Austin: Red River music venues face '11th hour' endangerment
A key piece of Austin’s live music scene is at a crisis point and at risk of disappearing in the coming years if dramatic action isn’t taken soon. Those are the findings included in a nearly complete report by the Urban Land Institute following its study of the economic viability of the city’s Red River Cultural District.
The report, titled “Red River Cultural District: Live Music Preservation,” was obtained by the Austin Monitor ahead of its mid-May completion date, though city officials confirmed the nature of its findings and recommendations. The so-called “technical assistance panel” gathered data and conducted interviews with music venue owners and other stakeholders in the 13 music venues clustered on Red River Street between Sixth and 12th streets in late 2016.
Painting a picture of the development pressures, safety concerns and thin profit margins facing club owners, the study’s conclusions say, “Austin is in the effective ‘11th hour’ of the endangerment of the live music scene, and taking no action in the near term and failing to sustain action over the long haul are not acceptable options.”
Calling live music venues – specifically those in the Red River Cultural District – “a vital part of Austin’s identity,” the document lists a series of short-, mid- and long-term recommendations for public officials and the business community to undertake to preserve clubs such as Mohawk, Beerland, Cheer Up Charlies and others that incubate local acts most nights.