The Coahoma County Tourism Commission approved executive director Bubba O’Keefe being able to sign application documents for the CARES Act Relief Fund during a special meeting Friday afternoon.
“It is to promote Clarksdale travel and local businesses. It’s just to promote travel,” said O’Keefe, adding it would be for after the coronavirus.
O’Keefe said he would not have any other information until he received the grant, but did talk about the importance of letting people know about Clarksdale during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We’re trying to keep Clarksdale out there,” O’Keefe said. “We have live blues music every night of the week. That’s happening all of the time.”
Tourism board vice present Roger Stolle agreed it was important to have blues music every night of the week.
Stolle was part of the effort long before the pandemic to make sure there was live blues in Clarksdale seven nights a week, 365 nights a year.
Since the pandemic, Colleen Buyers has been the main catalyst to make sure there has been live music every night virtually through Live from Clarksdale.
Stolle has been helping Buyers in her efforts.
“The best marketing and promotion mechanism we have had through the pandemic I see has been our continuation of 365 days a year of the live blues scene,” Stolle said. “Now, we have had to take most of it online. As we’ve reopened Mississippi a bit, we did some live in person events, social distanced, etc., but primarily it’s been online, thanks to livefromclarksdale.org, which Colleen Buyers has been managing.”
Stolle said that allows Clarksdale to stay in daily contact with many tourists from around the US and world, who are repeat visitors. He also said new people are being reached, which could benefit Clarksdale after the pandemic.
“People are absolutely hungry for live music, live blues entertainment,” Stolle said. “Their only window to the outside world in many cases right now is the smart phone and computer.”
Stolle said Clarksdale has made a connection with many of those people.
Stolle said the tourism commission is looking to build on that with regional tourism.
“In addition to the Live from Clarksdale music stream, we’re also through Visit Clarksdale tourism, we’re working to promote regional tourism, trying to pull people in from the states surrounding Mississippi as well as neighboring towns, whether it’s for a couple of hours to eat and shop or to spend an overnight whether they can see music or not,” Stolle said. “So we’ll be making a push towards that in the short term. Ultimately, we’ll, of course, land back sometime next year to promoting seven nights a week in-person live music.”
More information can be found at https://www.visitclarksdale.com/