Encroaching Corporate Eyesore Sues Austin Music Venue For Being 'Too Loud'!

Austin's legendarily home grown music scene (left) again forced to defend itself
against corporate interests of The Westin in Downtown Austin).
Just as we music types were finally able to breathe a sigh of relief on behalf of the fine folks at the Double Door, who refused to back down against a hostile landlord and were ultimately not evicted from the only location the venue has ever known, PR guru and former Chicagoan Cary Baker recently hipped us to a developing story in Austin, Texas that we felt we must share

According to press accounts (see end of this article for, The Westin in Downtown Austin, a faceless glass & metal monstrosity erected at its current location in 2015 for the express purpose of exploiting SXSW and the city's legendary music district, has filed suit against one of those venues for playing loud music until 2AM.

The venue in question, The Nook Amphitheatre, counters that they have broken no curfew or noise ordinances and are carefully monitoring sound levels in a valiant attempt to keep all neighbors happy. To their credit, the hotel has spent $2 million in soundproofing of those rooms closest to the music venues, but complaints of "chest-thumping bass" persist.

An architectural rendering of the then-planned Westin location in downtown
Austin, See any music venues? Neither do we.
Upon reading this story, my first response was to dash off an email to the management at The Westin In Downtown Austin to voice my displeasure in their handling of this situation. The correct response to such complaints would be the same as that of a guest at  front desk clerk would respond to someone complaining of all the noise from the casino.

"Honey, do you know what city you're in?"

But, as well know, the Westin in Downtown Austin would never do that because, from Day 1, they have viewed the city's ma-and-pa live music district as an annoyance that can be dealt with deep pockets.

While Chicago has seen its skyline change drastically over the past twenty years or so, Austin has experienced recent meteoric growth the likes of which few cities have ever seen. 

That growth has been all but matched, if not spearheaded, by the transition of SXSW from an intimate indie music festival into a global gathering of hipsters that threatens at any moment to become "too big" or "too corporate" and, in doing so, simply becomes "too expensive" compared to other vibrant locales where the indie vibe hasn't been smothered by an outbreak of upscale shopping experiences.

The art community of Austin, much like our own here in Chicago, seems to always be one lawsuit away from losing its musical soul and, thus far, common sense and rightful public outcry have helped preserve that soul, but it's only a matter of time before some other corporate interest here for the sole purpose of exploiting our musical soul for fun & profit forgets why they're here in the first place and, in doing so, forces the art community into yet another fight for their livelihood.

At what point does it end?

"Hey honey, pack up the kids, we're flying to Austin. They just bulldozed the entire downtown music district and put up a new upscale retail experience that looks exactly like the one we visited in Rancho Cucamonga with your mom last year."

Yeah, good luck with that.

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