The Music Cities Awards are presented by Saxony - State of the Arts. This is a global competition designed to acknowledge and reward the most outstanding applications of music for economic, social, environmental and cultural development in cities and places all around the world.
As the announcement of the nominees (on August 3rd) and the awards ceremony (October 18th as part of the Huntsville Music Cities Convention) are getting closer, we're excited to share the amazing and inspiring group of applicants for each of the contest categories.
Scroll down to discover this year's applicants for "Best Music Tourism Initiative", a group of projects that gather some of music tourism best practices from all around the world.
Chasing the Blues: A Traveler's Guide to America's Music by Josephine Matyas & Craig Jones (U.S.A.): This travel guide was designed to encourage an understanding and appreciation of blues music as well as pointing readers toward the best spots across Mississippi to experience this form of American music (through live music venues, museums, historic sites). Co-authors Josephine Matyas and Craig Jones covered many months and several thousand miles doing research, collecting interviews, and visiting sacred sites of the blues.
Pirineos Sur by Sonde 3 Producciones (Spain): Sonde 3 Producciones is a Spanish music production company, specialised in booking, management and festivals. Since 2020, it has the administrative concession for Festival Pirineos Sur, one of the longest running world music festivals in the country, that takes place on a floating stage over a lake in the Pyrinees since 1992. Every summer, Pirineos Sur natural auditorium and floating stage attracts nearly 50000 visitors to the village of Lanuza (population 42), becoming the main driver for tourism deseasonalization in the Valle de Tena, an area that traditionally has been heavily dependent on the winter season.
Louisiana Music Ambassador Program (U.S.A.): The Louisiana Office of Tourism is charged with influencing people outside of state borders not planning a trip to Louisiana to enjoy one or more of their tourist pillars. This programme sends their Music Ambassadors anywhere outside of state borders, whether in nearby Mississippi or Australia. It is based on providing a stipend to musicians throughout the state, representing the many genres of music that are enjoyed within their state.
Melbourne Buskers in the Digital World by Street Music Map (Australia): StreetMusicMap is a global research on street music coordinated by journalist Daniel Bacchieri. Created in 2014, StreetMusicMap became a multimedia project: a collaborative listing of street music performers from all over the world. It has more than 1,850 artists documented on videos in 102 countries, filmed by more than 700 collaborators. It is also the first project to curate street musicians on Spotify, creating global playlists featuring the best buskers in the world. The purpose of 'Beyond Bourke Street: Melbourne Buskers in the Digital World' is to demonstrate the global nature of the street music scene, focusing on Melbourne's Central Business District as the busking site.
Meeting the Beatles in India by Paul Saltzman (Canada): The project is a combination of the feature length documentary film, MEETING THE BEATLES IN INDIA, and small tour
groups led by the filmmaker, Paul Saltzman, to India/Nepal and Bhutan since 2013. He has now been there over 60 times. The idea to lead others there on a joyful journey of discovery and adventure came from the many people, seeing his gallery shows of his Beatles in India photographic collection, would repeat exactly the same words to him. Many, many times he was told: "I've always wanted to go to India, but it scares me." Until, one day, a young man said the same exact words followed by the question, "Would you ever take anyone with you?"
The Sound of Düsseldorf by Visit Düsseldorf: "The Sound of Düsseldorf" (Germany): a groundbreaking guided tour curated by local music journalists and authors Michael Wenzel and Sven-André Dreyer since 2019 and organised in close collaboration with Visit Düsseldorf. It maps the essence of music tourism, effortlessly combining local popular music history, stories, and the magic of influential songs into an unforgettable journey for visitors of all ages. One of the key elements that distinguishes "The Sound of Düsseldorf" is the seamless integration of the city's cultural identity with the live experience of music in its places of origin, in urban music venues or linking it to places where musicians still live, work, and perform in the city today.
Bach by Bike (Germany): Bach by Bike is a travel agency lead by two musicians offering musical guided cycling tours along the places where Johann Sebastian Bach lived. It explores Bach ́s music at its origin, museums, Bach-memorials and original, preserved places, such as Dornheim Church, Bach's wedding church. Bach by Bike also cooperates with music-festivals who like to connect their concerts with cycling and sustainable tourism. Its founders are Mareike and Anna-Luise, two concert musicians specialised in baroque and contemporary music. Bach by Back also founded the Bach by Bike Ensemble, which aims to perform at places where concerts rarely take place, connected to cycling tours.
