A summary of the third annual edition of TEXAS SOUNDS & CITIES by TMO Community Relations and Outreach Specialist Chip Adams:
The third annual TEXAS SOUNDS & CITIES conference, held September 9-10, was a wonderful success. A huge thank you to our partners at Levitt Arlington Pavilion, and the Arlington Convention and Visitors Bureau. Letatia Teykl, Executive Director of the Levitt Pavilion Arlington, along with Dena Rambo of Lamont Associates, made this event so fantastic, making us feel at home and immersed in all things Arlington. A huge thank you to the amazing staff at Globe Life Park, Texas Live !, and the Levitt Pavilion for all their work. We could not have done it without you.
The conference kicked off on Thursday, Sept. 9 with a luncheon at Texas Live’s Lockhart Smokehouse. This gave the TMO team a much needed time to connect with our music-friendly community links and members of the Arlington music community. Thursday’s acts continued at Troy’s on Texas Live! for a networked reception, welcoming our cities to the conference and giving everyone time to visit in person for the first time since the pandemic began. For me, this was the first time I personally met many of our music links. It had been a long time since it was late and it was the perfect way to open Texas Sounds and Cities. I also have to acknowledge the live music performances of Thaddeus Ford and the band Kadie Lynn. You have been fantastic!
Friday was a full and informative day of constructive and informative tables and conversations. Our attendees were greeted at the Globe Life Park with performances by local mariachi ensemble Fuzion and more music by local performer Carlos Ramos. Thanks to Sean Decker, executive vice president of Sports and Entertainment with Texas Rangers for his opening remarks. It was inspiring to hear how they have adopted music as a vital part of their organization and at the Globe Life Park. After a welcome message from the director of the Texas Music Office, Brendon Anthony, and my brief update on music-friendly communities, we welcomed Kate Durio, CEO of America Music North of Sound Diplomacy, and Tom Martens, associate vice president of Creation and Brand Visit (Fort Worth (also) as director of the Fort Worth music office), to head our first panel. Together they took a deep dive into Fort Worth, Texas ’first music-friendly community, as well as a discussion of how Texas leads the development and support of the music ecosystem.
Before lunch, we welcomed four of our certified music-friendly communities to introduce you to news from their cities. This was a fantastic opportunity to share recent music developments, as they have adopted the Music Friendly Community program to grow their local music industries and provide information on the current and future goals of their advisory boards. Many thanks to our connections: Letatia Teykl (Executive Director, Levitt Pavilion Arlington), Krystal Jones (Film, Music and Marketing Manager, San Antonio City Department of Arts and Culture), Stacy Keith (Director, Lubbock Cultural Arts Foundation) and Shannon Overby (director of Visit Conroe). The exchange of ideas and good practices is really what the Music Friendly program is all about. I should also note that Dan Cavanagh (Acting Dean of the College of Liberal Arts) and Jamar Jones (Assistant Professor, Coordinator of Music Industry Studies) at the University of Texas at Arlington spoke at the upcoming conference. on Arlington’s music industry to be held April 7-9. 2022. Mark your calendars.
Our brief lunch break included music by Rachel Stacy, along with statements from Arlington Mayor Jim Ross, and Matt Wilson, Vice President of Sports and Events for the Arlington Convention and Visitors Bureau. The second group was led by TMO Director Brendon Anthony, who organized individual conversations with three different speakers. The first was a discussion on the application of the code of state and city governments in living districts with Dr. Michael Seman, Associate Professor of Arts Management, Colorado State University. The second led us to economist Jon Hockenyos, president of TXP, Inc., who went through the importance of tracking data for the music industry and the value of economic impact reports, especially as we navigate to mitigate COVID -19. We ended our final roundtable with Kessler Presents founder / president Edwin Cabaniss, who addressed issues ranging from site operators ’struggles throughout the pandemic to defending Texas low-capacity locals during the creation of two recently passed bills.
Our day of Texas Sounds and Cities, full of sessions, offered our communities a very late time to discuss various ideas and possible opportunities for collaboration. Our certified and in-process cities, along with other local attendees, partnered in small groups to help develop strong relationships and start planting seeds of new ways to work together. Listening to the boiling room for conversations and ideas was absolutely inspiring and is really the heart of the conference. After concluding the outbreaks, each table presented their thoughts and ideas, from discussions on the development of regional tourist routes, live music rehearsals, ways to collaborate more frequently through social media and much more. .
We were given the excellent performances of Jason Elmore and Hoodoo Witch and The Peterson Brothers as we ended the day with a concert at the Levitt Pavilion Arlington. Good music and some time to process and discuss the events of the day, which made the perfect setting end with Texas Sounds and Cities 2021. For our cities that haven’t been able to travel this year, there will soon be videos of the two panels. Links will be provided once they are available. As we begin planning Texas Sounds and Cities 2022, I hope that even more people will attend to take advantage of this very special and incredibly important moment to participate in these vital debates and collaborations. As we continue to build this first group of such connected music cities, the conference is a key component to the growth and success of the Music Friendly Communities program.
Thanks to all of our music-friendly communities who attended in person. It’s been a hard year and a half, and I just know I’m thankful you all took time out of your very busy schedules to participate in this important event. I value everything you do for the Texas music industry.
Chip Adams, specialist in community relations and outreach
Texas Music Office, Office of the Governor
CAP 12428, Austin, TX 78711
(512) 463-6666 office