Cactus Cafe

2247 Guadalupe Street
Austin, TX 78712
(512) 475-6515
Hours: Show Times Vary
Established: 1979

Written by: Dan Murray

The Cactus Café is engrained in the community as an acoustic music venue that has showcased bands for nearly 25 years on the UT campus. National and international stars have sought the intimacy of this little room. The list of Texans that have performed there alone is impressive: Townes Van Zandt, Guy Clark, Lyle Lovett, Joe Ely, Jimmie Dale Gilmore, Butch Hancock, Nancy Griffith, and Robert Earl Keen.

Still, Austin almost lost the Cactus. UT announced budget cuts in 2010 that would’ve closed it down, but musicians, students and townsfolk howled. A partnership forged between the Texas Union and KUT, the University’s National Public Radio station, which saved the venue: the Texas Union runs the bar, while the KUT schedules the music, a responsibility that it has taken to heart. The radio station spent $100,000 upgrading the Cactus’ sound system, and KUT promotes, records, and broadcasts the shows.

“The old system was on its last legs, and the idea was to integrate a new system that would be compatible with KUT’s new broadcast facility,” says Cactus’ manager Matt Muñoz, a veteran music promoter. “The new sound system has made great strides in keeping the sound integrity of the room, while bringing it into the updated world of digital sound. The new arrangement works.”

“The venue fits into KUT’s community as well as University goals to maintain a relationship with the Austin music community and KUT listeners.” – Matt Muñoz