California Blog-The Valley of the Sun
Phoenix, it is said, used to be two blocks wide and sixty miles long. Today it encompasses nearly five hundred square miles, bustles with one and a half million souls and has spread out to the surrounding suburbs like Glendale, Chandler, Tempe, Scottsdale and Mesa where another million or so people live.
There was a time when the state of Arizona spent as much as 20 million dollars annually on the arts, but those days are long gone and with the shrinking state arts budget, 1.5 million for 2017, Phoenix and other cities find themselves having to reach out to private endowments to continue their arts support.
Annually in the Phoenix area, over 300 million dollars of revenue is generated by arts and culture. That means each person in the Phoenix area spends about $30.00 annually on the arts. Events like the Tempe Arts Festival and the tourist driven economy of Scottsdale (Old Scottsdale is the equivalent of Albuquerque’s Old Town), the Fountain Hills Great Fair, Festival of the West, McDowell Mountain Music Festival and events surrounding the Fiesta Bowl and other sporting events.
The Phoenix office of Arts and Culture provides 2.5 million dollars in arts grants and spends over 20 million dollars annually on arts, but that includes things like maintenance of public art, upkeep of cultural facilities, the airport arts program and more. Add to that the fact that almost every community surrounding Phoenix spends money on arts, you find lots of opportunities for musicians in the valley of the sun.
There are places to play that don’t present themselves in other communities. There are 55 communities in and around Phoenix that are geared specifically to retirees and snowbirds, those retirees from the north that spend their winters in the Phoenix area. There are over 200 senior living or assisted communities in and around Phoenix. All of these places employ musicians several time s a week and there is competition to get good musicians booked for these facilities. (Hello older players.)
With four pro sports teams in Phoenix, there are always events that require bands and solo artists for both public and private functions that need entertainment and with a temperate climate during the winter months the nightlife actually increases, and there is lots of nightlife in Arizona.