The Nashville LGBT Chamber of Commerce is the premier advocate of the Greater Nashville Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender business community, representing over 150 businesses in Nashville and the surrounding area. The Nashville LGBT Chamber of Commerce advances common business interests, economic growth, and equality in the workplace and society for its LGBT members, businesses, and allies by providing educational, networking, and community building opportunities.
The Nashville LGBT Chamber of Commerce hosted its most successful annual fundraiser, TASTE, on November 19th at the Nissan Stadium West Club. Event proceeds will provide education, resources, and advocacy for LGBT professionals. This was our largest TASTE gathering ever, as we welcomed 400 guests – up from 275 last year - that sampled an array of food and beverages from 30 vendors throughout the Nashville area.
Chamber of Commerce board member, Jack Davis, was the event chair. TASTE benefited from his expertise in designing events and festivals with his company, Good Neighbor Festivals. Jack said, “I am proud of the amazing growth of this event. Nashville has a plethora of food tasting events, but vendors and guests continue to tell us TASTE is one of their favorites. We have benefitted from the right combination of venue, leadership, sponsors, volunteers, vendors, marketing, and purpose. The desire to support the LGBT community inspires so many people to support this event, and it has resulted in one of the best tasting events in Nashville. We look forward to a larger and more successful TASTE in 2018.”
Jack has managed large scale events for 16 years, starting out with arena management. He made the shift to outdoor festivals and concerts when he founded JD Events and Festivals four years ago. His company now hosts 18 events each year in Nashville and Louisville. Jack says of the recent name change to Good Neighbor Festivals, “We don’t just see ourselves as ‘events and festivals’ people. We serve as neighborhood and community partners, working with local organizations to build meaningful events that will become a part of the region’s larger story year after year.”
Indeed, each of these outdoor festivals focuses on a particular theme, whether its art, music, specialty food and drink, LGBT Pride, or just community togetherness. And yet each draws an eclectic crowd – young and old - of groups friends, couples, and families (and their pets) gathering in the open streets and parks of their neighborhoods. Good Neighbor Festivals kicks off their season with Edgehill Rocks the first Saturday in April, and ends with Music City Winterfest at Centennial Park in December. At each of the 18 events throughout the summer and fall, festival goers can explore a wide range of music, sample from an array of Nashville’s amazing food vendors, select the perfect piece of art, or enjoy activities with their friends and families, Readers are encouraged to check out these events and mark your calendars for 2018!
Jack says that Good Neighbor Festivals “strives to create long lasting festivals that support the communities we love.” He speaks of the same type of togetherness and support when talking about the Nashville LGBT Chamber of Commerce. This is the first year that Jack has served on the Board of the Chamber, but he has been a member for several years. Jack says of the Nashville chapter that, “It is much more approachable because of its size than larger Chambers can be. It’s intimate. And the LGBT group watch out for each other, so members are more apt to connect with each other very quickly.” And yet it is large enough to have a tremendous impact on the businesses that get involved. Jacks says that, “the Chamber is a great connector between local businesses and big corporations here in Nashville.”
Membership in the Chamber has certainly benefited Jack and his company. Many of the sponsors they secure for their festivals have come from relationships he has built through the Nashville LGBT Chamber. Jack has registered Good Neighbor Festivals with the National LGBT Chamber of Commerce and attended their conference in Las Vegas earlier this year to expand the reach of his business partnerships.
Jack says that both large and small businesses can enjoy the same type collaboration aimed at growth and success through festival sponsorship. Doing so provides a great opportunity for businesses to activate consumers, launch marketing programs, sample and demo their products and services. He appreciates that “many local businesses have done a phenomenal job at our festivals.” And he loves to see small businesses use festivals to test markets and hone in on what their sales are and expand from there. Jack says, “We reach thousands of festival goers every year, reaching every neighborhood in Nashville and connecting with a huge cross section of the broader community.”
Good Neighbor Festivals develops and manages all facets of these events, from marketing, promotion, and sponsorship sales to strategic planning and production of the events. And they work with potential sponsors to discover the right fit for them. A lot of companies assume that sponsorship always requires a large financial commitment, but they do want local businesses to sponsor at lower levels.
Jack says that they do get a lot of employees from companies inquiring about establishing a partnership with their employer to co-sponsor one of our events. That’s most common at the Kentuckiana Pride and Nashville Pride festivals, but does apply to all of the events they produce. Jack says that in those cases Good Neighbor Festivals will work with that employee on how to present the idea of sponsoring a local festival and setting up a meeting for his company to connect with corporate executives. Jack says that, “sponsorships are partnerships to us. They have to work for both parties. And every relationship is different. We professionally manage many of the region's biggest festivals, and we'll work closely with you on every detail.”
For more information about events in 2018, or to discuss a partnership between your business and any of their 18 annual events, please visit http://goodneighborfestivals.com/events/
Written by: Craig Ammon