Provo’s 100 Block music venues exude cool. It’s the kind of cool that, for a kid like me who grew up in the suburbs, seemed more or less impossible to find in real life — until of course I actually found it. And if you’ve ever visited Velour or Muse Music, you probably know what I’m talking about.
But even if you’ve never gone to either of these places — or even if you hate live music and never plan on going — you should still love them because they’re making all of our lives better, whether we realize it or not.
Earlier this year the Atlantic Cities explained how music venues create vibrant, economically powerful cities:
The Armadillo World Headquarters in Austin, the Metropolis in Seattle, the Cog Factory in Omaha: all legendary music venues that fostered scenes later embraced by local leaders as catalysts for economic development.
In other words, music venues make everyone in a community more prosperous.
The article goes on to point out that a vibrant music scene is precisely the kind of thing that attracts a “highly skilled, mobile workforce that wants first-rate cultural amenities.”
More specifically, the article focuses on Birmingham, Alabama, and discusses how local music draws outsiders to the city — something that Velour has been doing in Provo for years and that Muse Music is also increasingly working at. And as in Provo, venues literally put Birmingham on the map for people who might have overlooked it, therefore bolstering the region’s brand.
The Bottletree’s commitment to hospitality and Birmingham also helps build the city’s emerging brand. “Every venue is a major ambassador for their given city,” Teasley says.
The possibility of a scene or venue acting as a beacon to visitors is an important lesson to remember, particularly for people in Provo who aren’t immediately involved in local music. And right now, as Provo struggles with its official identity, that lesson is more relevant than ever.
As I’ve mentioned repeatedly on this blog, Provo’s 100 Block music venues have surprisingly become some of the most vibrant and stalwart members of the downtown business community. They generate jobs, launch professional music careers, and generally ignite a local industry with an ever-expanding array of satellite ventures. This is a kind of Opera House Effect in action, and does wonders for the city’s mystique.
All of this is to say that places like Velour and Muse Muse aren’t just cool, they’re vital to Provo’s economic success.
As I suggested at the beginning of this post, Velour and Muse Music are easy to fall in love with. For an entire demographic in the city, that’s reason enough to support them. But for everyone else, the economic points – generating growth, jobs, and positive branding — show how this issue touches everyone.
To see this process in action, both 100 Block venues have particularly noteworthy shows this week. Tonight, Velour will host touring artist Damien Jurado. Then, Saturday at Muse Music, two of Provo’s own musicians, Apt and Chance Lewis, will perform their first local show since playing legendary venues in New York and LA.
Both shows should be great, and it’s exactly the kind of thing the article above describes happening in bigger, more famous cities.