Alpine designated as Music Friendly City

Alpine’s Tony Curry, Amelie Urbanczyk, Chris Ruggia, and Eden Hinshaw of the Swifts play at the Holland Hotel in Alpine. 

The Big Bend area is well known for its vibrant music scene. Now that Viva Big Bend recently wrapped up its first ever virtual format, the City of Alpine has received kudos from the Texas Music Office, and Alpine Director of Tourism Chris Ruggia is excited to announce the good news. The Texas Music Office is a statewide program with the primary purpose of acknowledging the state’s music industry to further economic development.

During a city council meeting in March, the city approved the establishment of a Music Advisory Board. The board has met informally a couple of times to obtain feedback on Alpine’s music industry, as well as bringing ideas together and talk about partnering with other communities.

Ruggia aims to hold the first official meeting in the next month or so. He was named liaison to the governor’s music office for the city, and he oversees advisory board meetings. The board features a mix of local venues, musicians, and events, and he assures that ideas from the community are heard.

The board consists of Viva Big Bend producer Stewart Ramser, Artwalk’s Keri Blackman, musicians Neil Trammell of the Doodlin’ Hogwallops and Eden Hinshaw of the Swifts, Sul Ross State University music professor Jeffrey Meyer, Monica Quiroga of Old Gringo Coffee and Cocktails and Chris Puckett of the Railroad Blues.

In February, Gov. Greg Abbott celebrated the 30th anniversary of the Texas Music Office.

"Texas has developed a vibrant music industry statewide thanks to the Texas Music Office's tireless efforts in the past 30 years," said Abbott. "In the last year alone, the Texas Music Office's economic impact study showed that the industry generated $23.4 billion in economic activity, and helped to create more than 209,000 direct and indirect permanent jobs in communities large and small around the state.”

The City of Alpine was officially recognized as a Music Friendly Community during a virtual ceremony held during Viva Big Bend Weekend on July 25. Having Alpine designated as a Music Friendly City serves as a promotional tool, and a collaborative effort between city and state resources can help guide Alpine’s music scene, according to Ruggia.

“Alpine is a strong arts community,” said Ruggia. “The music advisory board serves as a forum where the music community can get together and share their experiences. Perhaps we can think of programs that give people more places to play, programs that may make the ways they perform more profitable for the individual musicians so they can make a living. Until COVID-19 shut everything down, Alpine already had a vibrant music scene, but my hope is that this can help to make it even more so.”

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