Nat intro: On Sunday, November 24, 2013, our group visited the Buzz Mill, a 24 hour coffee shop, bar, and venue all in one that epitomizes its catchy name, which riffs off of the marriage of a coffee buzz and a saw mill. This eclectic little shop set the scene for our ethnography; local musicians and artists regularly perform on Buzzmill’s little stage. Collectively, our group chose this venue because the event we attended – Whiskey Church – was free, the place itself is not too far away from where each of us lived, and of course because it has a bar.
Located off the east side in Austin on Riverside Drive, Buzz Mill’s pint-sized venue lies within a fenced-in courtyard that houses a barbeque food trailer as well as a vegan taco truck, a small stage, and various seating arrangements. One of the venue’s most unique qualities is the essence of a wholesome country setting. The small stage is fashioned to give patrons the feeling of standing in a cabin home, complete with pieces of long logwood, a few pictures nailed to the walls, and dim lighting from a single lamp. Seating surrounding the stage is ample and consists of rustic, wooden tables with benched seating that create a close, intimate atmosphere. Oh and of course – we can’t forget the large bear statue in the entrance of the coffee shop! Oftentimes during cold weather, employees will light up a few fires for audience members to warm by; unfortunately there weren’t any going while we were there. The fact that sitting fireside is a possibility at Buzz Mill slipped our minds, so we were considerably bummed afterward when we realized that we sat in weather that is brisk, if not frigid, for Austin, without a source of heat. Based on our observations, we contend that the Buzz Mill creates a laid back and communal type of musical experience that the folk genre encapsulates, and by doing this, the venue itself is undeniably one of a kind.
Bri: Opened on January 19, 2013, the Buzz Mill is extremely new! It is not even a full year old, and it has already gained popularity very quickly. In fact, “Buzz Mill” is a familiar phrase in the lexicon of most students from the University of Texas, Saint Edward’s, and Ausitin Community College alike. There are definitely a lot of regular customers who frequent the shop already, and it’s highly likely during any visit to see at least a couple people come in and address the barista/bartenders by name before striking up conversation. The manager of Emo’s, Jason Sabala, and the owner of Bootleg Coffee Shop and Delivery, Travis Kizer, came together to create this coffee shop/bar/musical venue fusion. Conveniently enough, Buzz Mill actually resides very close to Emo’s on East Riverside.
After talking to one of the guys who worked here (his first name was Alan, we didn’t quite catch his last name, and he had a big, full beard), Bri found out that the owners’ goal when coming together to create Buzz Mill was to have a place that is more “low-key and laid back” than a...