Music festival and conference, Liverpool SoundCity will return to the "European Capital of Culture" May 20 - 23 and is offering artists the chance to apply for the festival at no cost until Jan. 30.

SoundCity made its debut in May 2008, when 322 bands including Santogold, Ladyhawke, The Wombats and Glasvegas showcased in 22 venues around Liverpool. Organizers claim attendance reached 25,000 over the duration of the event.

In 2009, organizers are expecting more than 400 acts to descend upon over 40 venues.

Events confirmed for the schedule so far include the 'John Peel World Cup' and 'The Trial', a court-based conference focusing on the future of the music business.

Early bird tickets are available for a limited time at £35 ($52).