Music Cities Conference to Make U.S. Debut in Washington D.C.

October event will explore the music industry's impact on urban life

Following a sold-out Music Cities symposium in the U.K., international government administrators, advocates for social change, non-profit leaders and diverse music makers will convene in Washington, D.C., on Oct. 25 for the “only global conference on cities and music industry impact.”

"The U.S. is far and wide one of the most advanced countries in the music cities spectrum,”  conference organizer Shain Shapiro tells Billboard. Shapiro is managing director of Sound Diplomacy, a music market development agency that counts international government agencies and festivals among its clients.

“I don't just mean the larger cities we all know like Austin and Nashville, but smaller cities like Eau Claire, Lafayette and Macon, each of which has active and engaging music strategies,” Shapiro added. “We decided to come to the U.S. to try and bridge the gap between the activities happening in the U.S. and what's happening internationally, and we thought it'd be best to do that in Washington, the center for policy."

The Music Cities conference debuted in Brighton last May, coinciding with that city’s Great Escape Festival. Delegates there represented 50 cities and 20 countries.

Similar to the Brighton symposium, presenters at Music Cities Washington will explore music’s relationship to the overall economy of cities and to urban quality of life.

Talks at the October event will include, “The Rebirth of New Orleans: Music & the City 10 Years On,” by Treme writer Lolis Elie; case studies on music’s role in urban development in Gothenburg, Sweden, Ottowa, Guadalajara and Austin;  and a panel discussion on “Aligning Global Music Strategies.”

Speakers will include Boston Mayor’s office Chief of Policy Joyce Linehan, Seattle Film & Music Office head Kate Becker and Denver Housing Authority executive director Ismael Guerrero, as well as global hip-hop producer Nomadic Wax’s Ben Herson and Afro-beat orchestra Antibalas’ founder Martin Pena.