Emo’s Austin to close outside stage

Nick Hadjigeorge

The corner of Sixth Street and Red River will be less loud and lively due to the upcoming closure of the outside stage of well-known music venue Emo’s.

Emo’s manager Mike Staples said the changing landscape of downtown Austin is responsible for Emo’s gradual transition to a newer and more equipped venues in East Austin.

“Our venue is not going in the direction that downtown wants,” Staples said.

To continue the wild and free character Emo’s has been famous for since 1992, the owners have recently opened a new venue called Emo’s East on East Riverside Drive, Staples said.

“It’s a state of the art venue with capacity for 1,700 people,” Staples said. “There is a nice patio, lots of parking space and indoor air-conditioning.”

Staples said he is sad to see the removal of the outdoor stage because many famous acts have played there and contributed to Austin’s title of “Live Music Capital of the World.”

“Everyone from Johnny Cash, Wu-Tang Clan, The Melvins, Damian Marley and so many more have played there,” Staples said. “It’s a legendary stage. Everyone will miss it.”

Bartender Randy Conrad said he wasn’t happy about the closure of the outside stage and said there isn’t much time left before it is finally gone.

“We have to move everything out of there by Friday,” Conrad said. “It’s sad to see this go, but we are moving on to bigger and better things.”

Conrad said the entire Emo’s downtown venue will eventually transition into a new small-sized venue in East Austin.

“The inside stage will be here through the next South By Southwest and then we will be looking for another space to open a smaller venue alongside the new Emo’s East that opened recently,” Conrad said.

The employees of Emo’s weren’t exactly sure who purchased the space or what will replace it.

Emo’s sound engineer Brian Bash said that Emo’s doesn’t feel the same with one of it’s major stages preparing to shut down. He also said he was honored to see Toronto punk band Death from Above 1979 play the last show to take place on the outdoor stage.

“It’s a little eerie,” Bash said as he was organizing the cables and effects pedals for that night’s performers. “It’s been around for so long and now it’s all cleaned-out.”

Radio-television-film and government senior Cameron Jones said he knew how famous Emo’s was before he moved to Austin and that it’s sad to see a symbol of Austin’s music scene removed.

“Emo’s is a fixture of Austin,” Jones said. “If the city wants to still be seen as the Live Music Capital of the World, then it’s inconsistent to pressure Emo’s to change what they do.”

Printed on September 20, 2011 as: Downtown loses historic punk venue Emo's