Watch: Rally for Red River protesters gather at Cheer Up Charlie’s

Of the 1900 people who RSVP’d to the Facebook event for the Rally for Red River only about 50 showed up. But the group that gathered were passionate supporters of Cheer Up Charlie’s and the Mohawk, two successful clubs who are caught up in conflicts related to hotel development in the Red River Cultural District. The protest occurred on the same day Holy Mountain, another popular Red River District club announced plans to shutter after an untenable rent increase, and the confluence of events added a sense of urgency.

The protesters chanted and raised signs to passing motorists, but prodded by a TV reporter, the event broke down into a thoughtful discussion. One woman announced she was an environmentalist and she came to the club because she felt compelled to protect the natural limestone wall that forms the western wall of Cheer Up Charlie’s. (The rock wall might be threatened by construction in a neighboring parking lot.) But the vast majority of the group who gathered were musicians, music industry workers and music fans, and they openly expressed concerns that Austin’s rapid rate of development threatens the music scene the city uses to define itself as the Live Music Capital of the World.

Owners of Cheer Up Charlie’s and the Mohawk are scheduled to meet with city officials and representatives from the Hyatt tomorrow at City Hall.

Protesters gather with musicians on Thursday, June 25, 2015 in front of Cheer Up Charlies music venue on Red River in Downtown Austin. (Ricardo B. Brazziell/American-Statesman)
Protesters gather with musicians on Thursday, June 25, 2015 in front of Cheer Up Charlies music venue on Red River in Downtown Austin. (Ricardo B. Brazziell/American-Statesman)

Author: Deborah Sengupta Stith

Deborah Sengupta Stith has been hanging out in dimly lit corners of the city soaking in the music scene for almost 20 years. Twitter: @deborific

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