A sad note

Downtown Austin music venue permanently closes due to COVID-19 shutdown

Downtown Austin music venue closes due to COVID-19 shutdown

Barracuda Club Austin
Barracuda will not reopen.  Barracuda Austin/Facebook

Barracuda has gone belly up. The Red River music venue announced via social media that it is closing its doors after five years. 

"The time has come for Barracuda Club to bid adieu. From the incredible artists to our amazing staff, we thank you for making us part of your lives for that last 5 years," the statement reads.

It goes on to invite fans to share a memory using the hashtag #barrys4ever and purchase remaining merch, the proceeds of which will go to the Austin Justice Coalition. 

In an interview with the Austin Chronicle, Barracuda's senior talent buyer Dan Holloway blamed rising rents and the COVID-19 pandemic as the reason for the shutter. As the Chronicle points out, the one-two punch of SXSW's cancellation and the shutdown was too much for the venue. 

History, it seems, is repeating itself on that stretch of East Seventh and Red River streets. Over the past decade, that small stretch of a block has seen near-constant turnover, with Beauty Bar, Holy Mountain, Red 7, and Red Eye Fly among the music clubs who have closed their doors. (Barracuda took over the former Red 7 space in 2015 after its owners were unable to reach an agreement with its landlords.)

The loss of SXSW, and its $355 million boon to the local economy, coupled with the uncertainty around when patrons will feel comfortable attending a live music show has left venues across the Live Music Capital of the World facing a dire future. In late May, the Austin City Council approved two resolutions asking the city manager to explore creation of a program that, among other things, could potentially buy private venues or make city-owned buildings available for live music and other creative purposes.

City Manager Spencer Cronk was supposed to deliver his initial findings during the city council's June 11 meeting, though it does not appear on tomorrow's agenda.