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Cactus Cafe Celebrates 35 Years

KUT
Dale Watson performing with his band at the Cactus Cafe in 2011

A legendary Austin music venue, the Cactus Café, celebrated its 35th anniversary this year. For the past few years, the Cactus has been operated by KUT. But the famous listening room at the University of Texas at Austin got its start in February 1979.

In the beginning, the venue mostly hosted student bands playing a lot of cover songs. But over the years, the Cactus Café became known as a place where you could hear some of the biggest names in Texas music such as Townes van Zandt, Guy Clark and Jimmie Dale Gilmore.

"It became sort of the premier place for the singer-songwriter," Gilmore says. 

But everyone I spoke to for this story says the Cactus was only able to gain its status because of the die-hard Texas music fan who started booking bands there in the 1980s: Griff Luneburg.

Listen to the full story here: 

Nathan Bernier is the transportation reporter at KUT. He covers the big projects that are reshaping how we get around Austin, like the I-35 overhaul, the airport's rapid growth and the multibillion dollar transit expansion Project Connect. He also focuses on the daily changes that affect how we walk, bike and drive around the city. Got a tip? Email him at nbernier@kut.org. Follow him on Twitter @KUTnathan.
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