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Niagara Falls eyes leveraging the power of the city’s music scene

Niagara Falls eyes leveraging the power of the city’s music scene
The City of Niagara Falls is working on developing a Music City strategy.The City of Niagara Falls is working on developing a Music City strategy.

A survey launched by the City of Niagara Falls for input as part of efforts to have the city develop a strategy to have the Honeymoon Capital also known as Music City has now closed, and the next step will be a report from city staff on how to develop a strategy to achieve that goal.

The city said the goal of the survey, which closed Feb. 21, was to “identify the challenges and opportunities that music ecosystem participants face and to identify the common goals between local creators and industry leaders to ensure a healthy and growing local music ecosystem that reflects the depth and diversity of Niagara Falls.”

The survey asked respondents questions such as which licenses or restrictions pose the greatest difficulty: noise regulations, event permits, liquor regulations, copyright, permission or payment to use copyrighted work.

It also asked what the best ways are that the city can support artists or music industry executives or organizations, and asked what extent those entities depend on interacting with other musicians, rehearsal spaces, booking agents, record labels, music venues and educational institutions.

In a recent “South Niagara Conversations” podcast hosted by the South Niagara Chambers of Commerce and local radio stations, Angela Davidson from the City of Niagara Falls economic development office said the Music City designation could help to raise the profile of the city’s music scene.

“The city along with tourist partners are also heavily focused on Music City ideas,” she said. “We have a lot of assets when you look at Queen Victoria Park, the (Niagara Falls) Convention Center, the infrastructure out at Firemen’s Park when you look at their amphitheater.

“We have a lot of assets to do some outdoor performances and music shows and something that we’re really focused on … as well, and trying to bring it to life, is really making Niagara Falls Music City,” said Davidson.

“That’s something pretty exciting that we’re working on and I think it’s going to be great for residents and tourists alike.”

The city is working with a Sound Diplomacy consultant on developing the Music City strategy and said in a recent business development newsletter that music can be a powerful economic generator in Niagara Falls.

“The music sector in Niagara Falls makes significant contributions to the social and economic fabric of the city by providing a vehicle for cross-cultural expression, creating jobs, encouraging tourism, and strengthening the city’s brand,” the city said.

“As Niagara Falls looks to better leverage its music and cultural economy, it is necessary to assess the current state of affairs and ensure that a well-designed strategy is in place to fully optimize the power of music as both a cultural asset and an economy engine.

The city said the objectives of the strategy include developing Niagara Falls’ identity and vision as the Entertainment Capital of Canada, driving tourism receipts through music tourism, finding out what music assets the city has and what is lacking, and creating a sense of community by bringing the city’s music industry together.

Michael Warchala, an economic development officer with the city who is working on the strategy, said staff are still working with stakeholders for additional engagement. Plans were originally for a draft staff report on the strategy in March, but plans now call for a final report with recommendations and actions needed to get moving on the strategy by about June or July, he said

Warchala said the project stems from an application the city made to the federal Tourism Relief Fund designed to help the tourism sector recover from the pandemic.