The ‘Music Everywhere’ initiative is helping to grow Charlotte’s music industry

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Take the Music Everywhere Survey! 

 By Jacqueline Parker

October 8, 2018 (Updated 10.9.18)

Not too long ago music enthusiasts in and around Charlotte balked at the shuttering of the Double Door Inn, an esteemed venue for local and national musicians to play in town. Indeed, the same laments could be heard when the Chop Shop in NoDa and Amos’ Southend closed not but a few years back. And, of course, let’s not forget the notorious Fat City, a venue now only memorialized by late-night music rants and an apartment complex that bears its name.

As beloved as these institutions were (and still are, to many) the fact remains that Charlotte still boasts well over 50 venues that host live music. Needless to say, music in Charlotte is everywhere, you just have to know where to look.

Music Everywhere was imagined as a long-term project to help bring tourism, talent, jobs, and a sense of community to the Charlotte-area music scene. Yes, it’s about music but it’s also about so much more than that. A strong sense of community within our music industry helps facilitate jobs and the local economy, feeding money and resources back in to our homebase. If you are involved in the music scene in any way, you should take the survey to determine what actions can be taken to drive a thriving music ecosystem in Charlotte and Mecklenburg County.

The Double Door Inn. Photo: Kurt Shackelford

Who’s to say what barriers have prevented Charlotte from becoming a burgeoning mecca of new music? But that can change, can’t it? Our city is a hotbed of talent and innovation in the music industry and there’s no reason our city and its patrons can’t work together to make Charlotte a force to be reckoned with. 

The initiative is the brainchild of Center City Partners in partnership with ASC, CRVA, Blumenthal, Evening Muse, Avid Exchange, NC Music Factory, City Council Members Tariq Bokhari and Larken Egleston along with many more organizations and businesses passionate about local and live music. After discussing the idea for a couple years, CEO of Center City Partners Michael Smith, Chief Creative Officer Robert Krumbine, and Senior Vice President Rick Thurmond realized they could help enact positive change for the city’s music scene. “We know that Charlotte has a rich music heritage and the music scene is really strong, but broadly undervalued,” said Thurmond. “So we put the idea out there, got a good response, tested it with partners like ASC and CRVA and key music folks, then started gathering local music leaders. Everyone said, ‘Keep going!’ So we did.”

Drake Margolnick of Flagship. Photo: Amber Smith

Through focus groups and one-on-one sessions with musicians, city leaders and others equally excited about music, they were able to develop a strategy to grow Charlotte’s music scene. Their survey was designed to excavate a perhaps “hidden industry” with loads of potential. While these groups may have spearheaded the project, what you have to say is pretty important, too. You do listen to music, don’t you? “We need every voice represented,” Thurmond said. The survey is available online and shouldn’t take more than a few minutes.

The website is pretty impressive. Nearly every Charlotte neighborhood is mentioned with a list of venues that host live music on any given night of the week. The calendar of events notes acts both local and national, and there’s even a section to find your favorite new artist or band based on the genre of music you like.

Harvey Cummings II at We’ve Got The Jazz Festival 2017

Who’s to say where Charlotte will be five or ten years from now. Definitely with more apartment complexes but there’s certainly a hope for a stronger, more vibrant music scene. It’s not about becoming another Nashville, as Thurmond noted. It’s about “celebrating and growing the killer aspects of Charlotte’s music scene… One measure of success is that a musician can become known nationally and still live here, have plenty of gigs when they’re home, and then proudly call Charlotte home when they are on the road.”

By supporting and protecting Charlotte’s music talent, by encouraging music lovers to get out there and discover new sounds, and by providing a catalogue of where to go and who to see, Music Everywhere hopes to really bring the sounds of the city to the forefront.

Please spend a few minutes to take the Music Everywhere Survey and learn more about their initiative. 

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