The Tourism Product Development group was a group of 12 tourism professionals who studied how the city of Athens’ music assets can increase tourism and visitor spending.  The Athens Music Walk of Fame was chosen for its capability to incubate talent, prioritizing diversity, market music tourism industry, and ensure economic growth.

“Tourism really is a public good, that helps communities be vibrant, and be appealing for the residents as well. So, in addition to the restaurants that are able to thrive with visitor spending, there’s also a vibrant art scene that not only attracts visitors but will attract residents to want to live here because it makes it a better place,” said Hannah Smith, director of Marketing and Communications with the CVB. 

 Why It’s Newsworthy:  Many events have been canceled or shut down due to the pandemic. Activities like this, allows the tourism industry to flourish and bring in people to Athens. 

 

Georgia Recovers Tourism Industry

The Athens Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB) was one of 34 tourism entities across 27 counties who received a combination of nearly $1.5 million in recovery marketing funding for the grant program. The recovery marketing fund was granted to the tourism division of the Georgia Department of Economics to help boost recovery post COVID-19. 

According to Explore Georgia’s 2019 Economic Report above, $350 million comes from direct tourism spending alone.

The Athens Cultural Affairs Commission launched the Athens Music Walk of Fame in September 2020. The project was designed to celebrate the city’s rich musical heritage and promote recovery of Georgia’s Tourism industry from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Athens Music Walk of Fame

Linda Ford, director of Business Services with the Athens Downtown Development Authority, said, “Because Athens is a larger town, they really focused on music tourism. One of the products or projects that they suggested was the Music Walk of Fame. And there had been a lot of talk about trying to do this project for 20 or 30 years.”

The Pylon plaque is located a couple feet away from the Hall Johnson plaque. It is one of the first 10 inductees for the Athens Music Walk of Fame. (Photo/Rachael Simpson)

The Athens Music Walk of Fame takes over a two-block area in downtown Athens by North Lumpkin Street, West Clayton Street, West Washington Street, and Pulaski Street. The walk goes past

renowned music venues like the Morton Theatre, 40-Watt Club, and the Georgia Theatre. It features performers who have shaped Athens musical heritage. 

The Hall Johnson plaque is located outside of The Morton Theatre. The Morton Theatre is the oldest surviving vaudeville theatres in the United States, built, owned and operated by an African American. (Photo/Rachael Simpson)

The Athens Music Walk of Fame currently has 15 total plaques around the downtown area and has an app to accompany the walk. Designed by ThinkProxi, the app allows visitors and residents to experience the sounds and sights of each honoree’s contributions. The honorees include Hall Johnson, Drive-By Truckers, Danger Mouse, R.E.M, Pylon, The B-52s, Widespread Panic, Vic Chestnutt, The Elephant 6 Recording Company, Bob Cole, Neal, Pattman, Nuci’s Space Linda Phillips, Art Rosenbaum, and Low Down & Duddy.

Each year five new inductees will be added to the Music Walk of Fame.

Rachael Simpson is a senior majoring in theatre and journalism in the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Georgia.

 

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