Cactus Cafe To Partner With KUT

The Texas Union building

Nearly four months after UT made a controversial decision to close the Cactus Cafe, administrators have announced a partnership with KUT, the University’s public radio station, to continue running the beloved music venue.

Beginning in August, a full-time manager appointed by KUT will oversee the cafe’s operation and develop programming and a sustainable business model.

Among other things, the University had cited budget cuts as a reason for shutting down the storied music venue.

Vice President of Student Affairs Juan González made the announcement this afternoon thanking everyone who shared their opinion and ideas on the future of the Cactus Cafe. 

“I truly believe that this plan is in the best interest of our students, the community, and the viability of the Cactus Cafe,” he said.

González stressed three features of the partnership:

1. The Cactus Cafe will continue its year-round programming, live music performances and daily bar operations under the KUT-Texas Union partnership. KUT will contact artists, students, Cactus management and community members for input on its plan. KUT has set up an e-mail address,, where people can express their ideas.

2. The partnership has strong student support and has benefited from student and community input. A majority of Student Government leaders and the Texas Union Board of Directors are advocates of the partnership, which will provide student-learning opportunities through internship and work-study programs. The plan does not call for continuing a subsidy from students’ tuition.

3. KUT will share the Cactus Cafe experience with broader national and global audiences through broadcast programs and online features. KUT will use its content production, fundraising, business management and event promotion capability to make the Cactus Cafe sustainable.

Possible enhancements KUT could offer included live broadcasts, sponsorship opportunities, advance ticket reservation, use of credit cards, and downloadable podcasts.

“KUT is honored by the opportunity to carry on the great tradition of the Cactus Cafe,” said Stewart Vanderwilt, director and general manager of KUT Radio. “We believe the Cactus Cafe plays an essential role in the Austin music experience and are committed to preserving and sharing that experience with the UT campus and beyond.”

For more on the decision, see the University’s official release here.



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