Thursday, January 19, 2017

Positive Letters from the Public

The Town of Abingdon received these two letters from the public regarding January Jams. Thank you to these two people for the positive feedback and lettings us share your experiences with others! 

Hello all! 
I love living here for many reasons, one being that I get to see live shows from music legends in the beautiful Appalachian town of Abingdon. My husband and I, and many of our friends, attended the January Jams for 3 nights in a row this past weekend, which is my inspiration to write to you. The shows were spectacular! We honor and cherish the tourism office's dedication and tireless work to bring folks together to celebrate our culture and introduce us to talent only bigger cities have the luxury of experiencing. 
I represent myself and my friends in this correspondence. We are young professionals who range from school teachers, to medical personnel, to small business owners and more. We are so grateful for the tourism office's professionalism and hard work. Whatever role you play in bringing great music to Abingdon, we thank you, too! And please thank anyone else involved in Abingdon's awesomeness that I may have forgotten in this email.
We look forward to our continued support of the tourism office's events.
Kind regards,
Michele L. Goodbread 

Respectfully to all involved:

As long time Washington County residents my wife and I wish to express our enthusiasm and appreciation for the existing and continually evolving entertainment options in Abingdon and the surrounding areas. I speak with many people about this, and for those less familiar with our great town and its many offerings I tell them this: Abingdon has been a great place to live and a magnet to tourists for many years. However, recently the options have only diversified and increased -- primarily the options for live music performances. 

I have seen a direct correlation between this and the number of younger and not so young people attending shows in Abingdon. Many of these people would not necessarily choose Abingdon as an entertainment destination; however, many will tell their friends and return themselves simply because of the outstanding quality of the productions brought here by some visionary folks. We have a good friend who plans her family visits back to this area around some of the musical shows at The Barter. I have personally met and spoken with countless numbers of people attending Thursday Jams who are from out of the area, and attracted to the festive atmosphere and quality of the shows -- and return. Many have been unfamiliar with the The Creeper Trail, and return for that experience. Many were here because of The Creeper Trail and then learned of our musical offerings and return for those.

We attend regularly the Thursday Jams, and have attended several January Jams at The Barter. We have seen nationally touring, nationally recognized groups that are rarely seen in towns this size. The show I am in particular referring to this past Sunday night was absolutely a world-class experience, as have been any others we've attended there. From the level of talent and creativity of the musicians, to the professionalism of the Barter production crew -- including the state-of-the-art sound and lighting -- to the inviting ambience of The Barter itself, the overall experience is simply unparalleled in the area.

I do not intend to discredit or diminish the other opportunities for live music. Our entire area is seeing an explosion in high quality original new music of all genres, with many very talented local musicians as well. There is something for everyone. There are venues for everyone. We love to see shows in our home of Abingdon, but also attend Bristol Rhythm and Roots, in itself a world-class three day festival. There are wonderful intimate small stages where you feel you are as much a part of the performance as the musicians themselves. One is the up close and personal performance stage at The Birthplace of Country Music Museum in Bristol.  I also must mention The Willow Tree in Johnson City, with its plentiful shows and large variety of music and other performances. Check their frequent performance schedule and pay this truly warm and inviting gem a visit. Live music lovers more and more realize that our entire region, from Marion to Johnson City to Asheville is incredibly rich with a diversity of amazing new music. In my opinion it is a shortsighted mistake if this were ever viewed as competition. I believe in reality it is the opportunity for collaboration and sharing in this artistic wealth, which will only benefit and enhance the reputation of our region, and correspondingly benefit the towns individually as well.

We applaud the foresight of the town's planners in realizing adding more arts and entertainment options is not so much a change of the status quo, but an enrichment to our lives and community, and to the lives of the additional visitors attracted to this now even more vibrant than ever "famous small town". We are thankful for the embracing of the arts here, and especially on a personal level, as this supportive and nurturing atmosphere has allowed our daughter to continue to live here while pursuing her dreams of a career as a visual artist and entrepreneur. I tell everyone that the more I travel, the more I am delighted to call Abingdon home. It is a beautiful, special, welcoming, artistic and evolving gem full of amazing and special people, and I hope that never changes. Thank you sincerely for all you do.

Stan Blankenship

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