NOV 2018

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 8 w w w . c o n v e n t i o n s o u t h . c o m 16 THE SOUTH'S MUSIC CITIES whole team is ready to make your event a musically minded masterpiece. Located in the downtown area of the historic music city on the banks of the Tennessee River overlooking Wilson Dam, the venue celebrates the city's musical history with many melodic options for jazzing up your next event. "Our culinary and events teams have created very unique, fun and interactive meals and breaks designed around music," Miller said. "With the large number of Grammy winners that reside in the area, we can incorporate their talents into events and meetings for planners. The seasoned Marriott Shoals team makes it very easy for planners, easy in the sense that we have been doing this for years and have discovered hundreds of fun and exciting ways to be unique and pull off even the craziest and grandest of events and meetings." The Alabama Council of Association Executives Board Meeting was recently held at the hotel and was, according to Miller, completely enmeshed with music. "An opening reception was held at our restaurant, featuring original Swamper David Hood to share stories about how the music scene truly began in the Shoals," she said. "Live music played as guests enjoyed the delicacies of the culinary team. Each meal was a special treat for the taste buds. Centerpieces and other decor were cen- tered around music specific to the Shoals area. A day of touring [took them] to various music locations, such as W.C. Handy Birthplace, Alabama Music Hall of Fame, Muscle Shoals Sound Studios, FAME Recording Studios and back to the hotel where every day we feature live music in Swampers Bar & Grille." Judy Hood, owner and operator of Swampette Music Tour Services and chair- man of the Muscle Shoals Music Foundation, helped organize the event, along with planners from the Alabama Council of Association Executives. "The meeting planners requested that we provide them with an immersive Muscle Shoals music experience," she said. "We organized an event for them that included performances of some of the big hits that were recorded in Muscle Shoals. We provided narrative throughout the evening to give them background on the songs and give them insight into the recording industry." A Distinct Musical Destination, Louisiana Style One of the best parts of the beloved movie "Steel Magnolias" is the music at the wedding reception. The wedding band plays Hank Williams' classic song "Jambalaya" ("Jam- balaya, crawfish pie, file gumbo …") while wedding attendees dance to the Cajun-inspired song. The hit movie was filmed in Natchitoches (pronounced Nack-a-tish), where the atmo- sphere of Louisiana-style music and dancing reverberates throughout the destination. The city has received many accolades, including being named No. 1 on a list of "America's 25 Cutest Main Streets in Small Towns" by Fodor's in July 2018 and one of "The 15 Most Beautiful Main Streets Across America" by Architectural Digest in July 2017, as well as a multitude of others that showcase the city's magical, musical quality. "Natchitoches has a great 'Main Street' named Front Street with lots of character," said Kelli West, director of marketing and communications for the Natchi- toches CVB. "Along Front Street, planners will find shopping, attractions and dining. Many of these restaurants offer live music throughout Autographed guitars from award-winning musicians are on display at Swampers Bar & Grille in the Marriott Shoals Hotel & Spa in Florence, Ala. The Cane River Lake Riverbank, in Natchitoches, La., is a popular spot for concerts and music festivals.

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