It all began last summer when Kelly Rapone began to note all of the musical events popping up throughout the week.
They weren’t just the typical weekend happenings, she said, as there were also new offerings from restaurants, bars and other venues.
“Our office spends many, many hours collecting, and rounding up countywide events to add to our tourism website. So it's a very robust calendar to begin with. But when I started to see all the live music, kind of like taking over, I was like, you know, there really is something here that is special, and isn't really being promoted at the level that I think warrants,” Rapone said during an interview with The Batavian. “And that literally, there is something nearly every night of the week going on here.”
As tourism marketing director of the Genesee County Chamber of Commerce, Rapone believes that these types of observations can mean something to the community. As a “niche” marketer, she looks at the specific trends in relation to Genesee County, and even though musical offerings vary from blues and country to jazz and rock ’n’ roll, she found the niche of live performances — everywhere.
“I don't tend to paint our county with a broad brush. But I do, when I see a little niche, I really claw into it, and I run with it. And this is what I see going on here, in that it's not literally just about the musicians in the band. But it's what these businesses are doing to attract an economic impact into their facilities,” she said. You know, music and entertainment is really driving attendance at venues that normally might have a quiet Monday night or a Tuesday night.”
So she ran with the idea to serve up all of these events in one collective space for easy access. And Jam in Genesee was born. The website lists all sorts of musical happenings, from concerts in a park to the Jackson Square summer series, featured music nights at restaurants and live band appearances at taverns, bars and breweries. And anything in between.
When she typically sees a total of 300 to 400 events go on the Chamber calendar for the year, Rapone has been surprised to have received 100 submissions just for music events alone so far, she said.
A quick look at the website is evidence of the varying events going on locally, including concerts at Darien Lake Amphitheater, Batavia Downs Gaming, Copperhead, Flyin’ Eagle, Jam at the Ridge, and Centennial Park; plus open mic nights, karaoke and acoustic performances at assorted bars and restaurants.
“We all are aware of the larger concert venues and the larger musicians that come into the area, but, I mean, the county is just chock full of these events ranging from small bars and restaurants to parks and festivals, all the way up to Batavia Downs and Darien Lake,” said Steven Falitico, director of sales and marketing. “So that's what this program does, is, it brings it all under the same kind of power or under the same roof and allows for us to promote it that way instead of individually.”
To get the scoop on current and future musical events, go to Jam in Genesee. Events can also be submitted at the site, and Rapone is hoping that restaurateurs take advantage of that opportunity to promote their music schedules. There is also an option to sign up for the Chamber’s E-newsletter with updates about the live music scene, she said.
“The beautiful thing about this is that it shows that we are a vibrant place to visit, and there's something going on for entertainment nearly nightly,” Rapone said. “And I think that makes a destination very attractive in terms of things to do in the evening when you're traveling places. It's really just another notch in our belt of what more we are able to say, that you can experience here in Genesee County, and have a good time.”