UNESCO, which awarded the Maritime Mercantile City of Liverpool ‘World Heritage Site’ status in 2004, has now recognised the city’s musical heritage designating it a permanent UNESCO City of Music.
The City of Music status has been awarded due to music’s place at the heart of Liverpool’s contemporary culture, education and the economy – from the vibrant live music scene to tourism, music management courses and digital businesses.
Liverpool has an extraordinary musical heritage, known worldwide as the birthplace of The Beatles, where all forms of music are celebrated and cross-genre activity is the norm.
Liverpool’s experience as European Capital of Culture (2008) showed how culture is central to Liverpool’s future. It demonstrated the impact that a unifying goal can have on aligning strategies to increase impact and reach, delivering benefits for all including £753.8 million of economic impact. Music was crucial to that success and the Creative City team sees its membership of the UNESCO Creative Cities Network as a natural progression of Liverpool’s cultural journey.
Liverpool plans to use the permanent UNESCO designation and its membership of the global Creative Cities Network to focus cultural policy and activity in relation to music in the City, delivering a more joined up and visible music offer and increase opportunities for cultural consumption and production, particularly amongst children and young people. Liverpool is also looking to work with and learn from member cities.
The bid highlighted urban festivals such as the Liverpool International Music Festival (LIMF), Liverpool Sound City and Liverpool Psych Fest, the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, Creamfields and Africa Oye, the largest celebration of live African music in the UK.
Liverpool joins Glasgow as the UK’s second UNESCO City of Music. There are now 19 Cities of Music in total and they form part of the prestigious UNESCO Creative Cities Network.
Joe Anderson, Mayor of Liverpool, said: “Liverpool is renowned for its musical influence and this status is the ultimate, and appropriate, accolade for a city which lives and breathes music.
“It’s no secret that music is one of the biggest reasons that visitors come here – you only need look at the numbers of people going to The Beatles Story, or the crowds that head to annual events such as Sound City or LIMF to see that. I’m confident that with the support of such a globally-respected name as UNESCO, this will grow further and people will realise that it is not just about the city’s contribution to music history, but is about the exciting things happening right now. In the same way our Waterfront has benefited from association with UNESCO, so too will the city’s music offer”.
Tim Williams, Chair UK National Commission for UNESCO, said:
“The UK National Commission for UNESCO is delighted to welcome Liverpool into the UNESCO family in the UK as a Creative City of Music. It will join the prestigious global network of UNESCO Creative Cities.”
Liverpool City Council worked with the city’s partners on the bid with support from the UK National Commission for UNESCO.