Video by David Roseberry. Photos courtesy Sound Diplomacy.

From October 25-27, 2017 Sound Diplomacy, Music Export Memphis and Memphis Music Initiative hosted the 5th global edition of Music Cities Convention in Memphis, Tennessee, showcasing the best practices for improving urban planning, quality of life, city policy and development strategies through music.

The conference brought together leaders from governments, cities and regions, academics, organizations and international music scenes to discuss, debate and introduce new thinking about best practices on the use of music to improve city life. The role and impact of music across education, employment, community building, placemaking, licensing and regulation was explored by more than 215 delegates from more than 50 cities, ten countries and five continents. James Lockridge from Big Heavy World was there to help Vermont build friendships with music cities across the world and to bring some of their insights home. This participation was made possible by a Technical Assistance Grant from the Vermont Arts Council.

Big Heavy World is an independent, nonprofit, volunteer-run music office working to promote and preserve the original music of Vermont. It was founded in 1996 and continues to connect Vermont musicians with one another, build shared resources that help musicians help themselves, and archive Vermont’s immense historic legacy of music making. The organization is currently fundraising to produce a strategic economic development strategy for the state’s music sector. Big Heavy World was proclaimed ‘Burlington’s Music Embassy’ by Mayor Peter Clavelle and has been recognized by Vermont’s General Assembly and Burlington’s City Council for its work.