Nashville getting new symbol
Posted: Monday, February 20, 2012 11:00 pm
NASHVILLE (AP) — The guitar, an iconic symbol of Nashville’s music scene, is beginning to play second fiddle as a visual icon for the city.
Musical notes and symbols are emerging in Nashville’s logo as city promoters seek to illustrate the variety of sounds here.
The Nashville Convention & Visitors Bureau, the Grand Ole Opry and the local musicians union are in tune with the trend.
The acoustic guitar, as the primary instrument in country music, became the unofficial symbol of the city years ago. Performers from Hank Williams to Garth Brooks have played one.
But in recent years, the guitar hit a sour note with Nashville’s business promoters.
The city rolled out a “Music City” branding campaign about seven years ago, and the music note subsequently evolved as a favorite. Chances are that Nashville’s 11 million annual visitors may see as many music notes around town as guitars.
The amicable divorce signals Nashville’s enhanced ambition to be considered a world center of music and not just the epicenter of blazing fiddles and country music weepers with themes about falling off barstools.
Brent Cunningham, a Nashville street musician since 1999 who plays his guitar downtown, notes the trend.
“This is Music City, not guitar city,” he said, pausing after singing the Cajun song “Fais Do Do” outside one of Nashville’s ubiquitous boot stores. “Really it’s ‘music world’ because the best musicians in the world are here. Not just guitar players, but mandolin pickers, fiddle players, sax players.”
The convention and visitors bureau has been using a music note on banners beside the stage at city-sponsored events on July 4 and New Year’s Eve. It’s used on city wrapping paper, set designs and apparel. During the New Year’s Eve countdown to midnight, television viewers across the country watched a brightly-lit red eighth note drop down a scaffolding track in the Nashville entertainment district.
The note also is used on some of the bureau’s branding and promotional materials and amenities sold at Nashville’s visitor center and given to clients.