Wooks band to open local Brand USA campaign

Owensboro tourism video tops 1 million views

Last year, Brand USA selected Owensboro as one of its Top 10 American music cities.

And next month, the marketing effort begins.

“Brand USA is America’s marketing arm,” Dave Kirk, destination management director for the Owensboro-Daviess County Convention & Visitors Bureau, said this week. “They’ll be marketing us internationally.”

And that could mean a lot of international travelers in the future.

At 4:30 p.m. on May 9, the CVB will join with Kristen Branscum, Kentucky’s Department of Tourism commissioner, Brand USA officials; the Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame & Museum; the Greater Owensboro Chamber of Commerce and others on the third floor of the Hall of Fame for the announcement of the marketing plans.

“You can’t buy this kind of attention,” Kirk said. “It’s not normal to have this much music in a city our size.”

The other nine places in the Top 10 are much larger than Owensboro — Austin, Texas; Detroit; Miami; Las Vegas; Minnesota; Mississippi; Nashville; New Orleans; and West Hollywood, California.

“It’s not just the bluegrass museum,” Kirk said. “It’s also because of Friday After 5, the city’s Live on the Banks and Bluegrass on the Banks and all the other music venues in town.”

“This is a big opportunity for Owensboro,” Mark Calitri, CVB president, said of the Hear the Music promotion. “We’re working on a campaign in this country as well.”

Videos about each of the cities are already online.

Calitri said the Owensboro video — at https://vimeo.com/316908379 — has had more views so far than any of the other nine places.

“We’re at more than 1 million views so far,” he said.

The Wooks, a Lexington-based bluegrass band, is featured in the Owensboro video.

They’ll be performing a free concert for the general public in Woodward Theatre in the Hall of Fame at 6 p.m. May 9.

Although the concert is free, people need to go to https://www.bluegrasshall.org/event/the-wooks/ to get a free ticket.

The Wooks — CJ Cain, Harry Clark, Roddy Puckett and George Guthrie — won the 2016 RockyGrass Band Competition in Colorado and was a finalist in the 2017 Telluride Bluegrass Festival Band Competition.

They also showcased at the International Bluegrass Music Association’s Fan Fest last year.

The Wooks performed at Owensboro’s ROMP Fest in 2016 and 2017.

Brand USA, a public-private marketing group, was created in 2010 to “encourage and inspire travelers to explore America’s boundless possibilities.”