3rd Annual Texas Sounds & Cities - RECAP
A recap of the 3rd annual TEXAS SOUNDS & CITIES from the TMO's Community Relations & Outreach Specialist, Chip Adams:
The 3rd annual TEXAS SOUNDS & CITIES Conference taking place September 9-10 was a wonderful success. A huge thank you to our partners at the Levitt Pavilion Arlington, and the Arlington Convention and Visitors Bureau. Letatia Teykl, Executive Director of the Levitt Pavilion Arlington, along with Dena Rambo from Lamont Associates, made this such a great event, making us all feel at home and immersed in all things Arlington. A huge thanks to the incredible staff at Globe Life Park, Texas Live!, and the Levitt Pavilion for all of their hard work. We could not have done this without you.
The conference kicked off on Thursday, September 9 with a lunch at the Lockhart Smokehouse within Texas Live (pictured left, with TMO Director Brendon Anthony speaking to the gathered audience)! This gave the TMO team some much needed time to connect with our Music Friendly Community Liaisons and members of the Arlington music community. Thursday’s events continued at Troy’s within Texas Live! for a networking reception, welcoming our cities to the conference and giving everybody time to visit in person for the first time since the pandemic began. For me, this marked the first time meeting many of our Music Friendly Liaisons in person. It was long overdue and the perfect way to open Texas Sounds and Cities. I also have to acknowledge the live music performances by Thaddeus Ford and the Kadie Lynn Band. Y’all were fantastic!
Friday was a constructive and informative full day of panels and conversations. Our attendees were welcomed to Globe Life Park with a performance by the local mariachi ensemble Fuzion, and more music from local performer Carlos Ramos. Thank you to Sean Decker, Executive Vice President, Sports & Entertainment with the Texas Rangers for his opening remarks. It was inspiring to hear how they have embraced music as such a vital part of their organization and at Globe Life Park. After a welcome message from Texas Music Office Director Brendon Anthony and my brief Music Friendly Communities update, we welcomed Kate Durio, CEO for North America from Sound Diplomacy, and Tom Martens, Associate Vice President of Creative and Branding at Visit Fort Worth (as well as the Director of the Fort Worth Music Office), to head up our first panel. Together they did a deep dive on Fort Worth, Texas’ First Music Friendly Community, plus a discussion on how Texas leads in music ecosystem support and development.
Before lunch, we welcomed four of our certified Music Friendly Communities to present updates from their cities. This was a fantastic opportunity to share recent music developments, how they have embraced the Music Friendly Community program to grow their local music industries, and offer insight on the current and future goals of their Advisory Boards. A big thanks to all four of our Liaisons – Letatia Teykl (Executive Director, Levitt Pavilion Arlington), Krystal Jones (Film, Music, and Marketing Administrator, City of San Antonio Department of Arts & Culture), Stacy Keith (Director, Lubbock Cultural Arts Foundation), and Shannon Overby (Director, Visit Conroe). The sharing of ideas and best practices is truly what the Music Friendly program is all about. I also must note that Dan Cavanagh (Interim Dean, College of Liberal Arts) and Jamar Jones (Assistant Professor, Music Industry Studies Coordinator) from the University of Texas at Arlington spoke about the upcoming Arlington Music Industry Conference taking place April 7 to 9, 2022. Mark your calendars!
Our brief lunch break included music from Rachel Stacy, along with remarks by Arlington Mayor Jim Ross, and Matt Wilson, Vice President, Sports & Events with the Arlington Convention and Visitors Bureau. The second panel was conducted by TMO Director Brendon Anthony, hosting one on one conversations with three different speakers. First up was a discussion of state and city government code enforcement within live districts with Dr. Michael Seman, Associate Professor of Arts Management, Colorado State University (picutred below). The second brought us economist Jon Hockenyos, President of TXP, Inc., going through the importance of tracking data for the music industry and the value of economic impact reports, especially as we navigate through COVID-19 mitigation. We wrapped up our final panel discussion with Kessler Presents Founder / President Edwin Cabaniss, hitting on topics ranging from the struggles of venue operators throughout the pandemic to advocating for Texas’ small capacity venues during the creation of two recently passed bills.
Our day long Texas Sounds and Cities wrapped with breakout sessions, giving our communities some much overdue time to discuss various ideas and potential opportunities to collaborate. Our certified and in-process cities, along with other local attendees, were partnered up in small groups to help develop strong relationships and to begin planting seeds of new ways to work together. Hearing the room buzzing with conversations and ideas was absolutely inspiring, and is truly the heart of the conference. After the breakouts concluded, each table presented their thoughts and ideas, from discussions on the development of regional tour routes, live music trials, ways to collaborate more frequently over social media, and so much more.
We were treated to great performances by Jason Elmore & Hoodoo Witch, and The Peterson Brothers, as we ended the day with a concert at the Levitt Pavilion Arlington. Great music and some time to process and discuss the day’s events made for the perfect setting to end our Texas Sounds and Cities 2021. For our cities that were unable to travel this year, there will be video from the two panels available soon. Links will be provided once available. As we start to plan Texas Sounds and Cities 2022, I hope that even more of our cities will attend in person to take advantage of this special and incredibly important time to participate in these vital discussions and collaborations. As we continue building this first of its kind connected group of music cities, the conference is a key component to the growth and success of the Music Friendly Communities program.
Thank you to all of our Music Friendly Communities that attended in person. It has been a tough year and a half, and just know how much I appreciate you all taking time out of your very busy schedules to participate in this important event. I truly value all that you do for the Texas music industry!
Chip Adams, Community Relations & Outreach Specialist
Texas Music Office, Office of the Governor
P.O. Box 12428, Austin, TX 78711
(512) 463-6666 office