Editor’s note: “Guitar Steve,” a local musician mentioned in this column, wished to not use his full legal name for reference in this opinions column.
A brief walk around campus will expose observers to the evidence of music’s symbiotic relationship with society. Students pass with a set of buds wedged into their ears as they silently jam out to their favorite tunes. However, Billie and Posty might be inadequate replacements for MP3’s neglected relative: live local music.
Music therapy has shown great success, especially in the realm of anxiety and depression. It is no wonder why creating a microcosm would hush the tumultuous mind of an active college student.
With the emergence of portable and digitalized music, an era has surfaced where individuals stumble around lost in their own private concerts, highlighting the relevance of the expression “alone in a crowd.” Looking back at music’s origin, its ancient relevance resided in the ability to unite cultures through religion and rituals. Individuals suffer deprivation of desired social interaction when they continuously withdraw themselves to enjoy music in solitude.
Located just thirty miles south of Austin, San Marcos has no shortage of the traditional rapport music was founded on. A fresh influx of Austin style can be seen throughout town in nearly all the local bars and coffee shops.
Hardly a night can be found—even during the school week—where a few bucks won’t find someone bobbing their head to some rustic acoustic guitarist or a jazzy-pop electric band so close audiences can see the beads of sweat running down their cheeks. Students should feel encouraged to burst forth from their private sphere and feel the medicinal magic of music through their feet instead of just their ears.
What are people doing to exploit the extraordinary reservoir of music right up the road? Not enough. Rumors have seeped around town regarding the closure of yet another popular music venue: The Buzzmill. Advocates of the San Marcos music scene might have met Guitar Steve, a regular attendee of Buzzmill’s weekly Monday open mic night.
Having resided in San Marcos for over ten years, Steve recalled at last week’s open mic myriad coffee shops and local bars keen to the music crowd have closed their doors over the years. Oftentimes, these locations will close only to be reopened under new management, aesthetic and name, losing everything that made it unique in the process.
An example of this is Kiva—one of San Marcos’ liveliest music venues—which has had a line of former identities, including its time as Taxi’s Piano Bar. Perhaps the most grieved ghost in the graveyard of the city’s music forums was Triple Crown. This timeless hub featured a wide variety of music every night of the week, embodying the true spirit of music by appealing to foot-tappers of every sort. The crowd-favorite was lost in the ruin that made way for The Local apartment complex.
The growing population of San Marcos runs a risk of losing one of its most uniquely charming facets: its music scene. If local venues could embody the diverse demographic of San Marcos’ student and civilian population through performers they host, businesses could possibly compete with the sundry appeal portable music offers. Similarly, new students should take advantage of the fellowship and refreshingly breathy quality live music offers as opposed to its polished, shallow alternative.
-Elizabeth Harper is wildlife biology sophomore