WACO, Texas – Having been designated a “music friendly city” by the state in 2020, Waco will be using live music events as a way to resurrect the tourism they have lost during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Since the pandemic hit, it’s been on hold. It’s not really safe to have live music,” says Carla Pendergraft, of the Waco Convention Center and Visitors Bureau. “We expect that after the pandemic that it’s gonna come back stronger than ever. We think tourism is gonna come back, and those tourists are gonna want to see live music played by real Waco musicians.”
The growth of the music scene in Central Texas is a strategic way to help the entire economy.
Bringing back concerts and festivals will enhance the nightlife – the most important part of bringing tourist traffic back to the city.
“After you visit Magnolia, after you’ve been to the Zoo and the Ranger Museum, those things are closed at night. So that live music scene gives people a place to go and stay later and later,” Pendergraft said. “The later you stay, the more likely it is you stay overnight, and you stay for yet another day.”
Waco’s climate allows for outdoor performances almost the entire year, and there is certainly a thirst for them – as the city lingers in the shadow of Austin, the live music capital of the world.
“Waco has its own unique live music scene,” Pendergraft said. “People from Austin can come up here and enjoy it and get something a little bit different.”
Some people think Waco may one day challenge Austin for its famous moniker.
“As soon as someone is the Live Music Capital of the World, that is a crown that is begging to go to somebody else,” says Creative Waco’s Fiona Bond. “Waco doesn’t have to try to be the next Austin. Waco just needs to be the very best Waco that we can be.”