MEM is the brainchild of Memphis music publicist Elizabeth Cawein, owner of member Signal Flow PR. A few years ago, Elizabeth was walking through the expo halls at AmericanaFest and was amazed at how well represented the Mississippi Blues Trail was with booths, brochures, maps and more.
“Man, was I frustrated that Memphis was nowhere to be found,” she said. “I remember thinking that Nashville was only three hours down the road. How ridiculous is it for Memphis not to be represented as an Americana music destination?”
Elizabeth attended more of these music events across the country and began to feel strongly that a Memphis presence was needed. So in January of 2015, the idea for MEM was born. Earlier this year, she approached us – the Greater Memphis Chamber – with the concept, and we thought it was a natural fit for our economic development and talent attraction efforts.
“Music Export Memphis will assist in our economic development efforts, using the sound of Memphis as we promote the great reasons to do business in the Bluff,” said Phil Trenary, our President & CEO. “This initiative will also be a vital tool in our efforts to recruit and retain talented individuals who desire to live in creative cities.”
There’s an obvious link between having a viable music scene and a healthy, thriving city. (I’m sure you can name a growing city or two with a popular music scene.) So we’re partnering with Elizabeth and MEM to support our musicians and create opportunities for them to tell the story of our city, so we can attract more jobs, more investment, and more talent!
“By exporting one of our greatest assets, we’ll create invaluable national and international showcasing opportunities for our musicians, empowering them to be our city’s best ambassadors,” Elizabeth said. “We’ll also give outsiders a taste of the personality of the Bluff City designed to entice them in for a short trip (tourism) or a long stay (talent attraction and business development).”
MEM kicks off at the AmericanaFest on Saturday, September 24th with the Memphis Americana Picnic from 12:00 PM – 6:00 PM at The Filming Station for badge and wristband holders. Attendees will enjoy Memphis food and bear, giveaways from I Love Memphis, the Amurica photo booth and more.
But – best of all – will be the performances of local Memphis musicians:
· Memphis Ukulele Band
· Mark Edgar Stuart
· Deering & Down
· Motel Mirrors
· The Bo-Keys
· Rev. John Wilkins and His Three Daughters
And that’s not all Elizabeth has planned for MEM. She’s already sketching out a plan for SXSW in Austin, TX for March as well as other music festivals and conferences – everything from A3C to Folk Alliance to NAMM. But she’s also interested in working with entities like the Chamber, Memphis CVB and Choose901 to identify opportunities to plug musicians into recruiting trips and other out-of-town promotion events – and not just in the U.S. but also abroad.
“I’d love to see us curate a stage of Memphis music at an international festival in the future, and I’m currently working on exchange opportunities that would give Memphis musicians the chance to showcase overseas and collaborate with foreign artists.”
To learn more about Music Export Memphis, follow @MusicExportMEM on Twitter or like them here on Facebook.