I've always thought that Austin, Texas, and Ottawa are in many ways very similar cities. Austin is a state capital and Ottawa is a national capital. Both are mid-sized cities with almost identical city and metro populations. Both cities have large student populations and are home to major universities. Both cities are overshadowed by two much larger neighbouring cities – Dallas and Houston in the case of Austin, Montreal and Toronto in the case of Ottawa. Both cities host major music festivals.
Austin has successfully billed itself for a number of years as the Live Music Capital of the World. Ottawa is in many ways Canada's live music capital, boasting an exciting and enviable lineup of successful music festivals. Unfortunately, due to a lack of vision at the municipal level, these events, and Ottawa’s status as a top-tier live music venue, are not well-known outside of the region. The moniker of "Live Music Capital of Canada" has not been claimed by any city in the country – it is Ottawa's for the taking. The city has a unique opportunity to step out of the federal shadow and put itself on the entertainment map.
I think it's time for Ottawa to think big and raise its profile as a live music hub. This would serve to increase tourism and event attendance, encourage promoters to book more events and concerts in Ottawa, and dispel the myth that Ottawa is dull, lifeless city.
I've created a Facebook group to spread the word about a possible "Ottawalive" marketing campaign.
What do you guy think?