SOUND DIPLOMACY ON THE ROAD: VANCOUVER

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Vancouver is a stunning city.

They call it the ‘city of glass’ and it really is, with imposing steel-and-glass buildings that create impossible reflections; when you match this with Vancouver’s other name - the ‘rainy city’, you begin to truly appreciate the beauty of the landscape.  Katja and I travelled there last November to meet some of the city’s music stakeholders and in January, I went back to learn more about the city’s music ecosystem.

In just under a week, I met around 120 people from Vancouver’s music and property industries and was lucky enough to visit some of the main music spaces in the city, like the 604 Records Headquarters and several venues at the historic and charming Gastown neighbourhood

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Back in November, the 2018 JUNO Award press presentation was hosted at CBC Studios and they announced that this year’s awards would take place in Vancouver, hosted by Michael Bublé and performances by BC-based musicians like the BC Youth Chinese Orchestra.

  Michael Bublé  at the 2018 Juno Awards Nominations - Photo courtesy of  Kingston's K-Rock 105.7

Michael Bublé at the 2018 Juno Awards Nominations - Photo courtesy of Kingston's K-Rock 105.7

We also announced the forthcoming Music Cities Convention which will take place on Thursday 22nd March as part of JUNO Week.  I also attended Vancouver’s Creative City Strategy at Roundhouse, a very beautiful Community Centre that hosts music, conferences and theatre.

Both trips helped us understand the city, its people and their social habits; their wants and needs.  It also brought us closer to key music industry bodies and gave us ample opportunity to take in the city’s night time vibe, which is so important to our work on the city’s music strategy.

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While the city venues are undergoing a crisis, some of the best venues in town still operate, hosting great shows every night.  The city also has a very interesting underground scene and in summer holds great outdoor events, making the most of the beautiful parks and nature spaces the city has. In Vancouver, creativity is merged into the astonishing natural landscapes, and they are both inserted in the population’s DNA.  The whole music scene is highly committed and willing to work together to transform Vancouver into a Music City.

Every meeting we’ve taken, every interview or roundtable we’ve hosted or attended, every venue we’ve been to and every phone-call has lead to the start of conversations among different agents in the city that are all working towards the same objective - to put Vancouver on the map as a Music City.

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The key findings of this project will be presented during Music Cities Forum in March, and the report will conclude in a strategy for the city and the music scene.