City Council commemorates the Live Music Capital
By Wells Dunbar,
12:31PM, Mon. Aug. 22, 2011
No sooner than last week’s City Council meeting ended, another one’s on tap Thursday. While controversy courts this week’s agenda, like the returned settlement motion in the Nathaniel Sanders II shooting, let's ease our way back in with a collection of creative class items, including the 20th anniversary of a certain designation you may have heard of.
The mayor’s office is trumpeting three resolutions addressing Austin’s entertainment scene and economy. First up is an item from Lee Leffingwell, Mike Martinez and Chris Riley updating economic analyses of the city’s various creative industries. The press release notes will updates will supplement “information last collected during the 2001 Music Study, 2004 Film Study, 2005 Cultural Update and 2006 Gaming Study.” The cost of the studies are to be shared with stakeholders from the various fields (although the agenda backup at this time doesn’t get into details at this point); Riley is quoted as saying, “Thanks to a strong participation by the music, film, gaming and visual arts sectors, we’re going to get a fresh understanding of our creative industries at a significant cost savings to our taxpayers.”
Also on tap is a separate item from the same three sponsors addressing MusicianCorps, “a National Service Program (AmeriCorps) that will help promote music education in schools and public programs.” Not mentioned in the press release, but contained in the backup language on that item, is a directive that “The City Manager is directed to provide an accounting of the Downtown Venue Relocation Program, created by Resolution No. 990415-39, and should funds remain, provide recommendations on how to tailor the program to better suit the current needs of the music community in 90 days.”
The city's last stab at that program came in 2005, when council attempted to reconfigure “the Music Venue Relocation Program for Downtown Development” to assist in rebuilding Midtown Live, a popular black entertainment venue whose fire prompted a separate conflagration of racial acrimony; the item was "postponed indefinitely and withdrawn from the agenda.” According to its backup, the 2005 resolution itself was an attempted repurposing of a 1999 loan program that was essentially created to assist with moving and reopening Austin’s storied Liberty Lunch. (And we all know how well that worked out.) Looks like this item is the latest take on such a project, likely timed to coincide with momentum of the Downtown Plan and its expected impact on the Red River club scene. Is the third time the charm?
Lastly, this Thursday will also commemorate the 20th anniversary of Austin's designation as “The Live Music Capital of the World.” Come the meeting’s 5:30pm break for – what else? – live music and proclamations, Leffingwell, Martinez and Riley will celebrate the anniversary, jam to Marcia Ball, and “present special recognition to the 1991 City Council and 1991 Music Commission as well as other key people involved the adoption of ‘Live Music Capital of the World’.”
It was Aug. 29, 1991, when council adopted Resolution 910829-46 – an item from council member Max Nofziger and Mayor Bruce Todd – stating that “the City Manager or her designee is authorized to adopt ‘Live Music Capital of the World’ as the official slogan of the City of Austin, to be proudly displayed in connection with all correspondence, promotion, public relations and publicity.”
See the full deets below:
MAYOR, COUNCILMEMBERS, TO UPDATE CREATIVE INDUSTRY ECONOMIC IMPACT
AUSTIN, TX – Mayor Lee Leffingwell, Councilmember Mike Martinez and Councilmember Chris Riley are sponsoring an item from council to update the data related to Austin’s creative industries. The item will appear before City Council on Thursday August 25th.
“Austin is a creative community and our creative industries help drive our local economy,” said Mayor Lee Leffingwell. “These industries generate billions of dollars locally and employ thousands.”
The economic analysis will include recommendations and will update information last collected during the 2001 Music Study, 2004 Film Study, 2005 Cultural Update and 2006 Gaming Study.
“The industries change quickly and we need to change to best support them,” said Councilmember Mike Martinez. “The creative industries are a target for our economic growth. This update will provide us with direction so we can best support our music, film, gaming and visual arts.”
The funding for the creative industries economic analysis is a partnership with the City and stakeholders from Austin’s Music, Film, Gaming and Visual Arts communities.
“This effort will be successful because of the partnership it represents,” said Councilmember Chris Riley. “Thanks to a strong participation by the music, film, gaming and visual arts sectors, we’re going to get a fresh understanding of our creative industries at a significant cost savings to our taxpayers.”
The role of the cultural sector in Austin’s economy is significant, with just over $2.25 billion in economic activity, $827.7 million in labor compensation, over $48 million in City tax revenues, and almost 44,000 permanent jobs that can be ascribed to its collective influence during 2004.
“Austin’s visual arts industry impacts our economy and is part of what makes Austin great,” said Kevin Johns, Director of the City of Austin’s Economic Growth and Redevelopment Services Office. “Our visual arts are an important industry that is the basis of our creative culture.”
Austin has about 250 live music venues and the City of Austin Music Office estimates that there are 50,000 live music performances here every year.
“Our live music industry is part of the backbone of our local culture,” said Councilmember Mike Martinez. “Clearly our economy and our community greatly benefits from our music industry, but we need to have current data to understand how best to support the industry.”
The 2004 Film and Visual Media Study found that the film industry adds $360 million dollars to the local economy and creates 3,500 jobs annually. The 2006 Entertainment Software/Digital Media Industry (Gaming) Study found the industry accounts for over $200 million in local economic impact annually and employs over 1,100 people.
“Austin’s filmmaking, gaming and music industries have come together over the last five years,” said Councilmember Chris Riley. “What were three different industries is gradually becoming one, the creative industry, and we want to keep Austin on the forefront as this industry develops.”
“Austin has been called the Third Coast in filmmaking, one of the biggest producers of online video games and the Live Music Capital of the World,” said Mayor Lee Leffingwell. “We need to understand how creative industries are growing and how we can best support that growth locally.”
Also on the August 25th Council agenda, Mayor Lee Leffingwell, Councilmember Martinez and Councilmember Chris Riley will sponsor an Item from Council to sponsor MusicianCorps. MusicianCorps is a National Service Program (AmeriCorps) that will help promote music education in schools and public programs.
And, on August 25th Council agenda, Mayor Leffingwell, Councilmember Mike Martinez and Councilmember Chris Riley will host a celebration honoring Austin’s 20th anniversary as the Live Music Capital of the World. They will present special recognition to the 1991 City Council and 1991 Music Commission as well as other key people involved the adoption of “Live Music Capital of the World”.
The celebration begins at 5:30pm on Thursday August 25th. The event is free and open to the public. Marcia Ball will perform. A reception will follow the event in the City Hall atrium.
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