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Playing our tune: Fort Worth CVB turns up the volume

Some famous musicians with Fort Worth ties

Bob Wills

Milton Brown

Van Cliburn

Tommy Allsup

Delbert McClinton

Kirk Franklin

Leon Bridges


Green River Ordinance

Betty Buckley

T-Bone Burnette


Juke Jumpers

Johnny Reno

John Denver

Music can enhance any story, and Fort Worth has plenty of stories.

With that in mind, the Fort Worth Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB) is working to make the city’s stories and music synonymous with each other.

The CVB helped kickstart the nonprofit organization Hear Fort Worth, with creative director Tom Martens serving on the board. It is also working to certify Fort Worth as an official “Music Friendly” city through a new initiative by the Texas Music Office, a state-funded organization based in Austin to promote the music industry in the state.

“The CVB weaves music throughout our storytelling, including video content featuring original songs by local musicians, advertising and marketing materials,” said Jessica Christopherson, director of marketing and film commissioner for the CVB, in a recent interview.

Among the events she noted were Rockin’ the River, Bands on the Bricks, meetings and conventions and international media missions that highlight local talent.

“For example, check out our monthly calendar video. Also, when a group of national, prominent meeting planners were scouting Fort Worth they were treated to a private concert featuring Grady Spencer. Austin Allsup is playing for meeting planners this summer in Washington, D.C.,” she said.

The steps to become a Music-Friendly city include:

*Hosting a Texas Music Office Music Friendly Communities Workshop;

*Establishing a music liaison within a division of city government, such as a CVB, economic development corporation or city office;

*Creating an advisory board that works in partnership with the Texas Music Office;

*Registering a local music office and music liaison with the Texas Music Office’s Texas Music Industry Directory;

*Collecting and sharing local music data with the Texas Music Office.

*Conducting a comprehensive local music industry economic impact study in collaboration with the Texas Music Office.

“The Fort Worth CVB is weaving music into aspects of our storytelling and marketing efforts from print advertising to meetings and conventions to domestic and international missions with the mayor,” Martens said. Martens also noted that Fort Worth has hosted two South by Southwest events in partnership with Hear Fort Worth showcasing local musicians. In October, the city for the second year will be the presenting sponsor of Texas Music Takeover in London, featuring Fort Worth artists Pat Green, Casey Donahew, Abraham Alexander, Grady Spencer Austin Allsup, Luke Wade and others.

“Our next step in partnership with the Texas Music Office is to build a database of local musicians, venues and industry individuals to help show the economic impact of music in Fort Worth,” Martens said.

Though no official music commission has been formed such as the Fort Worth Film Commission, Christopherson said the need to highlight music in Cowtown is evident. Just over a year ago local musician Jacob Furr encouraged them to bring the music community together, which started a conversation in the music community that led to the creation of Hear Fort Worth.

Christopherson said the current development could lead to the creation of a music commission in the future.

She said the idea stemmed from Bob Jameson, CEO of the CVB, saying earlier this year that Fort Worth had “things to do” to increase the economic impact of tourism.

“This is part of our initiative to do that,” she said. “Tourism is growing in Fort Worth. It delivers a $2.3 billion annual economic impact for the city, supporting 22,500 jobs and saving the average homeowner about $600 in taxes.

“We are promoting all the great reasons to visit Fort Worth, from arts, sports, film, meetings, conventions, reunions or just a weekend getaway. Music is an important thread connecting many reasons to visit.”

Among those reasons, she noted Sundance Square’s Bands on the Bricks, Party on the Porch at Amon Carter Museum, Kimbellfest and Rockin’ the River. Billy Bob’s Texas continues to bring renowned acts to town, and the new Dickies Arena is set to open in 2019, enticing more famous artists and bands to Fort Worth.

“For now, we simply want to promote the great things happening in Fort Worth, which is a big part of the vibe that visitors and locals alike enjoy,” Christopherson said. “Leon Bridges [local gospel and soul singer and songwriter] is spreading the word about Fort Worth, and soon Dickies Arena will become our largest music venue.”


Christopherson said that along with the work to advance music in Fort Worth, the Film Commission remains hard at work on 40-plus projects since October. The projects range from independent films to commercials, reality and home renovation shows.

“We have recently hosted scouts for some major studio and network projects that we are not at liberty to discuss, but hopefully there will be some exciting news to share in the coming year,” she said.

Christopherson said a scene from David Lowery’s A Ghost Story was filmed in downtown Fort Worth last year.

“Critics have put the movie on the Oscar watch list,” she said.

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