Street Spirit: A better music scene is best for all

Friday, April 13, 2012

If you're sitting at the breakfast table reading this column, you probably get up early and pretty much never go out for live shows. Why should you care about Cape Girardeau's music scene?

And if you're reading this after jamming downtown last night, you're probably thinking this is all much ado about nothing. Why wouldn't I be writing about more pressing A&E matters, like theaters, casinos and the like?

Yes, we have a vibrant scene already, but it is far removed from its potential. Recent developments, like the rise of local promoters Bloom Heavy and ever-developing venues, are helping our musicians get exposure near and far. But, as always, no local musical culture can grow without the support of the people it aims to entertain.

And supporting local music can positively affect many different sections of the community. Cities with vibrant cultures of music and art seem to be especially attractive to knowledge-based businesses and all sorts of creative professionals. In theory, if there's a stronger music scene, Cape Girardeau will do a better job of retaining its brightest, most ambitious young adults. A more consistent music scene will also spawn positive press and enhance tourism.

And despite their reputation as slackers and slow-witted Neanderthals, your local musicians can be just as fascinating as an area artist or author. While some musicians support themselves solely through performing, most are also involved in something else, such as education, design or production. And, like local rock legend and club owner Timexx Nasty, musicians are often especially engaged citizens who are willing to invest in resurgent neighborhoods and dilapidated buildings.

No single person is in charge of creating a better scene, but the crucial needs of our music scene are enthusiasm and creativity. It's a collective goal that will be reached if passionate residents support each other's efforts.

And a stronger scene would bring broad benefits to the city, even to those who never even think of heading out to a club.

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