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Home News-Telegram News The Venue is new place for teens to kick back and relax

The Venue is new place for teens to kick back and relax

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Being a teenager in Sulphur Springs in the dead heat of summer can be kind of a drag. When you've finished seeing all the movies Starplex 6 has to offer and you feel the dull pain of boredom begin to set in, you might just visit a newspaper website. It's good you chose this one, because you've just found out about The Venue.

Pickton resident Shannon Cox has launched a place where people of all ages can enjoy live music and have a great time. The site, which Cox aptly named The Venue, opens every weekend with a variety of live bands and solo artists playing Friday and Saturday nights. “The Venue is something I've really wanted,” said Cox, a singer herself.  “It is important to try to bring live music to Sulphur Springs.”

And not just any old music: When I walked through the doors of The Venue I was greeted by a wailing electric guitar and hardcore vocals – not something very common to East Texas. The band was called Harbor the Poet, a “break-core” rock group. “It's break-core because of the metal guitar breakdowns," said frontman and vocalist Salvador Castro.

Harbor the Poet hadn't had much luck in finding places to play before The Venue.  "It's hard to find a good fan base when you're playing a bar that is 21 and up," guitarist Chris Garza laments. "Younger people tend to listen to this type of music."

But "break-core" isn't all The Venue has to offer. Cox insists that she will book talent in any genre. The Venue is about community and talent, not about genres. "I wanted a safe place where anyone can come and listen to music and give variety so everyone has an opportunity to play."

The week before Harbor the Poet's show, The Venue hosted performances by a rap artist and an alternative country singer.

Cox stresses that while The Venue is most certainly about music and burgeoning talent, it was her dream to make a safe location where Hopkins County teens can just hang out. "Teens don't really have much to do on Friday and Saturday nights," she said, "and as a mother, I really felt that."

The Venue boasts a strict policy banning alcohol and smoking. "I want everyone who wants to come to feel safe,"  Cox said, "and I want their parents to feel safe letting them come." That is why she feels that children under 13 should be accompanied by an adult — although it is an all-ages affair, The Venue is primarily for teens.

Her two teen sons, Phillip and Luke, are seen with their friends at The Venue every weekend, and Cox is incredibly thankful for it. "I'd see Phillip and his friends go to the movies, but most of the time they'd just hang out on storefronts in town after they closed."

In fact, after the first successful night of The Venue, Cox and her sons saw attendees in its parking lot long after the show had ended. "They said their curfew wasn't for a few more hours, so I decided to create After Dark."

After each live show ends at 9:45 p.m., a disc jockey plays even another genre of music —electronica. After Dark lasts from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m., currently featuring DJ's Kron John and Toast.

The Venue opens its doors at 468 West Shannon Road in Shannon Square at 7 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays. Live music begins at 7:45 p.m. and lasts until 9:45 p.m.; then, After Dark runs from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m.

Three bands will be featured this Saturday starting at 7:45 p.m. Headlined by Harbor the Poet, the show will also have performances by local bands Sleep Now and We Could Be Heroes. Get a taste of Harbor the Poet on their MySpace page: myspace.com/harborthepoet. Bands can call (903) 951-6135 or e-mail Shannon Cox at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it to book a gig.

So, teens, next time you tell your parents that there's nothing to do in town on the weekend you'll be lying.

And parents, feel free to call them on it.




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