This is Edmonton by Explore Edmonton (Canada): Explore Edmonton is Edmonton's Destination Management and Marketing Organization. By bringing in major events, the organisation generates tourism dollars that support local businesses, help businesses attract talent by increasing the vibrancy of the city, and create a more compelling argument for improving city infrastructure, which benefits everyone.This is Edmonton is the organisation’s campaign to position Edmonton as an ideal city to host event. One of the key elements of the campaign is a captivating video with a custom score composed by Nicholas Yee, a talented cellist and composer from Edmonton, featuring a collaboration with local hip hop artist Mouraine.
Outback Music Trail 2023 by Queensland Music Trails (Australia): QMF is a strategic music agency that designs innovative solutions to social, cultural and economic challenges facing
Queensland communities. Queensland Music Trails is QMF's flagship program, a music tourism product range that is a world-first in terms of its scale and ambition. Music trails are driveable itineraries of bespoke, placemaking music events, designed to drive visitation to their regions, and activate unique, underutilised locations: from desert rock formations to tropical beaches and heritage buildings. The 2023 Outback Music Trail showcases an array of musical genres, landscapes, and communities, a unique insight into the music, places, and people of the Outback.
MDLBEAST's Soundstorm (Saudi Arabia): MDLBEAST is a leading global music entertainment company based in Saudi Arabia, dedicated to showcasing both established and emerging local, regional, and international talent. SOUNDSTORM 2022 has been a linchpin in this contribution. The flagship festival, launched in 2019, has consistently delivered unforgettable experiences to music enthusiasts across the globe. In 2022 the festival boasted over 200 artists from every corner of the world which helped draw over 600,000 attendees across three days. This influx of visitors has bolstered the local economy, with an increase in spending on hospitality, retail, and dining sectors.
Jackson Hidden Tracks by B3 Creative Agency (U.S.A.): B3 Creative Agency is an agency that works on transforming cities' music scenes into an electrifying and unforgettable experience. Our mission is to pioneer the sound of cities and showcase their unique musical history and talent to the world. The Jackson Hidden Tracks project has created a cohesive brand and identity for the music community in Jackson, TN. The agency recognized that Jackson's local music community is more than just "the local music scene." It developed a complete branding package to create brand recognition and give people further confidence in the information shared. This has helped Jackson Hidden tracks to emerge as a leading source for music information in and around Jackson.
Festival Selvámonos (Peru): Selvámonos is a Peruvian non-profit cultural organisation established in 2009 to address the issue of cultural, social, and economic centralization in the country. Its main endeavour is organising a the Festival Selvámonos music and arts festival in Oxapampa, located in the Amazonian region. Over the years, Selvámonos has honed its focus on four key objectives: decentralising and democratising access to culture and the arts, promoting cultural and economic development in peripheral areas, supporting emerging and independent musicians, and raising awareness about environmental sustainability.
Cidade da Música da Bahia by City of Salvador (Brasil): The City of Salvador, capital of the state of Bahia, is a place where the relevance of music is undeniable and justifies the fact that the capital of Bahia is recognized by UNESCO as a Creative City of Music. Cidade da Música da Bahia (City of Music of Bahia) Museum, is a cultural equipment of the Municipal Secretariat of Culture and Tourism of Salvador (SECULT), whose mission is to value, register, and disseminate the music of the city. Cidade da Música is structured in four floors of immersion in the rich history and musical production of Salvador, besides having a library and a mediatheque in which it's possible to access all the museum's archives.
Cloudbreak: Seattle's ReviveLive Music Fest by Visit Seattle (U.S.A.): In 2022, to support the city's music artists and live music venues after a period of hardship due to the Covid pandemic, Visit Seattle and King County Creative Economy partnered to create a brand-new music festival, Cloudbreak: Seattle's ReviveLive Music Fest. Both organisations embarked on a unique campaign to bring tourists and locals to the city's live music venues for shows by Seattle artists. Guests at 70 downtown Seattle hotels had complimentary access to 70 live music shows at 26 different venues across the city during the festival (Nov. 3-23). The goal was to drive downtown stays in off-peak November and bring visitors back to the city's live music venues.
