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Jacksonville, Fla. named ‘Best City for Culture’

Jacksonville, along with the rest of the Northeast Florida area, was voted “Best City for Culture” for meetings and conventions, according to ConventionSouth magazine.

The magazine’s readers and Facebook fans voted for cities they considered the best places to hold a meeting based on their culture and music scene. They also chose Jacksonville as No. 4 in the “South’s Top 10 Music Spots for Meetings & Events.”

“We couldn’t agree more with voters!” said Paul Astleford, president and CEO, Visit Jacksonville. “One of the top selling points we use to attract groups to Jacksonville is just how diverse and eclectic our city is, how vibrant our culture scene is and the fact that we are home to world-class museums, annual music and arts festivals, and plenty of unique nightlife venues that carry on that southern rock heritage that we are so proud of in Jacksonville.”

According to ConventionSouth magazine, cities with a rich musical heritage and vibrant music scene, plus relevant cultural attractions, bring an added layer of excitement to a meeting or event. This allows meeting planners to create unique themes, infuse upbeat rhythms, and increase attendance and attendee engagement during meetings and events.

“What makes our cultural scene extra appealing to meeting groups is that most of Jacksonville’s music and arts attractions make excellent venues for meetings, conventions and other special events,” said Bob Meyer, director of convention sales and services, Visit Jacksonville.

Full of intriguing art and theatre choices, Jacksonville is home to Florida’s best Symphony, a Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA), The Cummer Museum of Art and Gardens, a Museum of Science and History (MOSH), a Museum of African American History (The Ritz), a Broadway Series, a monthly Art Walk, the longest running professional dinner theater in America, The Alhambra, and the oldest continuously operating community theater in the country, Theatre Jacksonville.

When it comes to music, Jacksonville has an extensive musical history as the home of southern rock. The Allman Brothers formed their band in Jacksonville in 1969, and Lynyrd Skynyrd — who achieved near cult status — emerged from Jacksonville in the 1970s. Molly Hatchet and .38 Special followed in their footsteps in the late 1970s, and the transition to other genres started with the national success of Limp Bizkit in 1994, followed by the 69 Boyz, Quad City DJs, Yellowcard, Red Jumpsuit Apparatus and Shinedown.

Jacksonville’s live music scene is still very much active with downtown venues in the Elbow district, including Burro Bar, Burrito Gallery, Dive Bar, Dos Gatos, 1904 Music Hall, TSI Discotheque, Underbelly, the Florida Theatre and Mavericks at the Landing. The Riverside and San Marco areas are home to venues like Birdies and Jack Rabbits, and Jacksonville Beach welcomes thousands of music lovers annually at Freebird Live.

“River City by the Sea” also hosts dozens of festivals that include the nationally recognized Jacksonville Jazz Festival every Memorial Weekend as well as the Springing the Blues Festival in Jacksonville Beach, and the Funk Festival in downtown Jacksonville.

“Jacksonville is a world-class city of culture. While we’ve known this here for some time, it is rewarding and inspiring to see our deep pool of arts, culture and creativity recognized,” said Tony Allegretti, executive director, Cultural Council of Jacksonville.

Both special recognitions from the magazine come at a time when both Visit Jacksonville and the Cultural Council are launching a joint campaign to promote Jacksonville’s Cultural offerings to a national and international audience. The “#JAXCulture” campaign includes a promotional video that can be found online at http://hubs.ly/y08sZt0.

Jacksonville’s latest accolades will be featured in the October 2014 issue of ConventionSouth magazine in their “South’s Top 10 Music Spots for Meetings & Events” and can also be found online at www.conventionsouth.com/musiccities.htm.

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