River Music Experience Has a Mighty Big Impact on the Regional Economy
Tourism is a mighty big business along the Mississippi River. Popular attractions like The River Music Experience know this too well. The Davenport non-profit organization is a major player in the Quad Cities’ music scene, with an annual economic impact of $1 million.
Capitalizing on the Quad Cities’ reputation as a hub for musical festivals, the RME celebrates the heritage of American roots music. It hosts over 100 concerts a year showcasing local talent and top tier national acts. The RME is an advocate and convener of the Quad Cities’ regional music scene, providing professional opportunities, promotion, and support systems for amateur and professional musicians.
Although it survived one major economic recession a decade ago, nothing prepared it for 2020 and the COVID-19 outbreak. The pandemic spared no one during the shutdown – as goes the attractions, so goes the local restaurants, hotels and retail shops. Due to the financial uncertainties surrounding the pandemic and its social distancing requirements, River Music Experience’s immediate future was in serious doubt.
Thanks to an SBA-backed Payroll Protection Program (PPP) loan and the incredible support of Northwest Bank & Trust, the organization was able to stay open and maintain its education and programming staff. The funding allowed it to get creative and develop flexible, innovative programs to reach the community, even during a shutdown.
The RME was established in 2004 as a major initiative of Davenport’s River Renaissance. The collaborative development project was financed through Iowa’s Vision Iowa program, city and county funding and private investors. Over 16 years later, the organization continues to exceed expectations as it changes lives in the Quad Cities through music.
It reaches over 40,000 community members with accessible and inclusive music education programs and live music concerts. Thousands more tune in to a weekly radio show and a daily children’s music program broadcast online and on local television channels.
In addition to its live music venue, the Redstone Room, the building also features The Sound Lab, an educational recording studio for local musicians. The venues, along with its large outdoor courtyard, also provide critical rental income from private events.
As the state begins to recover from the COVID-19 shutdown, the River Music Experience is ready to get back to its roots. The Quad Cities looks forward to the domino effect on the local economy.