Sunday, February 24, 2013

The World Is Our Stage: Province Aims to Boost Live Music Everywhere

The provincial government recently announced its Live Music Initiative at a press conference in Toronto's Horseshoe Tavern.

This strategy will "promote live music in Ontario to boost concert attendance, visitor spending and economic impact."

Spending in Ontario by arts and culture tourists totaled $4.1 billion in 2010 -- representing 36 per cent of spending by all overnight tourists in the province that year. Within that amount the live music sector generates revenues of about $455 million nation-wide, with about 80% of that in Ontario.

The background article attributes this economic success to

  • the wealth of talent
  • the wide range of venues,
  • the vibrant festivals across the province.

An industry working group is being set up to consider ways to increase coordination and support systems for all kinds of venues and special events, with the main goal of increasing audience sizes, coordinating existing promotional systems and creating new promotional opportunities.

"New online resources" is one of the strategy's objectives. But even more intriguing is that of "positioning Ontario as a premier global destination for live music and music tourism through the province's international marketing initiatives."

This strategy could put Ontario musicians (read Hamilton musicians) into a more prominent place in those multi-million dollar efforts to promote Ontario tourism that we often don't experience because we're not "over there" say, in Michigan, to see them. One trip to Niagara Falls or other major tourist spot shows the results of those marketing efforts.

The big question: what does Hamilton offer now, or potentially, that is "world-class"?  What role will our local talent, venue and festival scene play?