Elizabeth Cawein of Music Export Memphis.
In case you hadn't noticed, Memphis is exploding with musical creativity these days. Acts as diverse as Nots, Aquarian Blood, Ghost Town Blues Band, MonoNeon, Motel Mirrors, the Bo-Keys, and Jack Oblivian are traveling the world, each carrying their own vision of the Bluff City with them. Indeed, the road is the surest way to make a livelihood in music. But it's a tough way to make a buck.
How can bands keep taking the Memphis sound to the world, in spite of the touring life's difficulties?
Elizabeth Cawein, of local nonprofit Music Export Memphis (MEM), was contemplating just such a question. MEM, of course, is dedicated to promoting local bands, artists, and studios on a global level, having sponsored Memphi-centric revues and soirees at massive industry confabs like SXSW or AmericanaFest, and promoted cross-cultural exchanges between artists from here and England, among other things.
Perhaps taking her cue from foreign arts programs that often subsidize traveling acts who represent their countries, Cawein hit upon the idea of a local nonprofit that will do the same thing for the Bluff City. Thus was born the Ambassador Grant, a new MEM program just on the cusp of being realized. To kick it off with a splash, MEM is hosting yet another soiree, this time to rally the hometown team. The audience is anyone who wants to support local musicians and the little piece of Memphis they carry on their journey.
Starting with the premise that touring artists based in Memphis will always be sharing the Memphis music story, the Ambassador Grant aims to provide tour support and messaging guidance for them to do it more effectively. MEM is now raising funds to pilot the program with its first-ever benefit, The Tambourine Bash, tonight at Old Dominick Distillery. MEM director Elizabeth Cawein hopes to garner enough support for five to 10 artists, with an initial goal of $10,000.
Artists approved for the Ambassador grant will learn how to share their own Memphis stories. During this training, MEM will help them create content to share (like videos, playlists, blog posts and more) and give them postcards for their merch tables at each show. When they return home, they’ll be asked to provide feedback and some anecdotal reporting.
Artists will be selected for the grant by the Music Export Memphis board based on quality of music, strength of social media engagement and tour schedule. There are no genre restrictions to receive the grant. The dollar amount for each grant will be determined based on the number of dates the band is playing and the geographic reach.
The Tambourine Bash will include craft beer from Crosstown Brewing Company
(included with your general admission ticket), Old Dominick
cocktails designed by mixologist and musician Sean Murphy
(included with your VIP ticket), and live music by The Shotgunbillys
and Chinese Connection Dub Embassy
. Delicious eats by Chef Shawn Davis
, Locals & Legends: A Decade of Erf
, and rockstar photo booth designed by Jamie Harmon
of Amurica Photo.
$25 General Admission, $50 VIP