Ozomatli Members Arrested at South By Southwest Fest

Two members of the band Ozomatli and their manager were arrested early on March 18th after a performance spilled out onto the street during a show at the South By Southwest music festival in Austin, Texas.

Near the end of its performance at the Exodus nightclub, the Los Angeles band left the stage and marched through the crowd while beating drums and playing horns. Members of the audience followed behind the musicians, as is common practice at the band’s shows, and the group moved out onto the street.

Once outside, police directed the group to return to the club. A scuffle ensued, witnesses told the Austin American-Statesman, which reported the incident in its online edition. Percussionist Jiro Yamaguchi, bassist Willy Abers and band manager Amy Sue Blackman-Romero were arrested.

Witnesses said police used pepper spray to disperse the crowd.

Blackman-Romero was charged with a city ordinance violation and interference with the duties of a public servant, jail records show. Abers, 30, of Los Angeles, was charged with failure to obey the order of a police officer. Yamaguchi, 36, also of Los Angeles, was charged with assault on a public servant.

The three were taken to the Travis County Jail. A jail spokesperson said that Blackman-Romero and Abers were not in custody last night, but that Yamaguchi remained jailed on $5,000 bond.

“Ozomatli has always been about bringing people together,” the band said in a statement released late this afternoon. “We cannot comment on the specifics of the unfortunate incident… except to say that it will not deter us from our mission to bring joy to our fans through the power of music. We will not be canceling any performances … or altering the way in which we connect with our audience. We have performed all over the world and look forward to continuing to unite people through the universal language of music.”

Ozomatli won the 2001 Grammy award for best Latin rock/alternative album for its Interscope set, “Embrace the Chaos.”

Source billboard.com.

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