Nashville “Open for Business” as It Bounces Back from Flood

NASHVILLE, Tenn. –In the aftermath of record-breaking rains that led to widespread flooding earlier this month, Nashvillians from all walks of life have risen to the challenge to get the city back up and running.

The “volunteer state” spirit is shining through, with thousands of everyday Nashvillians engaged in a monumental community service effort, businesses supporting businesses, and Music City’s recording industry stepping up with benefit concerts and donations.

As a result, though significant work remains in some residential neighborhoods, the music plays on in Music City, and Nashville is “open for business” for residents and tourists alike – in fact, hotel occupancy rates are up significantly over this time last year.

This weekly recap is intended to provide the national media with a snapshot look at what’s happening on the ground here in Nashville.

THE MUSIC PLAYS ON

  • Nashville Convention & Visitors Bureau president Butch Spyridon encourages out-of-town folks concerned about the flood to “make your donation in the form of a vacation. Come visit Music City now.
    • The famous honky-tonks are still open 24/7, the Grand Ole Opry has not missed a show and is taking place at various historic sites around Nashville (visit opry.com for details), all downtown hotels are open, the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum is open.
    • The city’s annual CMA Music Festival, which draws tens of thousands of visitors from around the world, takes place June 10-13, and a special “Nashville Rising” benefit concert hosted by Tim McGraw and Faith Hill on June 22 is also expected to draw thousands of visitors to town.
    • Ticket sales for the CMA Music Festival are already 37 percent higher than last year, and the event is positioned to be the best in the history of the organization. Half of the proceeds from the Festival this year will go toward flood relief efforts.
    • For a complete look at upcoming events in Nashville, visit Now Playing Nashville.
  • Nashville’s CVB has launched an aggressive national marketing campaign featuring well-known Nashville celebrities (e.g., Darius Rucker, Ke$ha, Martina McBride, Carrie Underwood, Kid Rock) stressing the “Open for Business” theme in public service announcements, YouTube videos and advertisements.

BUSINESSES BAND TOGETHER

  • Most Nashville businesses were not affected by the flood.
  • Estimates are that at least 1,649 businesses across the city sustained flood damage.
  • At the direction of Mayor Dean, the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce quickly established a Business Response Team that is working with other community organizations to help those businesses in need.
    • The Business Response Team is reaching out to businesses to donate, volunteer or provide in-kind services to give businesses that have been affected the best chance of recovery, and to ensure that the entire Nashville economy remains strong. Information about this effort can be found at http://www.nashvillechamber.com/flood.
  • The Nashville Convention Center is open, and it is business as usual for tourists and conventioneers downtown.
  • Hotel occupancy rates are up in Nashville despite the flood: Last week, occupancy was up 20 percentage points from last year, representing a 36.6 percent increase.

NEIGHBOR HELPING NEIGHBOR

  • Nashvillians from all corners of the community have taken personal responsibility for helping their neighbors through this crisis, an eye-opening sight for national officials and agencies from out of state who have “seen it all.”
  • The nonprofit organization Hands on Nashville has coordinated the official volunteer effort, assigning volunteers who register online to specific recovery projects around town.

CREATIVE COMMUNITY LENDS A HELPING HAND

  • Some of Music City’s biggest names have stepped up in a big way to help in the relief effort:
    • On May 16, GAC aired Music City Keep On Playin’, a national telethon featuring artists such as Brad Paisley, Keith Urban, Dierks Bentley and Lady Antebellum. So far the televised concert, which was sponsored and produced by GAC, Gaylord Entertainment, and the Nashville CVB, has raised more than $1.8 million.
    • Pop artist Ke$ha, who grew up in Nashville, will play a fundraiser to benefit displaced families and animals on June 16.
    • Taylor Swift donated $500,000, which will go directly to various flood relief organizations.
    • WSMV-TV Ch. 4’s “Flood Relief with Vince Gill & Friends” telethon helped raise more than $1.7 million for The Salvation Army, The Red Cross and The Second Harvest Food Bank.
    • For the CMT Music Awards on June 9, CMT One Country is partnering with sponsor Rhapsody® to make donations on behalf of all nominees. Through Wednesday, June 16, proceeds from the purchase of any 2010 CMT Music Awards-nominated song from Rhapsody.com will go to CMT One Country to support Tennessee flood relief.

WHAT OTHERS ARE SAYING

“If there is a silver lining, it’s that the world is getting to see Nashville at its best through this tragedy.” Grammy Award-winning artist Brad Paisley, as quoted in the New York Times, May 17, 2010

“Across Tennessee, there’s also a great network of nongovernmental organizations, nonprofits – and particularly the faith community – who stepped forward and (did) a terrific job of responding to needs. And it’s also been a very heartwarming sense of neighbors helping neighbors in a fairly unprecedented way here – great hospitality in the people.” Joe Becker, American Red Cross senior vice president, May 6, 2010

“The great story out of Tennessee was the level of participation of volunteers – faith-based organizations, local responders … in support of the recovery phase.” FEMA administrator Craig Fugate, May 6, 2010

“It’s important that we recognize the tireless work of all involved at the federal, state and local levels. But the team can only be as strong as its most important members: the general public. I’ve spent several days in the state, and Tennesseans have shown what can be done with volunteers working side by side local officials, and neighbors helping neighbors.” FEMA administrator Craig Fugate, May 9, 2010

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

Contacts

Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce
Stephanie Pepper, 615-743-3067
Spepper@nashvillechamber.com
or
Nashville Convention & Visitors Bureau
Andrea Arnold, 615-259-4715
Andrea@visitmusiccity.com

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Published in: on May 28, 2010 at 3:51 PM  Leave a Comment  

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