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Today’s Musing: Cactus Cafe to Close

January 31, 2010

Yesterday, the University of Texas announced that in August, they are closing the famous on-campus music venue, the Cactus Cafe.  It comes as a shock to many, and as a University student and a lover of music with a fondness for our fair city, I’m also saddened to hear this news.  The Cactus Cafe is not only a bona-fide institution which has launched the careers of some of the greatest American singer-songwriters like Lyle Lovett, Shawn Colvin, Suzanne Vega, Patty Griffin, and Townes Van Zandt, but the Cafe also sets UT apart from other universities, situating it firmly in the Live Music Capital of the World.  Other universities have music venues, but the Cafe is distinctly “Austin;” recognized and respected on a national scale for its dedication to great, upcoming quality music and musicians.

Among a city plentiful in places to watch live music, there aren’t many left with the intimacy, history, and unique quality of the Cafe.  It’s easy to sense the rich music history of the Cafe even just hanging outside its doors during the day, studying and staring at the multitude of signed concert posters that line the wood-paneled walls.  Unfortunately, it’s all but certain that the Cafe will close its doors in August, and that means losing another little piece of local flavor to the myriad corporate chain fast food joints and coffee places inside the beautiful Texas Union.  It’s not inappropriate to add at this point that UT is also losing the ACL studio once it moves downtown to the W hotel next year.  With the loss of both of these revered music venues, UT will be missing a significant piece of what has historically made the University of Texas at Austin so interesting.

(On a side note, I’m also disappointed that Informal Classes are going to end.  I’ve been a major supporter of Informal Classes, constantly recommending them and taking several myself.  I hope ACC is paying attention and picks up a bit of that slack.)

One Comment leave one →
  1. seanningham permalink*
    January 31, 2010 2:19 pm

    The really sad thing is that there really isn’t much that can be done to save the Cactus Cafe. When it comes down to dollars and cents, there’s not much else to say. It’s just sad to see things go, and to see a more homogenized and less unique Austin take shape.

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