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Results of the Cape Breton Island Music Tourism Convention - Celebrating Music and Tourism Best Practices in a Unique Music Destination

The Results of the Cape Breton Island Music Tourism Convention

The Results from the Cape Breton Island Music Tourism Convention

Celebrating Music and Tourism Best Practices in a unique music destination

  • The Music Tourism Convention in Cape Breton Island gathered 224 delegates from over 18 countries and 90 cities, making it a truly international event.

  • With more than 30 speakers, the event featured a rich array of keynote sessions, panel discussions, and workshops, offering deep insights into the intersection of music and tourism.

  • Through several live music performances and a pre-convention music tour, delegates experienced Cape Breton Island's unique music scene, a place where Celtic, Acadian and Mi'kmaq melodies and beats intertwine, creating a unique cultural tapestry.

  • We are thrilled to announce that the next edition of the Music Tourism Convention will be held in Anguilla in 2025.

Insights From The Event

Attendees of the Music Tourism Convention

“With the small population we have here in Cape Breton, everyone understands the necessity of supporting the music culture, both as an incoming tourist attraction, but also as an export product

Rob Hain, CEO of Sound Diplomacy

Numbers of the Music Touritsm Convention

From May 29-31, 2024, delegates from all around the globe met in Sydney, Cape Breton, Canada, for the Cape Breton Island Music Tourism Convention, produced by Music Cities Events and hosted by Destination Cape Breton.

The Music Tourism Convention is the world’s most extensive conference bringing together the music and tourism sectors, exploring how music can be leveraged for improving destinations' branding, attracting visitors and investment. Hosted for the first time in Liverpool, Great Britain, in 2017, the event has been hosted 6 times across Europe and North America. 

This year’s edition was hosted by Destination Cape Breton at the Mi'kmaq First Nation Membertou Trade and Convention Centre and gathered music enthusiasts, industry professionals, as well as representatives of cultural institutions and tourism boards, for an unforgettable experience that showcased the island's rich heritage and the importance of music tourism for the local community.

Music Tourism and Hospitality Industry

With 31 speakers and 224 delegates representing 18 countries and more than 90 cities, the Convention included sessions that discussed topics such as:

  • Artists as destination ambassadors

  • Creating unforgettable tourism experiences through music

  • Understanding the social impact of destination festivals

  • Music venues as living heritage of cities

  • Improving synergies between the hospitality and tourism industries

  • Revitalising small towns through music tourism

  • Nurturing indigenous voices and stories in music

  • Understanding how a healthy night time economy looks

  • Best practices for managing a music destination

Additionally, it included several high profile speakers specialised in music tourism topics, including: 

  • Terry Smith, CEO, Destination Cape Breton (CAN)

  • Molly Rawn, CEO, Experience Fayetteville (USA)

  • Catherine Swain, Marketing, N.C. Department of Natural and Cultural Resources (USA)

  • Natalie Wakabayashi, Director, Culture & Entertainment Tourism , Tourism London (CAN)

  • Mathieu Grondin, General Manager and Co-Founder, MTL 24/24 (CAN)

  • Robert Bernard, Board Member, Destination Cape Breton & Executive Director, Nova Scotia Indigenous Tourism Enterprise Network (CAN)

  • Rhonda Head, Board Member at SOCAN (CAN)

  • Hannah Smith, Director of Marketing and Communications, Athens Conventions and Visitors Bureau (USA)

  • Lacey Chataignier, Music Officer, State of Louisiana (USA)

  • Alexandra Solea, Founder, Solèart Management (Rome, Italy)

  • Jamie MacDonald, Community Event Co-Coordinator, Tiree Music Festival (GBR)

  • Sarah Mathews, Founder, Infinite Wanders (HKG)

  • Natalia Echenique Espinoza, Focal Point, Concepcion City of Music (CHL)

  • Stephen Muise, Conductor/Business Manager & Technical Director, Men of the Deeps (CAN)

The event also included live presentations that reflected the musical culture of Cape Breton Island, including performances from:

Men of the Deeps

In addition to all of these experiences, a select group of delegates were able to take part in a highly immersive 3 day pre-convention music tour through all of the musical landscapes and traditions of Cape Breton Island

This tour included experiencing Mi’kmaq music traditions as part of a Eskasoni Cultural Journey, enjoying a square dance event at the Gaelic College, discovering the French Acadian Village of Cheticamp and more, while rejoicing in the beautiful sights of the Cabot Trail.

The importance of the Music Convention taking place in Cape Breton Island cannot be understated. 

In the words of Rob Hain, CEO of Sound Diplomacy: “With the small population we have here in Cape Breton, everyone understands the necessity of supporting the music culture, both as an incoming tourist attraction, but also as an export product. You won't find anyone, including people from older industries like coal mining, who don't appreciate that. They do appreciate it, and they understand it, and everyone can talk about it here”.

What Delegates Said About the Conference

Mathieu Grondin, General Manager and Co-Founder, MTL

“The Music Tourism Convention It’s a fantastic opportunity to learn more about innovative projects from around the world on how to boost your touristic industry around music and culture”.

Katie Fox, Marketing Technologist & PR Strategist, Blooming Footprint

“I am immensely grateful for the opportunity to be part of such a vibrant and insightful event. Nova Scotia, with its stunning vistas and remarkable people, has captured a piece of my heart. I look forward to future conventions and continued collaboration with my newfound friends from around the globe!”

Alexandra Solea, Executive Director and Founder, Soleart Management

"The excellent organisation and the enthusiasm of the participants created an unforgettable atmosphere, making the convention not only a platform for cultural exchange but also a celebration of the universal language of music”. Looking Ahead: Anguilla Music Tourism Convention 2025

The closing session of the event saw Dee-Ann Kentish-Rogers, Minister of Education and Social Development of the Government of Anguilla address the audience via video to announce that the next Music Tourism Convention will be taking place in Anguilla in 2025.

During her speech, Ms. Dee-Ann stated: 

"Anguilla is a paradise for music lovers and tourists alike. Our island boasts a diverse musical landscape that reflects the heart and soul of our people. From the rhythmic beats of our traditional calypso and reggae to the soulful melodies of jazz and R&B, Anguilla's music scene is as dynamic and inviting as its scenic landscapes”.

Undoubtedly, the Music Tourism Convention will be an incredible opportunity for Anguilla to showcase its unique blend of music, culture, and hospitality to an international audience. It is also an exciting opportunity for music tourism enthusiasts to discover a cultural jewel in Caribbean heritage. Potential delegates of the event can already sign up for the Convention’s waitlist to receive all news regarding next year’s Music Tourism Convention.

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