I read the article below and wasn't terribly surprised at the study's findings. Outside of two weeks annually, tourists expecting Blues music all over Beale Street in Memphis were disappointed. Save for BB King's and The Rum Boogie, cover bands and DJs dominate the venues.
The problem isn't just with Beale Street , of course. Club owners everywhere seek the quick buck and pander to drinking youngsters and they figure the kids want DJs, karaoke, and cover bands. I wonder whether the cost of security and janitorial staff justifies this strategy.
Could this eventually happen in Chicago, where escalating rents and taxes close businesses everyday? I'd like to think that there are plenty of folks and club owners who truly love live Blues in Chicago... but things change and love is not enough. The real truth is that as long as there's money to be made, the support for the music will be there. This is where Tourism Bureaus, Chambers of Commerce, and local media come in - these entities play a vital role in bringing people to the city. Look at the rise of Clarksdale - Roger Stolle was just profiled in The Economist. Live Blues is an investment that will pay dividends if given the time to do so!
There's money on the table, Memphis, blues money - wake up!
The story from WHBQ is here.