Austin, Harlem, Kansas City, New Orleans, Nashville, and Memphis are among the destinations that capitalize on their music heritage to attract tourists. The following are highlights of these areas:
• The music of Austin has been described as “a little bit country, a little bit rock and roll, with blues, jazz, even a strong Latin beat and definitely a Western swing.” With nearly 200 live music venues, the city is also known as the Live Music Capital of the World. After debuting in 1976, Austin City Limits holds claim as PBS’s longest-running series and is credited with taking Austin music out of the clubs and broadcasting it to the world.
Live Music Centers in USA Photo Gallery
• Dubbed the “Live Music Show Capital of the World,” Branson boasts more than 50 theaters which feature over 100 shows every day. Some 70,000 people daily see shows, pumping $1.5 billion dollars annually into the local economy.
• The longest running shows include The Baldknobbers Jamboree Show (more than
15,000 performances since 1959), Shepherd of the Hills (more than 7,000 performances since 1960), Presleys’ Country Jubilee (more than 10,000 performances since 1967), The Shoji Tabuchi Show (more than 7,500 performances since 1989), and The Finalists Live (more than 4,000 performances since 1992).
Harlem (New York, NY)
• The musical style known as bebop was born in Harlem in the 1940s with jazzmen like Dizzy Gillespie, Charlie Bird’ Parker, and Thelonius Monk. To catch a glimpse of the history, hundreds of tour buses roll through the area in peak season.
Kansas City, MO
• In Kansas City, the 18th and Vine Historic District was where jazz masters such as Count Basie and Charlie Parker produced the swinging signature sound that came to be known as Kansas City-style jazz. Several local clubs and the American Jazz Museum (www.americanjazzmuseum.com) keep the tradition alive.
New Orleans, LA
• Jazz, a combination of many musical styles, including blues, gospel, and ragtime, was born in New Orleans at the turn of the 20th century. Jazz remains a focus of the city’s tourism, with several festivals and clubs throughout the French Quarter.
• Memphis is billed as the “Home of the Blues, Birthplace of Rock n Roll.” Among the area’s popular clubs is B.B. King’s Blues Club. Among the attractions are Soulsville USA: Stax Museum of American Soul Music (www.staxmuseum.com), which opened in 2003.
• Dubbed Music City USA, Nashville has become one of the leading music recording cities in the country. Tourists can visit RCA Studio B, where renowned musicians like Elvis Presley and the Everly Brothers recorded music history, or stop by the famous Bluebird cafe where songwriters and musicians perform nightly. More than 10 music festivals are held annually in Music City. The CMA Music Festival (www.cmaworld.com/cma-music-festival) draws more than 100,000 music fans each year.