Pickin' a New Musical Image for Bristol
'Pick Bristol' is the Twin City's newest effort to draw tune-loving tourists to the 'Birthplace of Country Music.'
By ROGER BROWN | BRISTOL HERALD COURIER | June 21, 2010*** This story appeared June 18, 2010 in the Bristol Herald Courier. ***
BRISTOL, Tenn. – The area's heritage as the birthplace of country music – and as a hot spot for current music – will be featured in a new tourism campaign announced Thursday by the Bristol Convention & Visitors Bureau.
"We're the birthplace of country music and we're staking that claim," said Matt Bolas, executive director of the Convention & Visitors Bureau. "No one else can have that."
Bolas made the hearty boast during a Thursday afternoon ceremony at the Paramount Center to kick off "Pick Bristol," the marketing effort to draw music-loving tourists to the Twin City.
During the ceremony, part presentation and part pep rally, campaign boosters also revealed the official logo for "Pick Bristol," a red guitar pick bearing the slogan in gold letters, along with a new website, http://www.Pickbristol.com, promoting local music events, musicians, venues and other cultural attractions.
"It's a relaunch of the music scene in Bristol and maybe of the city itself," said David Jacobs, director of Tombras Interactive, a Knoxville-based marketing firm that helped the bureau create the campaign.
Jacobs said the tourism push will sell visitors on Bristol by capturing the "creative and musical energy" on both sides of the state line.
"This is the first song of an entire album we hope to write about Bristol," Jacobs said of the campaign.
Bolas said the time is especially ripe to boost Bristol as a musical attraction because recent research has shown the city is a popular Northeast Tennessee spot for out-of-town travelers between the ages of 29 and 49.
That age group is a popular marketing target because of its income levels, ability to travel and passion for music, according to Bolas.
"This is a segment we can really carve out," Bolas said.
The Paramount Center event also featured a live performance by These Undowners, a local quartet that ripped through a stirring version of "A State Line State of Mind," an original song honoring Bristol's musical reputation.