Liverpool named UNESCO City of Music

Fireworks bring LIMF 2015 to a spectacular close

Fireworks bring LIMF 2015 to a spectacular close

Liverpool’s music scene was the given the prestigious title earlier today. Getintothis’ Shaun Ponsonby reminds us all why Liverpool thoroughly deserves such an accolade. 

Liverpool is a city of music. It’s in the bones, and it continues to prosper, grow and delight millions. We influence each other and our neighbours.

Today this was recognised by UNESCO – the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation – when they officially bestowed the title upon us. Liverpool; a city of music. Only the second UK City to receive the honour, after Glasgow, with just nine other of the world’s cities being able to claim the title since 2006.

We received the title due to the place music has within Liverpool’s “contemporary culture, education and the economy”.

And all of that sounds about as exciting as finding a dog hair on a cushion. So, for the sake of any of our friends from elsewhere looking for why Liverpool is an UNESCO City of Music, let us break it down. And you know what? We’re not even going to mention the B-word. We’re keeping it in the here and now.

We’ve got some seriously big guns. Africa Oye is the UK’s largest celebration of African and Caribbean culture and attracts thousands to Sefton Park every summer for a weekend-long blow out. LIMF is now Europe’s largest free music festival and continues to raise the stakes each year with both its main summer jam and commissions.

These may be the ones that attract the headlines, but the real reason we deserve such an accolade is in the little cultural oddities that continue to spring up every year. These are undoubtedly the heart and soul of what we do.

Think of the diversity of Liverpool Music Week, or the continued growth of Sound City, or the quite wonderful events that EVOL have been giving us, or Chibuku’s uber-leftfield take on the club scene. Ever been to The Kazimier and thought “there is nowhere else this event could take place”? We surely have. Did you see how Liverpool SoulFest were on the ball with ESKA way before her Mercury nomination?

Read Peter Guy’s round-up off this year’s Mercury Prize

There’s a spate of Liverpool-based bands and artists are turning heads right now; Circa Waves, Hooton Tennis Club, Frances, Lapsley amongst them, whilst MiC Lowry bagged the MOBO Unsung Award this year.

Unlike other city’s localised ceremonies, the GIT Award actually gets quite significant national coverage in the music press. This year’s event boasted an mammoth night at the Kazimier for winners All We Are, and in many ways was a celebration of the world class scenes we developed here in the city.

Liverpool is a city that is totally comfortable with its musical past – which, lest we forget, is arguably the hardest musical past that any city would care to top – whilst pushing forward to an exciting future.

The UNESCO title today might not prove it, because we needed no proof. We may not need such a title to continue what we are doing. But it does show us that Liverpool’s latest and greatest are not going unnoticed.

And if you still don’t get it…take a look at our best bits from the last 12 months…