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Waco hopes citywide Music Friendly tag draws attention

Waco hopes citywide Music Friendly tag draws attention

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Music Friendly Waco logo

The Film Friendly city of Waco now can say it’s Music Friendly, too.

The Texas Music Office has certified Waco as an official Music Friendly community, joining 11 other Texas cities earning that designation in the Texas Music Office program.

The TMC recognition will be formally acknowledged by Waco city officials, organizers and music representatives at 1 p.m. Thursday in a virtual press conference on the city’s cable channel, online at wccc.tv, and Facebook Live at facebook.com/cityofwacotx, complete with a five-minute video created for the occasion.

Like the Texas Film Commission’s Film Friendly City designation, which Waco earned in 2017, the Music Friendly label signifies a level of infrastructure and organization that’s useful in promotion, strengthening and attracting business for a city’s music industry.

To win the designation, a community must identify a liaison or representative for music concerns in city government; have partnerships with music-related nonprofits; register with the TMO’s Texas Music Industry Directory and provide updated information to that directory; collaborate with local collegiate and other music education programs; and create an advisory board to address local music industry issues.

“We think Music Friendly is a designation that’s recognizing what’s already there,” said Waco Convention and Visitors Bureau marketing director Carla Pendergraft, who with Waco tourism director Todd Bertka will act as city liaisons with the music community. The CVB also will maintain a Waco music database of performers, venues, organizations and music-related businesses at wacoheartoftexas.com/music.

Music Friendly

Violinist Marion DuBose entertains an interested dog, and Trevor O’Tool’s “Wise Elephant,” at the Waco Sculpture Zoo.

The designation comes almost a year after TMO director Brendon Anthony spoke to a small crowd of more than 100 Waco musicians, arts advocates and music fans about the program, and what was needed for Waco to qualify. A working group led by Bertka, Katie Selman of Keep Waco Loud, Lindsay Liepman of KXXV-TV and Fiona Bond of arts nonprofit Creative Waco led the efforts for Waco’s Music Friendly status after the TMO workshop.

Bond noted several Waco organizations had collaborated on the effort, including the Music Association of Central Texas, Keep Waco Loud, Creative Waco, Texas Music Cafe, Waco Symphony Orchestra, Baylor University School of Music and McLennan Community College Fine Arts Department.

Those groups and more will continue to share information and ideas about Waco’s varied music scene in a continuing effort to expand it, she said. That would include holding workshops and other opportunities for professional development and forums on how to overcome obstacles to success.

The Music Friendly announcement comes as many of Waco’s music venues are closed due to COVID-19 concerns with musicians and venue owners are looking for ways to attract customers.

“Maybe this is the time to do this sort of thing,” Pendergraft said.

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