ConventionSouth

NOV 2017

ConventionSouth magazine is the leading resource for meeting planners who book all types of events, conventions, conferences and group travel in the south.

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⎜ ConventionSouth ⎜ N O V E M B E R 2 0 1 7 w w w . c o n v e n t i o n s o u t h . c o m 12 THE SOUTH'S MUSIC CITIES Humans may be pre-wired to respond to music. Historians have found that every known culture, past and present, has used a form of music to express ideas and emotions, and to tell stories. In his book Music and the Mind, author and British psychologist Anthony Storr contends that music originates from the human brain, promotes order within the mind, exalts life and gives it meaning. His speculation on music's therapeutic powers is backed by medical studies at such highly-re- garded institutions as the Mayo Clinic, where researchers have found that music activates the brain in ways that can change moods, get people motivated and help them concentrate. Music is also a powerful bonding mechanism. When studying the brain patterns of people lis- tening to music, Dr. Jonathan Burdette. a neurora- diologist at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center in Winston-Salem, N.C., found that "it doesn't matter if it's Bach, the Beatles, Brad Paisley or Bruno Mars, your favorite music likely triggers a similar type of activity in your brain as other people's favorites do in theirs." Stevie Wonder expresses much the same observation in his song "Sir Duke," which starts with the lyrics "Music is a world within itself/ With a language we all understand/ With an equal opportunity/For all to sing, dance and clap their hands" Whether it is used to spur creativity at training workshops, bond a large group of convention participants or for any other purpose, music is a powerful tool for meeting professionals who or- ganize all types of events. Here's a look at some of ways that music has an impact on meetings in the South. Enhancing a Destination's Draw Many Southern destinations find their musical assets help draw participants to conventions and meetings in their area, as indicated in their slo- gans and other promotional materials. The Nash- ville Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB) uses "Music City" in its tagline and boasts of having more live music than anywhere in the world. Similarly, the Austin, Texas CVB promotes the city as the "Live Music Capital of the World" and encourages convention-goers who gather there to "Meet to the Beat." New Orleans is known as the birthplace of jazz, but also bills itself as a mecca for gospel, R&B, rock and pop music. "From swank lounges to tiny honky-tonks to mega con- certs, New Orleans is one big stage," asserts the CVB, which advises meeting goers to "come and play your part." In addition to these larger Southern cities, many smaller destinations in the South find music to be a big draw. The Tu- pelo, Miss. CVB proudly identifies the city as Elvis Presley's Birthplace, while Lafayette, La. is known as the Heartbeat of Acadiana. "Our distinctive mix of Cajun, Creole and Zydeco (music) have people com- ing down from all over for a two-stepping good time," states the Lafayette Travel website. Addition- ally, Tunica, Miss. is marketed as the "Gateway to the Blues" and the Florence, Ala. area is fa- mous for the "Muscle Shoals Sound," due to the famous studios where the world's top musicians have recorded their work. Festivals Offer Built-In Fun Local music festivals can provide built-in fun for meeting groups and also help destinations dis- tinguish themselves. As a result, many Southern cities are adding and expanding music festivals. In early October, the first annual Camellia City Smooth Jazz Fest was launched at the Northshore Harbor Center in Slidell, La. According to the Kathy Lowrey, the facility's general manager, a number of local residents who travel all over the world to attend smooth jazz festivals worked with area meeting professionals to bring the event to Louisiana's Northshore. Not only did this provide a new festival for local residents, it also increased exposure for the entire area by bringing musicians and fans from around the world to this distinct part of the state. Another destination that has capitalized on the collective excitement and bonding power of music with a new event is San Antonio, Texas. The city's first Mala Luna Music Festival, held in 2016, was so popular that a second event stage was added to this year's event, which took place during the last weekend in October. In addition to featuring such popular artists as Lil Wayne, the event also put the spotlight on many local performers. Music was an important element of the first annual BB&T Malden Salt Festival, held in ► Above: AustinLive Festival at the Long Center in Austin, Texas Below: Camellia City Smooth Jazz Fest at The Northshore Harbor Center in Slidell, La.

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