Music Cities Convention Melbourne: April 18-20 2018

Music Cities Convention Melbourne: April 18-20 2018

Our first ever southern hemisphere Music Cities Event was held on April 18-20 2018, with Music Cities Convention travelling to Melbourne, Australia for its 6th and biggest ever edition!

Both convention venues: Arts Centre Melbourne & Deakin Edge

Both convention venues: Arts Centre Melbourne & Deakin Edge

Melbourne, home to more live music venues per capita in the world, was the perfect location for our 325 international delegates and 40+ global speakers. The event theme was 'It takes a village to make a music city', and talks varied from ‘how we can make noisy cities work for everyone’ to ‘what music can learn from sport’ to ‘the impact of cultural policy on music cities policies’.

Our first panel on the impact of cultural policy on music cities policies.

Our first panel on the impact of cultural policy on music cities policies.

The event started with a dinner for our international speakers and with amazing views of Melbourne at the Sofitel hotel. The next day saw the international speakers network with the victorian delegates at the Victoria Live Music Roundtable held at the incredible Bakehouse Studios, and the first main convention day then took place on Thursday 19th April at the Arts Centre Melbourne, with the second day moving to Deakin Edge.

Our panel on the visitor economy at Arts Centre Melbourne

Our panel on the visitor economy at Arts Centre Melbourne

Our official party was held in combination with Melbourne Museum, and a very special Music Cities Convention themed Nocturnal event. The event saw attendees head to the museum at night for live music, food, special giveaways and the chance to roam the museum at night hearing from the museums experts on specially selected musical artefacts.

Nocturnal party at the Melbourne Museum

Nocturnal party at the Melbourne Museum

We launched a number of new aspects at this edition, including the new ‘My Music Cities’ series of talks, which sees a speaker from each continent attend to talk about what’s happening in their city, and through these talks we welcomed speakers from Zimbabwe, Colombia, Netherlands, Australia, China and the USA. Another first for the convention was a panel entirely focused on Asian Music Policy, including speakers from Singapore, India, and Indonesia.

The panel on Asian Music Policy at Deakin Edge

The panel on Asian Music Policy at Deakin Edge

The event was a sell-out, and we welcomed more than 325 delegates from all over the world, including 15 countries, 60 cities and 6 six continents.

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We of course couldn’t have organised the event without our partners, including Creative Victoria and Music Victoria who hosted the event with us, as well as RRR our media partner, The Appointment Group our official travel partner and our supporting partners the City of Melbourne, Green Music Australia, Arts Centre Melbourne and Festyvent.

"The convention is just great. I've had the chance to meet so many people from all over the world...and we've had so many conversations. That's my favourite part." Kok Tse Wei, Deputy Director Music, Singapore National Arts Council

"The Music Cities Convention is a great event. Not only can you share what you're doing in your city, but you can also learn about best practices, share problems and establish a network of corporation with others." Maria Claudia Lopez Sorzano, Secretary of Culture, Leisure and Sport, City of Bogota, Colombi

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Our next Music Cities Convention will be held in Lafayette, Louisiana, USA on October 11-12, with first speakers and the first draft schedule being launch in the first week of June

But for now, you can check out what our Melbourne event was like with our official video.



On April 19-20 2018, global leaders across music, city planning, cultural and community industries and education will come together in Melbourne for the sixth and first southern hemisphere edition of Music Cities Convention.

Music Cities Convention Melbourne is organised alongside the Victorian Government and Music Victoria and the event’s official travel partner is The Appointment Group. The event will be an ideas hub of best practices on the use of music – and all its variants – to improve city life, and the convention will explore the role and impact of music across education, employment, community building, placemaking, licensing and regulation.


Through collaborative panels, keynotes and networking sessions, Music Cities Convention presents the future of music in our cities across the world, focusing on improving urban planning, quality of life, city policy and development strategies through music.

Home to more live music venues per capita, Melbourne will become a knowledge-sharing hub featuring 40 speakers with 300 attendees from Australia and beyond expected to attend the two full days of ideas and discussions.

Convention theme, ‘It takes a village to make a music city: Music Policy from top to bottom’, will include presentations and panels on:

  • Music Policy in Asia

  • My Music Cities – focus on Zimbabwe, North America, South America and Australasia

  • How We Make Noisy Cities Work for Everyone – Australia

  • Chengdu: China’s Music City

  • The Visitor Economy: Music, Tourism and its Impact on Local Musicians and Living Culture

  • SLAM (Save Live Australian Music): The History

  • The New Night Mayors: Lessons from Orlando

  • Let’s Leave Music Cities: The Role of Landowners

  • What Music Can Learn from Sport in the Cities

There will be over forty speakers from all over the world attending, including the USA, Zimbabwe, China, Colombia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Canada, Armenia and the Netherlands.


We’re incredibly excited for this 6th edition of Music Cities Convention and hope to see some of you there!

Sound Diplomacy on the Road: Melbourne

In November, I flew all the way Down Under to represent Sound Diplomacy at Face the Music conference in Melbourne and to do field research for a music strategy project in Brisbane. Both cities greeted me with blue skies, friendly faces and amazing music scenes.

With its population of nearly 5 million, Melbourne is not only Victoria’s state capital - it’s a melting point of cultures (fun fact: it has the third largest Greek population after Athens and Thessaloniki), creative people, food and music. It’s also a pure treat for the senses of anyone arriving from the northern hemisphere at this time of the year.


Melbourne is home to Face the Music - a friendly summit for the local and international music industry. It takes place during the Melbourne Music Week in various locations, such as the marvelous St. Paul’s cathedral and open stages on Federation Square.

Face the Music celebrated its 10th edition with numerous panels, workshops and an international focus on Germany, which is the reason I was invited to speak there, giving Australian artists tips on making it in the German market.

Together with the other international guests, I enjoyed the chance to visit a few of the city’s legendary music locations, such as the Bakehouse Studios. Having played host to the likes of Nick Cave, Cut Copy and Cat Power over its 25 years, Bakehouse is a true local institution that managed to survive the waves of ongoing urban redevelopment in the area. Located on Melbourne’s busiest urban thoroughfare, this is a unique multi-studio and rehearsal space where every room has been designed by a different visual artist that, in turn, inspires musicians. Check out the fantastic Oh Pep!, who played an acoustic set in one of the main rooms.

We couldn’t miss a short stopover at Cherry Bar in the CBD, which is not only rumoured to be Lady Gaga’s hang of choice when in town, but a trusted staple on the local nightlife scene, where waves of happy patrons dance to metal karaoke till the early morn. Oh, and did I mention it’s located on Melbourne’s very own AC/DC Lane?

From big performance halls and open-air stages, to gritty alleys and hidden warehouses, Melbourne offers so much to the music-hungry! I can’t wait to be back for Music Cities Convention in 2018 and hope to see you there.

I would like to thank everyone at Creative Victoria’s Music Passport programme for making this trip possible, and the lovely Face the Music crew for showing me around.

Stay tuned for even more Australia as I share my favorites from Brisbane!


Photos by Sound Diplomacy, Music Victoria and Face the Music.