The city motto of Austin is pretty famous. It sums up the city in one fell swoop: Keep Austin Weird. It means keep things local, keep them creative, and keep them unique. It’s a saying that embraces the city’s flavor. I can get behind that.
Austin’s city council is trying to do just that. On Wednesday, April 19, the Austin City Arts Commission held a public forum to respond to City Council’s Music and Creative Ecosystem Omnibus Resolution.
What is the Music and Creative Ecosystem Omnibus Resolution, you may ask? Let me break it down for you, real simple.
The city essentially realized the creative and music ecosystem in the city of Austin is essential in the thread of the community and necessary to ‘Keep Austin Weird’. The formal statement released by the city council states they “are essential keys to the City’s unique and distinctive identity and further are valued as vital contributors to our community’s character, quality of life and economy, and collectively, the Austin music and creative ecosystem generates rich, social, cultural, and economic benefits.”
Long story short, music and music-related tourism pulls in $1.8 billion for the community annually, supporting 20,000 jobs and $40 million in city tax revenue. This means that music is business and business is booming.
Artists feel that the creative industry is struggling to stay alive however, so the city passed a legislative omnibus to:
- Grow and enhance – short-term/immediate recommendations
- Sustain and grow – medium-term recommendations for action
- Build the music and creative ecosystem – long-term recommendations
Within these action steps, there are several legal areas that will be addressed including:
- The city will actively help with outdoor music festivals, approvals, and work closely with creatives to streamline the permit festival as a way to encourage faster approval.
- The city will start immediate aid in repairing communication methods between venues and the city. This means streamlining permit issues, capacity ordinances, and seminars for creatives on problem solving.
- The potential creation of an entertainment license, which would solve the difficulties often presented by noise ordinances and permits.
- The city will work on establishing “hubs,” which will establish and ensure there are enough venues, recording spaces, and collaboration spaces for live music to thrive.
The cultural areas are also huge for the music industry. Austin City Council is looking into an ‘artist and musician safety net’, which provides healthcare, HR, housing, and general guidance for individuals to focus on their craft.
The steps also include venue preservation, venue creation, and diversity programs.
While some cities struggle to support the industry, Austin is working hard to support their musicians. If you’re interested in the up-and-coming music scene, sounds like it’s time to go to Austin.
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