'Music Friendly' Designation a New Instrument to Grow Abilene Music Scene

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The city has given birth or rubbed elbows with a bevy of talented musicians: country pioneer Jimmie Rodgers and big band hero Lawrence Welk both had special relationships to the city, while troubadour Ronnie Dunn shares his colorful Abilene experience -- getting kicked out of college because he couldn’t stop strumming tunes in the honky-tonks. These days, we all sing the praises of local treasures Aaron Watson and Mark Powell.

But, let’s face the music: While our schools produce a chorus of talented artists, the community hasn’t always supported live music as an industry. Abilenians are notorious for waiting until the last minute to buy tickets to a show, giving organizers panic attacks and sometimes canceling events.

But, we’re changing our tune. The annual Outlaws & Legends Music Festival broke attendance records this year, and 2020’s 10th anniversary lineup is sure to be epic. Concerts at the West Texas Fair & Rodeo were a major draw during 2019’s record-breaking year. Restaurants, golf courses, watering holes and the Abilene Zoo are booking talented musicians and drawing appreciative crowds.

The Abilene Convention & Visitors Bureau wants to capitalize on that momentum. We’ve tapped into state resources to help. It’s good business. It’s good for our quality of life.

The Office of the Governor’s Texas Music Office has officially certified Abilene as a “Music Friendly” city. The ACVB is harnessing the TMO’s time-tested measures to help grow live music performances in Texas communities. A task force has been created, and their ideas are being implemented.

Join the movement. Support live music. Visit businesses that book local performers, and, by all means, buy advance tickets for shows you want to attend.

In tune with the larger economic development mission, the ACVB will serve as a hub for live music, gathering event information, and helping drum up attendance via its website and the new Abilene Centerstage social media channels.

Local venue managers, producers and musicians are encouraged to submit content about upcoming shows of all genres to the calendar at abilenevisitors.com, where a new search option will help fans find concerts.

Tiffany Nichols, ACVB Visitor Services Manager, is the Music Friendly Community program’s newly designated liaison to area musicians, producers and music education programs. For more information about marketing live music in Abilene, see abilenevisitors.com/Centerstage or compose a note for Nichols at tiffany@abilenevisitors.com.


Live Music, Music Friendly, Music Friendly Community, Concerts, Events, Events Calendar, Things To Do In Abilene