Cruise far enough south down Interstate 35 and you’ll wind up deep in the heart of Texas. Before you know it, you’ll be right smack in the middle of a phenomenon known as Austin, Texas. The city, just recently enjoying a population boom over the last few years, has lived up to its comparison by many as the new Hollywood. That is all thanks to the rich, distinct culture the city offers that spread like fire and built its reputation. Austin has always been a college town, but it saw a rise in popularity due to the fame of Sixth Street bars, unique and strange food chains, and most of all, music.
Austin is a proud host to enormous annual music festivals, such as South by Southwest, Austin City Limits, and Fun Fun Fun Fest, which inevitably packs the streets with out-of-towners, celebrities, and commercial appeal that may have visitors mistaking the scene for Manhattan. A downtown venue that, perhaps, has received the most commercial success and national recognition is Emo’s, reputed as a quality multiple stage musicians’ playground. It opened in Austin in 1992 after a Houston location was founded a few years earlier and is conveniently located off the interstate, right up to the corner of Sixth Street and Red River. Well, that’s where it’s located now, and come Christmas this year, the original Emo’s location will be no more after nearly 20 years of operation.
In late September, the venue’s renowned outdoor stage officially shut down, leaving open only the indoor section of the club. Just days later, the owner of Emo’s announced that the property had been sold to Sixth Red River LC for an undisclosed price.
“We were going the way of CBGB’s,” said Frank Hendrix, Owner of Emo’s, in a Billboard.biz report on the venue’s sale. “When Moody Theatre moved downtown, it raised the bar for everybody.”
Outdoor Stage Goes Away – Indoor Remains
Though the last band has performed on the outdoor stage, Emo’s isn’t dead quite yet. Hendrix confirmed that shows, and many in coming months, would still go on at the indoor room. The final show is scheduled for Christmas Eve and will supposedly feature a slew of acts that have played the venue within the last fifteen years. Even after the original location officially closes, Emo’s will still continue its franchise, as a 1,700 capacity sister venue called Emo’s East is already operating, although it offers less of the streetwise grit that the original Emo’s delivered in both of its two rooms. By the start of next year, Hendrix plans to open another small venue within walking distance of the old location, which would be called “Emo’s”. Moreover, while rumors have circulated of the newly purchased space that the original club lays on mutating into a hotel, Sixth Red River LC envisions leasing the spot to another music venue to keep the downtown culture running, according to Dave Morrison of Austin Premium Property Management Co. in a Statesman.com story.
“They’re very sensitive to the Austin music scene,” he said of Sixth Red River LC. “It’s been a cool place for a lot of people and a big part of the music scene. We think it will be a chance to do something even better there.”