Music Cities Events

MEET OUR U.S. LEAD ELIZABETH CAWEIN


As Sound Diplomacy announces plans for American outpost, get to know our first boots on the ground

Guest post by Elizabeth Cawein.


I don’t remember the exact day, month or year that I became obsessed with music – I imagine it really set in far too early for my recorded memory – but I do remember when I became obsessed with music and cities.

It was 2015, and I’d been spending the better part of the year working to build a nonprofit export office in my hometown of Memphis that would focus on leveraging our music for talent attraction, tourism and economic development, while creating a needed pipeline for our musicians to grow their national audiences. In the midst of that work I’d become interested in the interesting ways other cities – in the U.S. and across the globe – were approaching supports for their music ecosystems.

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Enter Sound Diplomacy and the Music Cities Convention, the first-ever in the states, held at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. in October of 2015. I saw a Billboard story about the conference by chance and was immediately intrigued. But it was just a few weeks away, so I figured it wasn’t practical to try to make it work. I decided to check flights, just in case, sure that the last-minute price gouging would make the decision for me.

Somehow, the flights were hovering around $115.

Almost as soon as I closed my Kayak.com search tab, I had an e-mail from my husband – he would need to be in D.C. at the end of the month for a conference. The exact dates of the Music Cities Convention. If I didn’t think it was kismet then (I did), I certainly know it was now.

That one-day event left me feeling the best kind of exhausted: my brain absolutely swimming with ideas, my passions ignited, and my preconceived notions smashed. I was hooked.

At the close of the conference I marched up to Shain Shapiro, Sound Diplomacy President and Founder, and asked what I needed to do to bring the Music Cities Convention to Memphis. Two years later, that’s exactly what it did. The Memphis edition of Music Cities Convention, held in October 2017, was in a way the beginning of my working relationship with Sound Diplomacy, as I spent a year working with them to put together the conference programming and logistics.

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A year later, I had the pleasure of working with the Music Cities team again for the Music Cities Convention in Lafayette, La., handling publicity and marketing for the convening. And in January of this year, we made it official. I’m thrilled to join the Sound Diplomacy team, especially at such an exciting time of growth with the opening of a new U.S. home base.

The reality is that America traditionally has lagged behind the rest of the developed world when it comes to funding and supports for arts and culture, so to see so many U.S. cities interested in thinking about innovative ways to grow their music ecosystems and understanding the broad impact that a healthy music community can have for their citizens is exciting, and I hope a sign of a paradigm shift ahead. The prospect of being invited to so many incredible places to discover their music cultures and to help them realize the potential in their own cities is a thrill for my music-and-cities obsessed brain, and an honor.

And beyond my hometown of Memphis – one of America’s richest and most important music cities – Sound Diplomacy is already working with some of my favorite American music hubs: New Orleans, Muscle Shoals and San Francisco.

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I also can’t wait to discover the music of Indianapolis, Fort Worth, and Huntsville. (And so many others I can’t mention just yet!) What I know to be true is that music makes our cities better. It drives economic impact, it creates jobs and attracts talent. It invites people to our cities, brings in hotel tax dollars and creates cultural connection through tourism. It improves education, it brings life to our neighborhoods. It gives us pride in a shared civic identity and makes us invest and care deeply in who we are as a city. And when our musicians thrive, our cities are full of creative people who can very often bring creative solutions to civic problems.

When our musicians thrive, our cities thrive. I’m driven by that belief, and lucky to be part of an organization that believes it, too.


SOUND DEVELOPMENT 2019 - ROUND UP


MUSIC, HIGH STREET REGENERATION AND COLLECTIVE ACTION

Guest post by Kat Hanna.


To kick start the Sound Diplomacy events calendar for 2019 and to engage with an increasingly hot topic concerning the urban planning and culture sectors, we hosted Sound Development, our quarterly mini-series discussion at East London’s newest destination, Republic.

We’ve invited our event chair Kat Hanna to provide an overview of the discussion from the event.

Tuesday February 5th, Republic, East India Dock


Whether it’s the almost daily announcement of closures or the empty units that have left high streets looking like gap-toothed smiles, the need for high street regeneration is hard to avoid. Yet while the symptoms of their struggle may be obvious, the cause is harder to diagnose. Too much retail. Not enough quality retail. The rise of online shopping. The decline of community.

As any well-assembled panel will tell you, the answer, of course, is that many high streets are struggling for a number of reasons, and so their regeneration will require a range of solutions. What these solutions have in common, however, is the ability to bring together a range of people to a specific place. In doing so, high streets not only offer what online shopping cannot – shared, embodied, human experience and interaction.

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The evening provided many examples of how music can help address the symptoms of a struggling high street. Dave Gray from Wrexham talked about the transformation of a former JJB Sports store into a community hub, focused around music, yet flexible enough to host exhibitions, meet-ups and all manner of events. Architects Tom and James Teatum emphasised the benefits of high streets that accommodate a range of uses, including residential and manufacturing, rather than simply retail.

