Major New Live Music Venue Coming to 6ixth Street

Major New Live Music Venue Coming to 6ixth Street

In case you missed the news this past week, there is a significant new music venue slated to open New Year’s Eve on East 6th Street.  Here’s a link to the Austin360 story by Michael Corcoran. 

It’s called “The Stage” and is operated by a family out of Nashville with solid experience in producing quality live music venues there where they have four: The Stage on Broadway, Legends Corner, The Second Fiddle and Nashville Crossroads.

The Sanderson’s have been in Austin quite a bit over the past year checking out the scene and trying to find a fresh angle to success in our highly competitive market.  They finally settled on 508 E. 6th, the largest single-space building for something like this on the street and former home to Bourbon Rocks and Fat Tuesday.  (Maggie Mae’s is larger in overall square footage but it is chopped up into essentially four separate spaces on two levels.)

Longtime building owner Terry Boothe, who owns several properties on East 6th, had loads of offers from the typical fare of 25-cent-jello-shot bar operators.  But he held tight for over two years without a tenant in order to bring a quality live music operator back to 6ixth and thus help the District’s quest to upgrade the quality of visitor experiences to be found there.  The Downtown Austin Alliance (DAA) and 6ixth Street Austin property/business owners association assisted in landing this deal.

Live music is supposed to be presented on pretty much the same schedule as the Nashville clubs: starting as early as 2:00 in the afternoon on Mondays-Thursdays and at 11:00am on Friday-Sunday.  That should provide a welcome flow of new work for Austin’s large and talented musician community. The Stage will reportedly also serve food too.

My only caveat is that I hope The Stage will program live music with distinctly Austin and Texas-centric flavor, not a heavy Nashville bent. If you take a look at the websites for the Nashville clubs, the offerings seem a tad “formulaic” — pretty much the same stuff done under four different names, not unlike the tight-jeans-and-cowboy-hat processed “country” music that Nashville itself often cranks out.  I hope the Sanderson’s and manager, Brandon Reineke, challenge themselves further in what they do in Austin.

While country is certainly one of our basic music food groups down here, the great country-flavored sounds coming out of Texas span so much greater breadth…quickly flowing into country rock, roots rock, folk, bluegrass, swing and so much more.  Even Willie regularly crosses into jazz and blues in his sets regardless of what type of club or festival he is playing.

Would you label Robert Earl Keen, Joe Ely, Jimmy Lafave, Ray Benson, Carolyn Wonderland, Marcia Ball as “country”?  Hardly.  Yet these are the sorts of all-star Austin acts that I hope will be regularly presented as headliners on the stage at The Stage — for a decent ticket price and full-priced drinks — to provide visitors to The Live Music Capital with a truly memorable show to savor when they head home.

However it shakes out, The Stage is clearly a welcome addition to the music offerings Downtown and on East 6th.  As a business owner just a few blocks west of the new venue I can attest that the area is streaming with people all day long these days, 7 days a week, looking for things to do and seeking that globally heralded Austin vibe and live music reputation.  Between the Convention Center, all the great Downtown hotels, and  our many new urban residents, business has never been better.

Now…if only we can lure Antone’s back to East 6th where that legendary venue began, then we’d really have some live music anchor tenants to brag about again!  Gotta work on that some more.  🙂

avatar About Fred Schmidt

Fred Schmidt is co-owner, with wife and business partner, Shelley Meyer, of longtime Downtown Austin retail stores Wild About Music Art & Gift Gallery (26 years) on Congress Ave, and Toy Joy (29 years) and Austin Rocks (5 years) in the 2nd Street District. Concurrently he is also Director of International Affairs at Capital Factory, Austin’s premier incubator/accelerator facility for startups, already located in the proposed new Innovation District in the northeast quadrant of Downtown. He has served as a past board member of the Downtown Austin Alliance (DAA), the Downtown Austin Neighborhood Association (DANA), and 6ixth Street Austin. He thinks this is one of the best places in the world to live, work and play! Disclaimer: The views expressed herein are solely those of the author and do not reflect the positions of any affiliated organizations.


  1. I’m not a big fan of country music, but i understand the difference between Nashville based country and the Austin’s “sound”. Good point that they should make a real effort to keep it local.

  2. While I think it is great that there is a new venue going in on E 6th to provide a lot of good work for lots of musicians I really do hope that those opening and running this place aren’t going to bring their Nashville country with them. I very much enjoy country music, but Austin has a flavor of its own, and like you said, it would be great to see a place featuring a more Austin country on E. 6th. A Broken spoke on 6th if you will would truly rock!

  3. avatar Lance Hunter says:

    Random story related to that site — I remember back during relay weekend of 2001, that venue was throwing a hip hop show and was so overcrowded, the fire marshals couldn’t even get in the door to do a head-count. They shut it down for the night, and the huge crowd of people streaming out ended up panicking and starting a stampede on the already overcrowded street when someone further down fired a gun in the air. (I was working as a bouncer on 6th at the time, and my car was parked right across the street from the venue. When I finally got to it and headed home for the night, there were footprints all over my hood from people running over it.)

    Anyways, a live music venue, especially one with a country flavor, does make a lot of sense down there. I remember being asked by tourists on 6th where they could go to hear some good country music (since they were in Texas and all) and not really having a good answer for them that didn’t involve getting in a taxi and heading to another part of town.

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