MIAMI — Rain or ... hurricane, the show must go on — even if that means toughing out some not-so-ideal travel scenarios to get to Miami, the site of Sunday's MTV Video Music Awards.
With Katrina and her 100 mph winds temporarily shutting down Miami International Airport (see "VMAs Weather The Storm As Hurricane Katrina Heads West"), artists were forced to either miss pre-parties and rehearsals or get creative.
"Many flights and a lot of driving later, it was 24 hours of traveling," Christina Milian said Friday. "I flew from L.A. to D.C. to Orlando and then drove from there, but it's all worth it for the VMAs."
Joining Milian on the same route was Compton rapper the Game. "I definitely don't play with Mother Nature," the Game said. "So what I did was come up with a strategic plan to fly into Orlando and had me a tour bus there drive me down. I don't fly into the eye of the storm."
Aaron Carter actually sat next to the Game after the rapper's bodyguard took over his window seat. At first the bodyguard stared him down, until he realized he actually knew Aaron's brother, Nick Carter. Aaron also befriended the Game, who invited him on his tour bus once in Orlando.
"I'm like, 'I'm good,' " recalled Carter, a self-described "storm fan" who was bummed to miss Katrina. "You're probably gonna meet 50 Cent and I don't wanna be around for that."
With almost all flights into Miami getting canceled on Thursday, a number of artists spent long hours in airports, rescheduling. By the time 112 made it to Miami from nearby Atlanta the group had spent more than a dozen hours in airports and airplanes.
"Our flight was super delayed from London," Bravery singer Sam Endicott said. "There was a minute where we though it was only going to cancel."
And it wasn't much better once the band made it on a flight. "It was one of the hardest landings I've ever had," Endicott said.
Lil Scrappy was on a different flight, but had a similar experience. "Fifteen minutes before we was to land, the plane just dropped out of the blue," he said. "There was all kinds of turbulence. When we hit the ground I started praying instantly."
Fall Out Boy bassist Peter Wentz was saying his prayers before his flight out of Chicago took off.
"Honestly, I'm scared to death of flying, and I was supposed to fly out on Thursday and all the flights got canceled," he recalled. "So then on Friday I was gonna fly out and we got up in the air and the captain comes on right at the beginning when it's really shaky and says, 'This is about as smooth as we're gonna get today, so I think I'm gonna keep the seatbelt sign on.' "
Fall Out Boy's singer, Patrick Stump, had about as much fun. "My plane was on the runway and they're like, 'Folks, don't get too comfortable, this flight's been canceled,' " he said. "Not delayed, canceled!"
Others were more prepared and rescheduled their flights for earlier (video director Dave Meyers) or later (Paris Hilton). "I was supposed to leave Friday, but we can kind of had a feeling it was going to be crazy, so we changed it up," Alicia Keys said.
Green Day happened to be in Miami this week on tour and therefore missed all the travel woes. "We sat and watched the whole thing as all hell broke loose," frontman Billie Joe Armstrong said.
"It was pretty intense," bassist Mike Dirnt added. "I don't suggest it any time soon."
Several others were also in Miami early for a different reason — they live there.
"It was only a Category 1 [hurricane], even though it came in like a Category 2," Miami native Pitbull said. "All we had was the power off. Thank God it was, as we say, a blow over. A bunch have been coming through here, so you get used to it."
"My lights went out for the first time, so I'm experiencing no light," added "Lean Back" producer Cool of Cool and Dre. "It's all good though; this is what we do."
For Fat Joe, who has called South Beach home for a few years, it was only his second hurricane — and he was hardly as nonchalant about it as his fellow Miamians.
"It was really scary," he said. "Coming from the Bronx, we have snowstorms, but we've never seen hurricanes. Whenever you hear those walls humming, it feels like a motorcycle inside the house. I've got the impact-proof windows. Thank God they work!"
[This story was orignally published at 11:48 am ET on 08.27.2005]