Texas live music venues opened before 1980 | Texas Music History Tour

The Texas Music History Tour currently includes:
Texas Music Pioneers | Texas Music Libraries and Archives | Historic Texas Music Venues | Historic Texas Venues Now Closed

The Texas Music History Tour includes this guide to Texas' older live music venues. Experiencing in present-day locations Texas' rich musical past is a joy unbounded.

For the 130 venues below, the TMO lists: contact information, year established, venue and historical website links, a brief description and any annual events held.

To suggest additional venues or to add to the information below, please send us a message.

For a list of all music venues in Texas, please see our section Live Music Venues

Some of the information found below is from the Handbook of Texas Music published August 2003 by the Texas State Historical Association.

The Texas Music Office would like to thank the Texas Historical Commission and Geronimo Treviño III, author of Dance Halls and Last Calls: A History of Texas Country Music for assistance in providing this information.

To view a slideshow of Central Texas dancehalls documented by the Austin American-Statesman, click here.

NOTE: Please delete the "NOSPAM" that the Texas Music Office has added to the email addresses below before sending an email. We inserted it to deter Web spiders from mining this page.

(sorted by city)

Expo Center of Taylor County
1700 Highway 36, Abilene, TX 79602
(325) 677-4376; Fax (325) 677-0709
Established: 1969
The Coliseum of Taylor County's capacity is 8,000. Current rates are $2,500 per day or 10 percent of gross.
A tremendous amount of time, effort and a 7.9 million-dollar bond improvement package has brought our buildings and equestrian facilities up to date and beyond the expected standards. Designed to accommodate large crowds, our multi-purpose center is capable of handling any event no matter the size. The Coliseum of Taylor County's capacity is 8,000. Current rates are $2,500 per day or 10 percent of gross.

Abilene Civic Center
1100 North Sixth Street, Abilene, TX 79604
(325) 676-6211; (325) 676-6432; Fax (325) 676-6343
Established: 1970
Abilene Civic Center can handle almost any kind of event you can imagine, from Broadway musicals to banquets and exhibits. Our versatility will astound you. Includes the ACC Auditorium (capacity 2,138); the ACC Foyer (9,000 square feet); the ACC Exhibit Hall (20,000 square feet) and the ACC Conference Center (14,000 square feet). Recent performances: Phantom, David Copperfield, Michael Martin Murphey, the West Texas Rehab. Center Telethon, Asleep at the Wheel, Laser Light Show, A Chorus Line, LeAnn Rimes, Ted Nugent, Blackhawk, Bill Engvall, Third Day, George Jones, Gary Morris, STOMP, and the Abilene Philharmonic Orchestra. House sound includes Soundcraft 24-channel soundboard with two monitor sends, seven Electro-Voice monitors, Renkus-Heinz, Electro-Voice and JBL speakers powered by QSC amplifiers. Lighting consists of ETC 192-channel lightboard and dimmer system with 108 available dimmers. Main stage is 60x45 feet. Stage wings are 45x45 feet. Dressing rooms are available backstage. Auditorium day rental is $700.

Paramount Theatre
352 Cypress Street, Abilene, TX 79601
(325) 676-9620; Fax (325) 676-0642
Established: 1930
The Paramount Theatre of Abilene is an historic 1930s movie palace which underwent major restoration in 1986. A Member of the League of Historic American Theatres. Listed in the National Register of Historic Places. The theatre is open every afternoon from 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. and you are invited to take a free self-guided tour. The building is occupied over 200 days a year, seeing an estimated 50,000 people.

Play Faire Park
2300 North Second Street, Abilene, TX 79603
(325) 672-2977
Established: 1947
We are first and foremost, a miniature golf course and family fun center, but we strongly feel that live music only enhances the recreational experience that our Park offers to the public. Play Faire Park's outdoor venue is nestled in a wonderful old neighborhood and it is very important to us to be a good and respectful neighbor. The purpose of the Park is to provide a space to escape and have fun...we know that music is a key component to this and that it can establish the tone and atmosphere. Because of this, we are selective in the types of shows that we host and promote.

Ponderosa Ballroom
3881 Vine Street, Abilene, TX 79602
(325) 698-2102; Fax (325) 673-1166
Established: 1975
Ponderosa Ballroom features live country music on Friday and Saturday.

Amarillo Civic Center and Coliseum
401 South Buchanan, Amarillo, TX 79105
(806) 378-4297; (806) 378-4246; Fax (806) 378-4234
Established: 1968
Amarillo Civic Center & Coliseum has both a 2,434-seat and a 7,800-seat facility. Rates for Center are $600 versus 10 percent of gate admission with a $2,500 cap. Productions include: The Sound of Music, Cats, and Hello Dolly! The Amarillo Coliseum is a 7,800-seat facility. Rates are $1,000 versus 10 percent gate admission. Panhandle Tickets acts as the ticket supplier for the Amarillo Civic Center and the Canyon Event Center. The venues are often booked for conferences, musical performances, arts and crafts shows, graduations and proms. Please contact Dorothy Brown at (806) 378-4297 to have Panhandle Tickets supply tickets for your next event.

The Cattlemen's Club
3803 East Amarillo Blvd., Amarillo, TX 79107
(806) 383-9053
Established: 1940
The Cattlemen's Club is a historical location on old Route 66. We're open everyday, 10 a.m. to 2 a.m. Monday-Saturday and 12 p.m. to 2 a.m. on Sundays. There is no cover.

The Golden Light Cafe and Cantina
2908 West Sixth Street, Amarillo, TX 79106
(806) 374-0097
Established: 1946
The Golden Light Cafe is the oldest restaurant in Amarillo and perhaps the oldest restaurant continuously operating in the same location anywhere on Old Route 66. Golden Light Cantina features live music every weekend as well. Open from 5 p.m. to 2 a.m., cover is usually $5. Top drawing acts include: Macon Grayson, Stoney LaRue, Mickey & the Motorcars, Bo Salling and the Brakes Are All Gone and Lonesome Goat.

Rialto Theater
327 South Commercial Street, Aransas Pass, TX 78336
(361) 758-0383
Established: 1937
Originally built as a movie theater in 1937, the Rialto Theater is now a Texas non-profit corporation fostering education in art, music, and live theater while preserving this historically significant building. A stage has replaced the movie screen and ninety-eight seats create an intimate performance opportunity of wonderful acoustics with the original brick walls exposed. Live music and stage plays are hosted throughout the year. An art gallery welcomes visitors where the original ticket and concession areas stood. Studio space is also available for rehearsal, workshops or other small classes.

The Royal Theater • Late Week Lazy Boy Supper Club 2
107 East Main • P.O. Box 1070, Archer City, TX 76351
(940) 574-2489; (877) 729-7692; Fax (940) 574-2490
Established: 1965
The Royal Theater is a national icon best known as "The Last Picture Show," and made famous by the Larry McMurtry novel and award-winning movie of the same name. The Royal Theater burned to the ground in 1965 and was faithfully restored in August 2000 through the support of The Archer Community Foundation.
Annual event: Events are held every third Saturday of each month except for June, July, and December.

Arlington Music Hall • Johnnie High's Country Revue
224 North Center, Arlington