Long Way Home by DMP - Doorman's Project (Solomon Islands): Pacific Islands Award Winning Reggae Band hailing from Solomon Islands. Blad P2a , Evin Rush, Mossa , Arak &
Victor Lopez makes up the group 'DMP aka Doorman's Project' with numerous smash hits singles known throughout the Pacific. The band wrote and produced a song called 'long way home' and teamed up with their home country’s national airline 'Solomon Airlines' to film a music video to help promote tourism in the country.
Nyanga Arts Festival (Zimbabwe): The Nyanga Arts Festival was launched courtesy of Nhimbe Trust, Chinhoyi University, Montclair Hotel and Zimbabwe Tourism Authority among other partners and sponsors. The festival rallied under the theme Cultural Heritage Tourism and Climate Change. The festival was designed to attract tourism to the resort town, raise tourism awareness while marketing the destination and tackling social economic areas within the community. Part of the activities included a traditional welcome ceremony for the visiting mayor of Bulawayo while paying homage to all visitors that had thronged the chief's village. The Nyanga Arts Festival is the only local festival that links heritage tourism and climate change.
“Ram Dizzle: Nayo Nayo” by Imarika Vijana Africa (Kenya): Ram Dizzle is a musician and passionate environmentalist. With his organisation "Imarika Africa Development Organisation" he uses music to have a positive impact in its community. This song looks to showcase the beautiful scenery of Kitale as well as other elements of the local music and culture in an attempt to promote tourism in the area and raise awareness about the region as a potential hub for investments in the hospitality industry.
Lafayette Weekly by Lafayette Travel (U.S.A.): Lafayette Travel serves as a tourism promotion and marketing coordinator for all of Lafayette Parish. Lafayette Travel's mission is to provide leadership in initiating and coordinating the marketing of Lafayette worldwide as
a highly desirable vacation, group, sports, and convention destination. Lafayette Weekly was created as part of their overall Sounds Good campaign to brand Lafayette Parish as a Music City and to soft launch their Spotify channel. The aim of the project is to feature a weekly blog post alongside a Spotify playlist that highlights various musical acts playing that week in and around Lafayette Parish. This project also partners with music festivals to help employ musicians from Lafayette and host workshops.
The Busking Project CIC (Germany): The Busking Project is the world's largest community of street performers, with over twelve thousand registered buskers in 133 countries. It hosts a suite of tools and services for street performers, including a cashless payments service, a booking system, digital music sales (straight to people's phones), and an archive of information street performers use in their everyday lives.
Birthplace of Country Music (U.S.A.): The Birthplace of Country Music is a nonprofit organisation that seeks to perpetuate, promote, and celebrate Bristol's rich musical heritage; to educate and engage audiences worldwide regarding the history, impact and legacy of
the 1927 Bristol Sessions; and to create recognition, opportunities, and economic benefit for the local and regional communities. BCM accomplishes this mission through its three primary branches (Birthplace of Country Music Museum, the annual Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion music festival, and WBCM Radio Bristol), special projects and events, and a multitude of community and educational outreach programs.
Cala Mijas Festival by Last Tour (Spain): Last Tour is a sustainable and independent organisation that strives to create, build, and develop cultural and social initiatives that contribute to society's well-being and development. The Cala Mijas Festival is an International Music Festival of 3 days, 70 artists and 5 stages that aims to position Mijas, Málaga and Costa del Sol in the international music circuit, attracting cultural tourism and be named in all main international Music Festival Guides.
2021-2022 Visit Austin & Orange 142 - Music Recovery Digital Campaign (U.S.A.): In collaboration with Visit Austin and agency Orange 142, the City of Austin's Music & Entertainment Division sponsored the Music Recovery Campaign to bring Austinites and tourists back to the "heartbeat" of the city – it's live music. By leveraging Visit Austin's owned channels, new interactive tools, and strategic media placements, the goal of the project was to complement ongoing relief efforts as venues work to reopen their doors and musicians begin to safely and responsibly return to in-person performances. This awareness campaign garnered more than 9 million impressions through Visit Austin's channels. This program ensured a revival of Austin's evergreen live music scene which is the City's claim to fame when it comes to tourism.
The Music Cities Awards Ceremony will take place on October 18th as part of the Huntsville Music Cities Convention. The last Early Bird Price tickets for the event will be available until the end of July. Head here to get yours.
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