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Historic Gruene Hall reopens with live music and coronavirus precautions

The venue made some changes to keep customers safe but the staff and community are happy Texas' oldest dance hall is back open.

NEW BRAUNFELS, Texas — Texas’ oldest dance hall is surviving the ups and downs of the coronavirus pandemic.

Gruene Hall is back open and once again filling the historic district with live music.

Monday afternoon, Austin Gilliam’s lyrics, “I miss you so” floated through the air. The words ring true for Gruene Hall.

The walls have been craving an audience to soak up the music coming from the stage.

Credit: KENS
Austin Gilliam performs at Gruene Hall on Labor Day Monday.

The oldest actively running dance hall in Texas, and one that’s been featuring live music for 45 years, is back at it.

Like Judy and Shelly wrote with permanent marker on one of the posts inside, it’s a “happy place” for locals and tourists alike.

“What brings everybody to Gruene Hall is the music,” said Director of Operations Ryan Weinbrandt.

Credit: KENS
One of many notes left by customers at Gruene Hall

The music faded when Gruene Hall was required by a Governor’s order to close as the coronavirus pandemic swept through Texas.

Thursday, the historic venue reopened with some changes.

“Generations have been coming here to spend time and luckily we were able to get back open on Thursday,” said Weinbrandt.

Things look different but the staff and community are happy the Hall is back open.

“It changes the whole feel of the town having the dance hall open, live music pouring out into the street. Somebody walking by, getting to hear that just draws you in,” said Weinbrandt. “Having the dance hall open again, it feels good.” 

Guests are required to social distance and wear masks when ordering or taking a seat inside. There is also no dancing in the dance hall for now.

“The small trade-offs will put the dancing on hold for a small window to bring Gruene Hall back for the community.”

Credit: KENS
Gruene Hall reopened Labor Day weekend with some changes to keep visitors safe.

Adding to the excitement, Gruene Hall hosted free concerts over the long Labor Day weekend.

“We wanted to welcome everybody back to the hall and make it very accessible for you, your family and anyone to come on in and enjoy the show.”

The Gruene Hall website will post details on future live music plans.