Accessibility is a unique Branson show tradition

This year, Branson, Missouri is celebrating 50 years of live music shows. Millions of people visit Branson every year to experience its fun, excitement, and entertainment and, to a large number of those people, part of that experience is going to one of Branson’s many shows. In terms of the numbers, variety, and quality of its shows Branson is perhaps unmatched by any other destination city and is often referred to as “the live music show capital of the world.”

Dan Lennon, Vice President Marketing & Public Relations, Branson Convention and Visitors Bureau said that about 80 percent of the millions of people who come to Branson each year go to one or more of its shows. He notes that shows are a “Huge activity for Branson visitors.”

In terms of why Branson’s shows are so popular with visitors Lennon suggested one characteristic that, in terms of the majority of its shows, is unique to Branson, the accessibility of its entertainers. He feels that accessibility helps develop an “up close and personal relationship” between Branson’s entertainers and their audiences that brings visitors back to Branson and its shows again and again.

Branson history indicates that “up close and personal” has been a foundational part of its show tradition ever since Branson’s first two shows, the “Baldknobbers Jamboree” and “Presleys’ Country Jubilee,” started entertaining audiences’ decades ago. Steve Presley, Presleys’ Country Jubilee said, “First and foremost it is a way to connect with the people that come to our shows.” He said it is all a part of developing a relationship with their guests and giving them a positive memorable entertainment experience. Presley expressed his opinion that the guest getting the opportunity to meet, shake hands, get an autograph or picture taken with the entertainer is a big part of that experience.

Jim Barber, Hamner Barber Variety Show, said their show is quite intimate, in that it is designed to engage the audience in a very personal way throughout the production. He continued, “We’re not just performing an act to a darkened auditorium, we’re sharing who we are as individuals. Meeting our guests personally after the show completes that interaction allowing us to get to know them as well. It may only be for a few, brief minutes, but in that time we have made many sincere friendships that have continued for years.”

James Garrett, the star of “A Tribute to John Denver” pointed out that the opportunity to meet and interact with the guests after his show not only enhances their show experience, but gives him a chance to thank them for attending his show. He said, “They are the reason why Branson is one of America’s premier vacation destinations” and “We as entertainers should never forget that.”

Melody Byrd, Group Sales & Marketing Manager, Legends in Concert, said, “It is all about our customer” and developing a one on one relationship with them. She said, “We have a passion for making sure our customer has a great entertainment experience and that includes autographs, pictures, and conversation with ‘our stars.’ She continued, “They love visiting with the customers and the customers love it too! It is the ‘Branson’ way.”