Monday, July 27, 2009

Jazz and tourism can go hand-in-hand

In a year when more than a few jazz-related entities have been on the ropes, closed their doors or reinvented themselves, it is interesting to see that the aura of jazz remains alive and well.

The hipness, the essence of cool, the going against the grain, a music that doesn’t appeal to our least-common-denominator culture has always been a branding hook for advertisers.

Now, Massachusetts is hoping jazz can help promote tourism in the commonwealth.

A new marketing initiative that includes a 40-page MassJazz Travel Guide, as well as online listings, details hundreds of outdoor and indoor concerts, jazz festivals, nightclubs, radio programs, hotel brunches and jazz connections for out-of-town visitors and Massachusetts residents – from Provincetown to Pittsfield. The Massachusetts geography covered seems a bit fuzzy, as the online directory also includes the annual jazz festival in Newport, RHODE ISLAND.

“Our goal is to offer jazz as a new way of showcasing the many cultural and hospitality amenities Massachusetts has to offer,” says Executive Director Betsy Wall, of the Massachusetts Office of Travel & Tourism. MassJazz founder Michael Quinlin developed the campaign with Massachusetts Office of Travel & Tourism, Berklee College of Music, Tanglewood Jazz Festival and other jazz advocates in the state.

Organizers hope to develop music education as a tourism product too, from the offerings at Berklee and other 21 schools, as well as summer jazz courses offered at local universities and cultural venues.

The MassJazz Travel Guide is available free of charge in tourism centers around the state, in local concert venues, jazz clubs, hotels and restaurants – and is being distributed to incoming conventions, tour operators and travel agencies throughout North America and to select international outlets.

If it helps the music - and the musicians – this is a good thing. That should be the bottom line.

(For up-to-date information about jazz activities year round, visit

1 comment:

  1. Ken,

    Many thanks for mentioning MassJazz in your blog today.

    We are very keen to develop a stronger connection between mainstream tourism efforts and jazz, a cultural treasure that often get overlooked when defining tourism destinations.

    You astutely noticed that Newport's jazz festival is included on our essentially Massachusetts website. We felt a strong obligation to include Newport, given Mr. Wein's lifelong contributions to jazz and due to Rhode Island's proximity to Massachusetts. We also recognize, from a tourism vantage point, that many attendees to Newport make their way into Massachusetts before and after the festival, heading to Cape Cod, Boston, the Berkshires or other places.

    Thanks again, and we'll keep you posted as the project develops. Have a great summer.

    Michael Quinlin