Austin tests a later Red River District curfew

As the Live Music Capital of the World, Austin’s night life is heavily centered around loud performances and late nights. The city is full of notable music venues, but the Red River District seems to trump them all – and has been jamming out with live shows every night for years.

The district’s perfect mix of music, art and grunge serves as a crucial component to Austin’s culture, and the city has decided to extend these good vibes well into the night with a curfew extension for live outdoor shows.

Starting this May, and continuing until November, the Red River District will be able to play live music until midnight on Thursdays, and until 1 a.m. on weekends. For bar owners in the district and the musicians themselves, this curfew extension may be the monetary boost they’ve been looking for; but for surrounding residents and hotel owners, the concert noise could pose a problem.

So, can we predict how these six months of later-night jamming will impact the city? Let’s discuss.

Curfew extension will increase revenues

Peak sale hours at bars are 10 p.m. – 2 a.m., so we can naturally predict an increase of revenue from alcohol at these large outdoor venues if the doors stay open later and the music lasts longer.

Cody Cowan, owner of the Mohawk in the Red River District, explains that “this extension will not only increase opportunities for musicians, it will ultimately help address rising costs in an industry that has flat growth in revenue & double-rents in March.”

It’s safe to say that bar owners and musicians are thrilled about the curfew extension, but what about the others?

Residents and hotel guests may dislike the late-night noise

For most of the music-loving surrounding residents, this is wonderful! A free concert from your balcony every night? Yes please. However, many visitors on corporate trips during the week staying at surrounding hotels think of this noise as a nuisance rather than a treat.

It’s no secret that Nook Amphitheater and The Westin are in the midst of a contentious lawsuit concerning noise violations during the previous curfew. With extended performance hours, will lawsuits like this begin to spring up all over the city?

According to an article from The Statesman, Sunni Dupree, manager at Hotel Indigo says “We still have an exorbitant amount of guest complaints (with music) going until midnight. To expand that to 1:30 would impact my business tremendously.”

We hope that the two industries will be able to compromise for the sake of the city’s peace, but this is hard to ensure.

Overall, the curfew extension has its pros and cons for different groups among Austin. While we don’t know exactly how it will pan out and if the test-period will remain permanent, the only thing we can do is wait and see (and enjoy the extra couple hours of jamming).


(Photo Courtesy of Texas Monthly)