Home Life and Arts Critically acclaimed Triple Crown plans to open again

Critically acclaimed Triple Crown plans to open again

Scott Biram playing before a sold out audience at Triple Crown
Image courtesy of Chris Cardoza.
Scott Biram playing before a sold out audience at Triple Crown.

When Austin venues are filled up, San Marcos is the next best place to view live music.

The Triple Crown was a local bar offering bands from all around the country a place to perform their music. The local spot had its last open night Dec. 12,before it closed until relocation.

Eric Shaw, co-owner of Triple Crown, said he and Allen Manning, co-owner of Triple Crown, opened the Triple Crown during November of 1996. He said the following year was when they officially started booking live music, for which the bar would become best known.

Shaw said he felt the Triple Crown filled a void in San Marcos and became a place where aspiring musicians from in and outside of town could perform all kinds of music.

“Very quickly, I realized that bands needed a place to play in San Marcos,” Shaw said. “We knew we were going to do music, we just didn’t know we were going to do that much.”

Colin Downes, a former Triple Crown employee, said Triple Crown had a lot of support and appreciation for live music. It created a scene in San Marcos that allowed more bands to play where people enjoyed music.

“(Triple Crown) got nationally recognized from minor-touring bands from all different genres for being a great venue,” Downes said.

Chris Carvosa, local live music photographer, said Triple Crown had some of the best live music he has seen in the country. He said the musicians who performed got treated with respect and appreciation.

“Triple Crown focused not only on musicians here in town, but they also brought in a lot of musicians who were on tour from other states,” he said.

Shaw said many critically acclaimed bands had their start at the Triple Crown. Some of the most popular include Blue October, Grupo Fantasma and Scott Biram.

“A big part of our success was just being in San Marcos,” Shaw said. “There are a lot of really talented musicians (in the area), many from Austin and many that can call San Marcos home.”

Carvosa said Triple Crown was an important factor of what makes San Marcos special. He said the venue hosted a lot of benefit shows to raise money for various concerns in the community, such as support for the hospital and rebuilding the town from the recent floods.

Shaw said the Texas Music Office and the city of San Marcos recognized Triple Crown in 2010 for reaching 5,000 consecutive days of live music.

“Over the years, it was a place where everyone else was welcomed,” Shaw said. “There would be people there who appreciated the music.”

Carvosa said the owners had one last show in December, with a promise that the Triple Crown will return at another location. It was a celebration of 19 years of business and providing live music.

“Everyone seemed that they wanted to celebrate that last night at the Crown,” Carvosa said. “They had bands playing from 12 in the afternoon to 2 in the morning.”

Shaw said after the Triple Crown shut down, some local musicians kept playing at the location.

“I know for a couple of weeks after we closed, (bands) were playing songs up there every day, which I thought was pretty nice of them,” he said.

Downes said no one knows what plans Shaw has for the Crown yet, or where it will be located.

“I know that they want to get bigger and better,” Downes said. “I think they will, and I’m looking forward to it.”

Shaw said he is hoping to make the next installment larger to allow for more bands and people from in and outside of San Marcos to visit. He said there will be more equipment, a bigger stage and more bands—both local and touring—to perform in San Marcos.

“We’re working hard on finding the next location and we have every intention of opening up bigger and better,” Shaw said.


  1. That opening line… what the heck? I really take issue with it. “When Austin venues are filled up, San Marcos is the next best place to view live music.”

    I’m sorry, but the Triple Crown is better than a LOT of Austin venues with: 1) Sound, 2) Audience, 3) Diversity, 4) Actually PAYING performers, 5) ORIGINAL music…

    I’m sorry, but San Marcos isn’t a “second choice.” It’s a first option. We’d like an apology please.

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