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|On the Scene|
|Monday, July 12, 2010|
BY EMMA HALL
Alternating between saxophone, drums, vocals and turntables, the one-man musical stylings of Boy Eats Drum Machine (Jon Ragel) made quite an unusual act to grace the stage of the elegant Governor Hotel Grand Ballroom. Older regulars in business attire nodded along to the music as they shared tables with young Portland musicians at the Portland City Club Friday Forum on July 9. "Small city, big scene," an exploration of Portland's indie music scene, was the topic of the lunch.
Metro Council president and self-proclaimed music enthusiast David Bragdon moderated the panel. It featured four local guests: founding member of Gang of Four and co-founder and president of Pampelmoose Dave Allen; local musician Rachel Blumberg of the Decemberists; local artist and owner of record label Tender Loving Empire Jared Mees; and folk singer-songwriter Laura Viers.
The music industry officially generates about $158 million annually in statewide earnings and employs about 4,500, but those figures don’t capture the constant influx of artists pouring into Portland to be part of the scene.
"There should be as much support as possible for all creative arts in Portland, because it is a big driver of our economy," Allen said. "The music scene is much bigger than we seem to understand at times, especially with its financial impact."
"We can't build a competitive city off the base of 'well, we're just a cheap place to live, and everybody's going to live ten to a house,'" Bragdon said.
Emma Hall is web editor for Oregon Business.
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