cover of book

Music/City: American Festivals and Placemaking in Austin, Nashville, and Newport
by Jonathan R. Wynn
University of Chicago Press, 2015
Cloth: 978-0-226-30549-3 | Paper: 978-0-226-30552-3 | eISBN: 978-0-226-30566-0
Library of Congress Classification ML37.U5W96 2015
Dewey Decimal Classification 780.7873

Austin’s famed South by Southwest is far more than a festival celebrating indie music. It’s also a big networking party that sparks the imagination of hip, creative types and galvanizes countless pilgrimages to the city. Festivals like SXSW are a lot of fun, but for city halls, media corporations, cultural institutions, and community groups, they’re also a vital part of a complex growth strategy. In Music/City, Jonathan R. Wynn immerses us in the world of festivals, giving readers a unique perspective on contemporary urban and cultural life.

Wynn tracks the history of festivals in Newport, Nashville, and Austin, taking readers on-site to consider different festival agendas and styles of organization. It’s all here: from the musician looking to build her career to the mayor who wants to exploit a local cultural scene, from a resident’s frustration over corporate branding of his city to the music executive hoping to sell records. Music/City offers a sharp perspective on cities and cultural institutions in action and analyzes how governments mobilize massive organizational resources to become promotional machines. Wynn’s analysis culminates with an impassioned argument for temporary events, claiming that when done right, temporary occasions like festivals can serve as responsive, flexible, and adaptable products attuned to local places and communities.

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