Who says you need buzz? In downtown Lynchburg, they prefer something with a beat.
In a newly minted music video just released this week, a slew of downtown merchants come together to inject a little rhythm into the district’s revitalization efforts.
“Get downtown,” a mystery man whispers at the start of the video while a hip-hop beat builds in the background. “Get downtown.”
“Got to get into my car and go take a ride down to the 0-Foe,” he croons. “… Why stay home lounging around? There’s plenty to do. Just get downtown!”
Camm, the architect of both the song and video, said he saw the project as a new way to get people excited about downtown. Throughout the course of the 3 minute, 49 second video, close to 40 different downtown businesses are either mentioned by name or featured in cameos from staff members all spurring people on with the same message: Get downtown!
“I just wanted to bring some energy and some fun,” said Camm, who’s worked at the Holiday Inn since it opened in 1984. “Anything I can to do help energize downtown revitalization. That’s what the whole project was designed for … It’s fun, you know? I walk down the street and people yell out their car, Get downtown!”
The video has already gotten more than 1,200 hits since being posted on Tuesday and downloads of the song are available for purchase on iTunes. All proceeds will be donated to the downtown advocacy groupLynch’s Landing, where Camm serves as a volunteer board member, to support promotional projects.
Camm said it only took him an hour to write the song and he recorded it in the middle of the night with help from friends at July-Gemini Entertainment. The video was shot over the course of two Saturdays by prowling the district’s streets and drafting volunteers.
“Tony is one of our regular, wonderful customers,” said Marisa Catalano of Catalano’s Delicatessen, whose staff is among those who make an enthusiastic appearance. “He just came in one day and asked us if we’d be willing to participate in his video. At the time, I had no idea how big it was going to be.”
Catalano said she was blown away when she heard the song later and saw the video.
“I love it,” she said. “I think it’s awesome. He is obviously a very creative person and very involved in downtown and bringing exposure to the businesses in downtown. I’m just really pleased with how it came out. I’m looking forward to everyone seeing it.”
“He did a fantastic job,” she said. “The response has been phenomenal. People have been commenting constantly on my Facebook page about it. It’s just going rampant.”
Keeling, who’s been running her store for more than 20 years, said she liked that the song put a spotlight on different downtown businesses.
“It’s a wonderful sampling of what we’ve got,” she said.
Downtown has recently welcomed several new businesses, including places that were already established in Lynchburg, such as Fat Tuna and Scene 3, that chose to move into the district.
Catalano’s Delicatessen opened just four months ago. Downtown was the only place they wanted to be when they were scouting locations.
“We felt really strongly about being part of the revitalization that’s happening,” said Marisa Catalano, adding that they’ve found a “great sense of community” in downtown.
“It really is a close-knit group of people, I think,” she said, adding neighbors support each other and their businesses. “Hopefully, downtown will continue to grow as more and more residents come in and more and more businesses move in. It’s just really exciting to be a part of that.”
Camm, who’s also involved in organizing next month’s Get!Downtown street festival through his work with Lynch’s Landing, is already making plans to build on the momentum of the video. He’s toying with the idea of putting out T-shirts with the “0-foe” slogan, a play on downtown’s 24504 ZIP code.
“04 was too stuffy, so it’s 0-foe,” he said laughingly. “Hopefully, it will catch on and become a phrase and people will think it’s cool to come and hang out in the 0-foe.”
Camm said he hoped people enjoyed the video and share the song, which he described as a catchy beat that people of all ages could appreciate.
“And it tells you exactly what we want you to do,” he joked. “You don’t have to decipher. We want you to get downtown!”