The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus


Bend Studio redefines ‘venue’

The lights are dim and a distinct aroma of candles and incense characterize the air. A quiet buzz of whispers occupies the room as patrons slide in barefoot to the small room with the wooden stage. Speakers chained to the ceiling hang above several rows of chairs and small rugs on the floor.

The walls are relatively bare except for one. It’s covered in black-framed portraits of artists that have graced the room’s wooden stage. It’s the stage of Bend Studio and home to the “Intimate Concert Series.”

Bend Studio is a yoga studio that doubles as a music venue on Thursday through Saturday evenings and occasionally Wednesday. It is located at 5014 McKinney Ave. only a couple of miles from campus.

Although the combination of a yoga studio and a music venue isn’t the most obvious, it’s an appropriate fit.

“The fact that it is a yoga studio makes Bend unique,” said owner and founder Ally David. “It adds a little mystique.”

The birth of the Bend Studio “Intimate Concert Series” was more a pleasant accident than a planned move. In May 2004, David had a musician friend play for the guests of a yoga workshop she was hosting. She recognized the potential in hosting artists in the yoga studio and took advantage of the opportunity to combine her two passions, live music and yoga. The series became official in November.

Since its founding, Bend Studio has hosted concerts almost every weekend featuring artists like Bob Schneider, Rhett Miller, Dan Dyer, Charlie Sexton, Trish Murphy, Patrice Pike and many others.

Bend Studio has a “bring your own beer” policy with a $3 charge for those who choose to do so. Bottled waters, teas and sodas are also offered for sale.

The musicians who perform at Bend enjoy the experience of performing in a yoga studio. The performances are a sincere reflection of the artists’ love for music, and the audience is always genuinely appreciative of the quality of the show.

On Friday night, the performance bill featured Chris Holt, Johnny Lloyd Rollins and Salim Nourallah. Chris Holt, who has performed at Bend Studio on several occasions, loves the atmosphere of Bend and the trademarked intimacy that has yet to be replicated.

“What makes Bend different than any other venue is people here listen,” Holt said. “A show like this is hard to do anywhere else.”

The audience also shares a love for the venue’s close quarters and warm personality. From the request that each of the guests remove their shoes before entering the studio to the personal welcoming from the owner before each show, Bend makes each show an individual experience.

Tim Clowdard, a Bend Studio patron, appreciates the spiritual level of the venue that can’t be found in bars.

“What makes Bend unique is the obvious intimacy. You sit right here with 20 other people only 20 feet away from the performer,” Clowdard said.

And with the option of purchasing a recording of the show, the audience has the opportunity to relive the intimate experience that was shared with few others.

Most evening shows start with a group of music patrons congregated just inside the studio. After leaving shoes at the door, everyone seems to settle in. Smiles are exchanged and introductions are made. As it draws closer to show time, people trickle in to the small performance room. The artists for the night take the stage and smile at the audience they just made conversation with.

The musicians tune their instruments on stage and exchange jokes with each other and with the audience. It’s an artist and audience interaction that is hard to find in common music venues, but for owner David the sense of community found in Bend Studio, which only seats 80 to 85 people, is a necessity.

Rarely are fans given the opportunity to personally praise the artists for their performance. And even more rare is seeing the guy who was just on stage enjoying a Snickers bar in the audience. But both are relatively commonplace in the distinctive setting that Bend Studio has created.

The cost of attending a show at Bend Studio ranges between $10 and $35, and a student discount is offered on some shows. A listing of upcoming Intimate Evenings can be found at

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