But to use music to simply fill empty retail units is to overlook the full potential of music – not just as a source of demand for space, but as a vital contributor to local economies, communities, and individuals themselves. Just as Julia Jones was keen to point out the regenerating the high street should be about more than rescuing retailers, music should be used to generate human interactions, as well as just cash transactions.

Too often, the social and retail functions of the high street are presented as being in opposition to one another. In the recent past, there is perhaps some truth in this, as we today lament the passing of high street chains many communities once blamed for killing off independents. Yet as our discussion revealed, what works for the retail functions of the high street can also work for its social functions, and vice versa. Here’s three key takeaways that stand to benefit both these aspects of a successful high street.

  1. A range of spaces can attract a range of uses: A diversified high street means of mix of uses, and a mix of spaces. This requires a supportive, and perhaps more flexible planning system that encourages co-location and celebrates, or at least tolerates activity (including when its noisy and nocturnal). It requires developers to understand the nuanced needs of potential tenants, providing space suitable for both the production and consumption of music. Contrary to some assumptions, this does not always need to be specialised – as Achar Dillon of Killing Moon pointed out.

  2. Experience is everything: What high streets brands sought to offer based on cost and convenience can no longer compete in the age of online shopping. If retailers want to generate footfall, they must provide what cannot be offered with the swipe of a hand. Music may not be the only way of creating this experience, but its universality, adaptability and accessibility make it a particularly powerful way to do so. As Jennifer Wood from Southwark council highlighted, these qualities make music an increasingly common feature in social prescribing – addressing social, physiological and physical problems with non-medical, community-based solutions.

  3. Communicating value: The ability of music-related uses to animate or adapt of underused or ‘awkward’ spaces should not prohibit long-term investment in real-estate that supports the industry. This requires the music sector to focus on setting out its value, to local economies, high streets, and communities, ensuring that the sector is valued in its own right, not only as a tool used for placemaking or promotion.

As Lawrence Jones from Trilogy emphasises, these principles extend beyond the built form of the high street. Successful spaces, including workplaces, are those that offer a mix of experience, that encourage interaction between users, and that can adapt to a range of use, not just during the lifetime of a building, but the daily routines of an individual.


About the Author, Kat Hanna:

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KAT HANNA, ASSOCIATE DIRECTOR, URBAN CHANGE, CUSHMAN AND WAKEFIELD

An experienced urbanist and researcher, Kat Hanna has worked in London politics, planning and policy for the past seven years. Her research interests include urban economies, transport, and the relationship between technology and the built environment. Kat joined Cushman and Wakefield in 2017, focusing on long-term mixed-use development projects in London and trends in how we live, work and move around in cities.

Kat regularly appears as a commentator on urban affairs across a range of publications, media, and events, and was shortlisted for the EG Rising Star Award for 2018.


NOCTURNAL CITIES: MUSIC CITIES EVENTS DELVES INTO THE NIGHT


The Launch of Nocturnal Cities: Music Cities Events

November 2018 will be a very special month for Music Cities Events and Sound Diplomacy, as we will launch not one, but two brand new events dedicated to the Night Time Economy!


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Our first ever Nocturnal Cities Forum will be held in Truro, Nova Scotia on November 3, 2018 as part of Nova Scotia Music Week and will gather 150 delegates from all over Canada and the world, to participate in a full day of presentations, panels, and roundtable session in which we will explore the relationship between city planning, strategy, development and the night time economy.

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On November 22, 2018 we will travel south to Bogotá, Colombia, for our first Latin American Nocturnal Cities Conference. The event will discuss, debate and introduce new thinking on how to develop more vibrant night time economies, as well as on how to better manage the urban night. This event is a co-production between Sound Diplomacy, Bogotá Mayor’s Office and Bogotá Chamber of Commerce, and the event will also celebrate the fact that Bogotá is a designated City of Music since 2012 as part of UNESCO’s Creative Cities Network.

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We truly believe that the night is just as important as the daytime and it is crucial to carefully plan those hours in order to create a safer and more dynamic environment for residents and tourists alike. We are proud to be able to start a dialogue on such topics in the beautiful cities of Truro and Bogotá and we are very excited for what’s to come!

Learn more about our Nocturnal Cities events here.

Download our new “A Guide to Managing your Night-Time Economy”, co-written with Andreina Seijas. Available in both Spanish and English.


MUSIC TOURISM CONVENTION - ON THE ROAD


MUSIC TOURISM CONVENTION COLOGNE

29-30 August 2018 • Cologne, Germany


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.

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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”.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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 :)


Music Cities Forum, Indianapolis: May 8, 2018


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This May, we held our second edition of Music Cities Forum and first to be held in the US. Indianapolis, Indiana was the host and the event included panel discussions, presentations and collaborative round tables, with attendees and guest speakers exploring the theme: 'Outlining A Music Strategy for Indianapolis and understanding its impact on Indianapolis' growth, competitiveness and creative development.'

Speakers were invited from Denver, Austin, Memphis, Atlanta and London UK to provide key insights for Indianapolis on how a music strategy for Indianapolis could be developed.

Lauren M Pacheco and Jennie Devoe discussing the needs and challenges of the artist community.

