Huntsville taking steps to boost its music scene

Huntsville taking steps to boost its music scene

HUNTSVILLE, AL (WAFF) - Huntsville is calling all musicians and music lovers to take part in an open forum to begin a city-wide audit.

Consultants are going to be in town next week to begin researching and meeting relevant stakeholders.

They will inventory local music makers, venues, and festivals in order to help to identify ways the city can strengthen its music scene.

Officials say it's spurred by feedback from residents about quality of life enhancements and wanting more cultural experiences

"From the big picture plan, one of the most frequent comments we got was large festivals that we used to have in Huntsville and they're no longer here. So, we want to focus on that and have this audit that will take about 14 months to complete, come back to us about how friendly of a music city Huntsville really is from a policy standpoint. How friendly are we to be able to host an event, either public or private type festival?" explained Shane Davis, Director of Urban Development.

The first public form for the music audit is Wednesday, June 6 from 5:30 – 8 p.m. at Yellowhammer Lost Highway Bierhall at Campus 805.

There will be several other public meetings during the course of the audit.

If you're a venue owner, musician, or a resident who wants to some more festivals in the Rocket City, researchers want to hear from you.

"If you're a songwriter, musician or you're recording video or audio, we want to hear from you. We want to get a baseline of people making a living in the music industry in Huntsville. The other is if you have a venue, whether it's public or private, where you're hosting music events. We want to hear about the pros of cons of what makes the event successful or how it can be made more successful," Davis stated.

They also want more feedback from you! Residents have asked for infrastructure and housing improvements, as well as a focus on quality of life.

"That's our green ways and becoming a food hub. That's one of the trends for progressive cities and music is one of those cultural things we have to grow too. It's part of the arts," Davis explained. "Food, music and cultural experiences. That's what our public asked for and that's what we're working on."

The city is hoping the music audit will be the first step in developing a "music triangle," capitalizing on talent in North Alabama and the circuit of musicians writing, producing and performing from Memphis to Nashville and Atlanta.

Strides are already being made on the music front. Mid-City will have an amphitheater to host concerts and a new music hall is going in at the Von Braun Center as part of a big expansion.

"When we're finished, it'll gives us a good baseline of where we stand as a city, where we can improve, and give us a strategy. We did the same thing with job strategy in 2008-2010 and look at the results we've had with the thousand of jobs that we've brought in. We had the same strategy with infrastructure and you see all the road projects we're working on. This is one of those steps for growing that cultural experience and quality of life for our community," Davis said.

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