Local Music Lovers Looking to Liven Up Downtown Panama City

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Springfield - A Springfield couple is trying to create more places for local musicians to perform. They say not only could their idea help the music scene, but help revitalize Downtown Panama City. They're getting some support for the downtown establishment.

Crook and Victoria Stewart bought a home in Springfield and renovated it; living in the upstairs and turning the downstairs into a intimate area for friends and strangers to play music. They call it the "Ghetto Palace."

About once a month, when they're home, they host a few dozen musicians and music lovers, both friends and strangers, for a night of entertainment and relaxation. But their dream is to create a network of places where local musicians can play all week.

"You know, the beach has a lot of venues for music," Victoria said, "and a lot of tourists go out there. We'd like to draw more people over here to Downtown Panama City and make it more like a Nashville South or an Austin East, where they have 6th Street or Broadway, Panama City could be that kind of 'corridor.'"

Wednesday night the Stewarts hosted about two dozen people to discuss their idea, encouraging others to open music venues in Downtown Panama City.

Crook Stewart said they were looking "To explore the possibility of bringing live music to multiple venues on or very close around Harrison Avenue."

The idea is getting some traction; Members of the Bay Arts Alliance and some Downtown property owners are showing interest in growing the local music scene.

Crook added, "The marina civic center has been big supporters of us here at the ghetto palace, so, you know, it's a synergistic thing. I think music is the common denominator...Uh...For all people really. "I think for this to work, it almost has to happen organically. For it to stand on it's own two feet, it really kinda has to happen through word of mouth and good publicity, through having the right talent, and having some right business owners downtown having the vision."

If you'd like more information on the Stewarts' proposal and keep up to date, check out 'The Ghetto Palace' Facebook page.