Lauren M Pacheco and Jennie Devoe discussing the needs and challenges of the artist community.

Hosted at intimate local live music venue The HI-FI and the historic Fountain Square Theatre, the day involved a range of presentations and panel discussions with music industry experts, artists and civic members.

Elizabeth Cawein, Sean M Starowitz, Chris Ghal and Linda Broardfoot discussing the role that music plays on tourism and economic development.

Elizabeth Cawein, Sean M Starowitz, Chris Ghal and Linda Broardfoot discussing the role that music plays on tourism and economic development.

All proceeds from the event were donated to Musical Family Tree a not for profit organisation with the mission of sharing and supporting Indianapolis’s music.

The forum, centred around harnessing the value that music can bring to Indianapolis, explored the needs and challenges of the local artist community, the restrictions and needs of the business economy, how to navigate local policy, as well as the effects that music can have on tourism and economic development of a city.

“Music impacts a city, and specifically bridges art and entrepreneurship, like few things in life,” said Indy Chamber President and CEO Michael Huber. “As Indianapolis continues to build momentum in a 21st Century economy, it needs a talented, creative workforce to support future growth. Music and the creative class help us build a more diverse and inclusive community that challenges convention and encourages innovation. Indy’s rich musical roots, from jazz legend Freddie Hubbard to Kenneth “Babyface” Edmonds, are a reminder of how Indy’s talented individuals can reach audiences across the world by simply sharing their passion.”  

 

Alex Mann from the Music Venue Trust, (UK) presented on the subject of why grassroots venues are integral to the development of cities and culture and the difficulties and hurdles that they face at the MVT in the UK.

Alex Man talking about the importance of supporting grassroots venues.

Alex Man talking about the importance of supporting grassroots venues.

The day closed with an informative roundtable discussion where all attendees and speakers were divided into groups to look at the ways in which they would create a framework for the city.  

 

The event finished off with networking and drinks, as well as free access to all the pinball machines in HI-FI. There was food from Thunderbird, followed by a concert featuring local bands The Wldlfe and Dream Chief.

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Check out the Indianapolis playlist here to hear more from the city: 

Music Cities Forum: Indianapolis was made possible with generous support from community sponsors and event partners including: Central Indiana Community Foundation, Indy Chamber, Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, Live Nation, HI-FI, Deylen Realty, Joyful Noise Recordings, Eskenazi Health, Visit Indy, Flaherty and Collins, Meitus Gelbert Rose, Tinker Coffee Co., MOKB Presents, Bohlsen Group, Fourth Sunday Music Co., Do317 Media.

#MusicCitiesIndianapolis


Music Cities Convention: Memphis

In October, we held the fifth edition of our Music Cities Convention alongside Music Export Memphis and Memphis Music Initiative in the birthplace of rock 'n' roll and the home of the Blues - Memphis, Tennessee.

The event was a sell-out. 215 attendees travelled to Memphis from 5 continents, 10 countries and over 50 cities. We had an incredibly busy three days with 37 speakers bringing their music city expertise to six presentations, five panels, roundtable sessions and two event receptions!

The convention kicked-off with an opening reception at the Stax Museum of American Soul Music and Memphis Slim Collaboratory, allowing the delegates to absorb some of the music history that Memphis has to offer. The Recording Academy: Memphis Chapter partnered with the event to provide entertainment from the world-renowned Stax Recording Academy graduates, as well as superb local food and drinks.

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After this crash course into Memphis’ musical history, the following day saw the full 225 delegates descend on the Halloran Centre for a day of presentations and panels, with discussions and talks ranging from ‘Every City Needs a Music Strategy: Artists as Leaders’ to ‘Chengdu Music City’ to ‘Understanding Audiences: The Role of the Consumer in our Music Ecosystems’. Coffee was provided by the excellent local roaster Edge Alley Coffee and food by local favourites, Sweet Potato Baby.

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After the day’s talks, we had a special surprise for the delegates and one of the highlights of the event! Local musicians the Memph Orleans Street Symphony were ready and waiting to lead the group down the road to our main event reception at the Blues Hall of Fame Museum - you can check out footage of this in our event video at the bottom of this article! For the reception we partnered up with upcoming Music Cities Convention hosts State of Victoria: City of Melbourne and Lafayette Convention & Visitors Commission to provide our delegates with amazing drinks, food and conversation, which was a fitting end to a great day.

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The final day of the convention included a half-day of roundtable sessions for a limited capacity of 80 delegates. Topics that were discussed included ‘Music Ecosystems of the Future: What Has to be Improved to Develop a Forward-Thinking Music Policy City?’, ‘Access to Music for Everyone’ and ‘Designing Music-Friendly Noise Regulations and Policies’ which was presented in partnership with expert Don Pitts the CEO of Sound Music Cities.

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The team at Sound Diplomacy then ended the three days with a special VIP speaker trip to the former home of Elvis, Graceland. We had an amazing time, but some of the delegation had an even better time...

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We’ve now launched our two 2018 Music Cities Convention events, so head to our website for more information and updates. Check out the Music Cities Memphis video here