I had the privilege of attending the Governor’s Conference on Hospitality and Tourism last fall with the town’s tourism coordinator, Karen Tindal. The final session we attended was about hosting songwriter events, and in my mind, the topic was only germane to those from Nashville or Memphis. But Karen had other ideas. We spent the drive home discussing how much live music happens in Farragut and how we could use that to attract visitors.
Music is big business in Tennessee, and the Tennessee Department of Tourist Development has effectively used it to attract visitors from across the globe. (To learn more, click here.) When the state recommended that tourism organizations create events featuring songwriters during the last week of February (a slow time for tourism), Karen listened.
The result is the inaugural Farragut Songwriters Showcase, which will feature two shows at the Farragut Casual Pint, 143 Brooklawn St. The first is a “Ladies’ Night” performance featuring three female songwriters at 7 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 21, and the second is a songwriters-in-the-round performance featuring four artists at 7 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 23. As it turns out, budding singer-songwriters are happy to perform if you give them a venue and free publicity.
Some might say that such an event doesn’t draw tourists, and that’s true if a hotel stay is a requirement for “tourism.” But every dollar spent in Farragut creates tax revenue, and we absolutely believe this event will sell beer and wine. We also believe that the showcase will be bigger next year since the new Farragut Community Center has a performance venue. When the plaza is completed at the Campbell Station Inn, the town will have an additional venue.
We already know that Farragut loves live music. The Lawn Chair Concert Series, held in the summer at Founders Park at Campbell Station, has grown every year since it began in 2015. Food trucks and kids’ activities make this a popular family event, and MamaJam Productions does a terrific job of lining up local and regional talent. MamaJam also produced the Sounds of Summer Concert Series last year when it moved to the Farragut end of Turkey Creek Shopping Center.
Each week, Karen puts together a list of live musical performances happening within the town. Cotton Eyed Joe, Wild Wing Cafe, Water Into Wine, Mind Yer Ps and Qs and Casual Pint all offer music on a regular basis, and those events are featured on the Weekly Download, which can be found at VisitFarragut.org or the town of Farragut’s Instagram page.
This spring, the town will install a permanent stage at Founders Park to create a better space for performers, and First Watch celebrated its fifth anniversary by donating to the project. Music is a great way for neighbors to connect, but we also think it’s a great way to draw the larger community to Farragut. And when they come, we hope they’ll buy dinner, a beer and maybe a new pair of running shoes.
Come out and support local musicians at the inaugural Songwriters Showcase. You’ll be supporting Farragut, too.
Wendy Smith coordinates marketing and public relations for the town of Farragut.