Live music soon

A sign hangs above the music stage at CRAFThouse in San Marcos, Thursday, Sept. 24, 2020, and reads "Live music soon COVID go away!" CRAFThouse intends to bring music back but is currently waiting on what the next few months will bring.

Back in February, downtown San Marcos nightlife was booming. Bar crawlers and live music fanatics swarmed the streets of The Square while bars, coffee shops and venues filled downtown with sounds of music, cheering and laughter.

Live music used to be something people could not get away from. Concerts could be heard outside of The Marc, local musicians would play on corners of The Square and live bands inside bars would echo melodies onto the sidewalks.

Now, the music scene no longer thrives like it once did.

“Eventually we probably will bring it back just because we loved having live music,” said Malarie Crabill, The Coffee Bar general manager. “We loved it being local musicians coming in; it really felt like a community thing, bringing everyone together.”

The Coffee Bar was just one of the many businesses on The Square that offered live music. The small coffee shop would have live shows every Friday and Saturday night, playing anything from hip-hop to country. 

Now, Crabill says The Coffee Bar won’t have anything planned until at least summer 2021.

“Our approach to the whole situation has been much more from a cautious standpoint,” Crabill said. “We’re just trying to figure out what this time means for us before we try to incorporate anything else again.”

Downtown businesses will now hope for a drastic decline of COVID-19 cases and approval from Gov. Greg Abbott for a return to a regular night scene.

“Everything feels different right now,” said K.J. Clinkingbeard, CRAFThouse General Manager. “But as far as business, it doesn’t.”

CRAFThouse, a gastropub located in downtown San Marcos, used to feature live music, hosting local bands and karaoke nights.

“We just haven’t brought it back yet, only because we don’t need it," Clinkingbeard said. “We’re busy enough where we don’t absolutely need it.”

CRAFThouse intends to bring the music back. Clinkingbeard says it is just waiting on what the next few months will bring, what the general public feels comfortable with and Abbott's plans.

Some local businesses do not think they will see the "old San Marcos” fully back up and running until 2021. 

The Marc, a night club and music venue located on The Square, says it must move on from its usual business until restrictions are lifted. 

“When we reopened, we could only open as a bar with 25% capacity," said George Garcia, The Marc's General Manager. "We had no permission to have a live stage artist, and we still can’t. It’s changed our whole business model.”

With serving as a music venue no longer an option, The Marc acquired a food permit so it can function as a bar that sells both food and drinks. 

“We still kind of were a bar on the times that we didn't have music events or concerts, so we were kind of used to it,” Garcia said. “But we’re just getting used to the idea of operating as just a bar or a club.”

With no timeline as to when the state will lift restrictions, the music scene continues to fall through the cracks of downtown San Marcos.

"I feel like there's something missing without the music," said Bobbi Jo Bishaw, a criminal justice sophomore who spent time on The Square. "Live music is so personal and brings you more of a lighter feeling. The Square definitely doesn't feel the same without it."

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