On August 29-30 2018 we headed to Cologne, Germany to kick off the third edition of Music Tourism Convention - the first to be held in Germany & mainland Europe - to explore what music tourism means and how cities can benefit from it. We had over 30 speakers and 150 delegates from all over the world in attendance, and we introduced a new feature to the convention which saw us and 75 of the attendees travel to Düsseldorf for a very special music tour of the city.
This year’s theme was “The Importance of Music Genres in Tourism Identity” and Cologne, with its impressive music history, was the perfect location to discuss crucial topics such as music heritage, music trails and guidance, music tourism strategies and economic impacts.
On Wednesday morning we welcomed our delegates to Hotel Pullman, where breakfast awaited, and after a warm welcome from the First Deputy Mayor of Cologne, the Managing Director of the NRW Tourism Board and the Director of Conventions & Marketing for the Cologne Tourism Board, we were ready to set the ball rolling with the first panel: “Let’s Talk About Genre – Learning From Local Customs”.
We then travelled to Mississippi, USA and then back to Europe with a presentation from Liverpool. The morning ended with a panel which aimed to answer the question “How Does Music Fit Into a Tourism Master Plan?” and a performance by Mississippi Music Ambassador Steve Azar, before we headed for lunch which was provided by Visit Mississippi.
After lunch we visited Japan and learned more about the “Northern Soul Movement” and then discovered the “Urban Jungle” of North-Rhine Westphalia, before grabbing pens and paper for Music Cities Events’ iconic roundtable.
Presentations spanning from classical music in Germany to Sydney’s live music ecosystem and from USA’s branding strategy to music tourism’s economic impacts concluded the session: meaning it was time for the evening reception, offered to guests by Visit Vancouver, and for the c/o Pop Festival Reception and Live Show.
On 30th August, a limited number of guests took part in a very special tour of Düsseldorf’s music scene offered in partnership with #VisitDüsseldorf and Lastminute.com. Starting with a double-decker bus ride from Cologne to Düsseldorf, participants then embarked on a walking tour guided by local experts to discover the city’s past and present music landmarks.
Stops along the way included Kling Klang Studio, Salon des Amateurs, Creamcheese and Unique Club; the tour ended at city hall, where lunch was served before a final panel discussion and presentation.
Day 2 ended on a high note with a special performance by Love Machine at Stone im Ratinger Hof, the historic music venue where Germany’s punk scene was born.
This year’s Music Tourism Convention couldn’t have gone better and we would like to thank our partners for making the event possible, as well as all the speakers and delegates for sharing our passion for music and contributing to unlocking the potential of music tourism around the world.
Our next Music Tourism Convention will be held in Liverpool in September 2019 and we’re already very excited! In the meantime, here’s the official event video :).