Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

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October 4, 2022

From store to stage, Friendly Rio Market’s double life

Alex Luevano
The Friendly Rio Market on 29th and Guadalupe on August 28, 2023.

Walking into the Friendly Rio Market at the intersection of 29th and Rio Grande on a Friday night, the store will likely be at full capacity with a line extending out the door. Patrons gather not only to grab some brews, but also for a night of rousing music.  

 The Friendly Rio Market, located right between North and West campus, began doubling as a music venue on weekend nights in 2019. By transforming the corner store into a stage for upcoming bands and welcoming audiences of all ages, the Rio Market carved a groove as a venue, corner store and communal gathering spot for listeners and artists alike vying to engage with the Austin music scene. 

While Rio Market didn’t originate the idea of turning their space into a non-traditional music venue, they took the idea to a new level by booking weekly acts. William Wommack, an economics senior and avid follower of Austin’s live music scene, said since discovering Rio Market on a stroll last summer, he attends their concerts almost every Friday as a pregame for the rest of the night.

“(Rio Market) throw(s) a show 7 to 10 every Friday, so it’s become part of my routine,” Wommack said. “Since it’s early (in the night), it’s a good warm-up.”

The small and confined store draws crowds that easily fill up the aisles, according to Jaelyn Valero, drummer for local band Farmer’s Wife. The first time her band played the Market, the store hit capacity.

“(There was) a line out the door because they can only fit so many people in the store,” Valero said. “Not everyone could actually get in to watch us, which was kind of crazy.”

Valero said the accessibility for all demographics makes for one of the Market’s greatest appeals. She said it provides an opportunity for people to experience live music who might not otherwise attend a performance at a traditional venue. She attributes this partly to the laid-back environment the venue creates. 

“(People of) all ages are going to that show… even older family members who maybe wouldn’t want to go out to a bar or club… and that’s why they never see live shows,” Valero said. “This is a perfect opportunity for them to see live music in a completely different and less intimidating atmosphere.”

To get a gig at Friendly Rio Market, artists should plan ahead. Molly Masson, an acting senior and Farmer’s Wife singer, said for their band, they had to schedule a show months in advance.

“You DM Rio Venue on Instagram, and you say, ‘Hey, I want to play there soon,’ and then (the event organizer) says, ‘Well actually, we’re booked months out,’” Masson said.

Jude Hill, Farmer’s Wife guitarist, said the Friendly Rio Market stands out as a venue not only due to its abnormal location but because of the uniquely playful environment it creates. Hill said the Friendly Rio Market solidified a spot for audiences and upcoming artists in the Austin music scene. 

 “It’s really lighthearted and fun,” Hill said. “That gives it its own identity”

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About the Contributor
Alex Luevano, Associate Photo Editor
Alex is a four year RTF major from San Antonio, TX. He is currently an Associate Photo Editor at the Texan.