The Cactus Café is one of the great acoustic music traditions in Austin. Situated in the heart of University of Texas campus, this intimate live music venue has acquired national recognition by showcasing top acoustic acts. Performing at the Cactus has become a right of passage for many great singers and songwriters, such as Lyle Lovett, Robert Earl Keen, and Alison Krauss, to name a few. Billboard magazine listed the Cactus as one of fifteen “solidly respected, savvy clubs” nationwide “from which careers can be cut, that work with proven names and new faces.”
Despite the value the Cactus offers to the Live Music Capital, with a mandate by Governor Rick Perry instructing all state agencies to cut five percent of their over all budgets, William Powers, University of Texas president, supports the decision to close the 31 year old institution.
On Febrary 2, 2010, supporters of the Cactus Café attended a town hall meeting at the Avaya Auditorium to voice their opinions to the president that the Cactus is worth saving. The venue was compared in importance to that of Barton Springs, and that the closing of the Cactus would be an irrevocable tragedy.
While it is “far from a done deal”, President Powers did note that leaders of the University of Texas alumni group, Texas Exes, have suggested that in lieu of closing the Cactus’ doors indefinitely, that the Cactus could be transplanted to the alumni center, just a few blocks east of the Cactus’ current location. The alumni center currently has plans for a major expansion next year, which could include a new home for the Cactus Café.
Additionally, the alumni center already has a liquor license, which would make it an easy transition, and could possibly begin hosting performers at the new location as early as fall of 2011. While this may help save the Cactus, it still does not solve the problem of the cancellation of the UT Informational Classes, also part of what is to be cut under Gov. Perry’s mandatory five percent budget cut.
For more information on the Cactus Café and how you can get involved with helping to save it, visit the Facebook website at www.facebook.com/SaveTheCactusCafe.