I've been here for 3 years now and I've never seen anything like it."
Sogno stresses Ybor is safe and believes that Orpheum staff and police did all they could to control an unruly crowd.
"It wasn't a reflection of what normally happens here," said Sogno. "At all."
"As much as I'm disappointed it was cancelled, yeah, it was probably the right choice," said Cerros.
A spokesperson for the venue tells ABC Action News that XXXTentacion will not be invited back to The Orpheum.