Today representatives from Birthplace of Country Music, Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion, Believe in Bristol, and Pick Bristol gathered media and members of city and local governments to the City of Bristol, VA School Board Office Conference Room to reveal details of the Virginia Tourism Corporation's economic impact study researched during the Gentlemen of the Road Tour Bristol Stopover. The research company Chmura Economics & Analytics was contracted by VTC to perform the study over the course of the August 11, 2012 weekend, combining the impacts of event staging and visitor spending.
Gentlemen of the Road generated $5.1 million in tax revenue for the cities of Bristol alone," says Believe in Bristol Executive Director Christina Blevins, "in the state of Virginia visitors spent $6.7 million. It's amazing that one event in our cities can generate that much income."
This was welcome news to Birthplace of Country Music and Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion.
"Though a formal economic impact study was not performed during our festival," says BCM/Bristol Rhythm Executive Director Leah Ross, "we now have a better understanding of the impact Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion brings to our region over the course of three days."
It is estimated that 50,000 people converged on State Street in September for Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion.
A video produced at Gentlemen of the Road Tour by Virginia Tourism Corporation was also displayed where members of Mumford & Sons spoke openly about their decision to choose Bristol as a site for the event.
"We thought it would be more of an effort, you know," said Mumford frontman Marcus Mumford, "to convince them to let us do it here. But they were just like, open arms arms straight away."
"We dropped in an had a look," said band member Ben Lovett, "and we just fell in love with the people here."
When speaking of Downtown Bristol, Mumford's Winston Marshall commented "It's so quirky, it's immediately endearing."
Representatives Jeff Cuellar and Patrick Roddy from AC Entertainment, the Knoxville-based company contracted by Mumford & Sons to organize the event, presented a check to Birthplace of Country Music for $26,125.89 during the press conference. The donation will be split between Birthplace of Country Music, Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion, and Believe in Bristol for the part each organization played in getting volunteers to work during the event.
"A concerted effort was made by AC Entertainment to hire locally for vendors and staff to work the event," stated Bristol Convention & Visitors Bureau Executive Director Matt Bolas. "We couldn't be more grateful to them for giving back to our community and for their generosity."
"Working with Bristol was hands-down the best experience I've had since I've been in the business," said AC Entertainment Director of Connectivity Jeff Cuellar. "It's something I'll remember fondly for the rest of my life."
When interviewed later by local media. Cuellar noted that AC Entertainment has been in talks with other artists to bring more events like Gentlemen of the Road to Bristol. Given the results of the economic impact study, and the feel-good sentiment coming from the cities of Bristol, it's an opportunity everyone looks forward to embracing in the future.
The Virginia Tourism Corporation video and full economic impact study can be viewed online at BristolRhythm.com. For more information, contact Birthplace of Country Music at 423-573-1927.315560