Big Heavy World Director Joins Music Cities Convention Panel Oct. 25, Washington, D.C.

Press Release by Big Heavy World. Photo by Ro Cemm.

Big Heavy World Director Joins Music Cities Convention Panel Oct. 25, Washington, D.C.

Vermont joins largest contingent of international speakers to talk about music cities in American history

The inaugural American edition of Music Cities Convention, to be held at Georgetown University on October 25, is the world’s first series of events to explore the relationship between city planning, strategy, development, policy and the music industry. Its speakers span eight countries, including Norway, UK, Sweden, Mexico, Ireland, and Australia. These speakers are the top global minds from municipalities, regions, academics, consultants and the music industry. Music Cities convenes them to discuss, debate and introduce new thinking, action and structure to develop more vibrant, global cities.

Among the most prominent international speakers are Karen Sofie Sørensen (Executive Director, Brak, Bergen, Norway); Stefan Papangelis (Managing Director, Experience Norrköping, Sweden); Igor Lozada (University Center of Art, Architecture and Design, Guadalajara, Mexico); Mark Gordon (Programme Development, Generator NI, Ireland); Alan Miller (Chairman, Night Time Industries Association, London); and John Wardle (Policy Director, Live Music Office of Australia). The diversity of international speakers attending the conference makes the convention the largest contingent of international speakers to talk about music cities in American history. A full lineup of the convention’s initial speakers can be found here:

James Lockridge, Executive Director of Big Heavy World, Vermont’s independent, volunteer-run music office, will participate on the ‘Small Communities, Development and the Global Movement’ panel moderated by Dani Grant, owner and manager of Mishawaka Amphitheatre and Spokesbuzz, Fort Collins, CO. This panel explores, in the absence of a large population base and big-city infrastructure, how smaller communities can discover — or create — the energy, partnerships, and support necessary to keep a secondary music market on the map. Panelists include Karin Wolf, City of Madison, WI and Ben Berthelot, City of Lafayette, LA. Vermont’s presence at Music Cities Convention is made possible in part by a Technical Assistance Grant from the Vermont Arts Council. The Vermont Arts Council Technical Assistance Grants support activities that help Vermont arts organizations strengthen their capacity to serve constituents.

Lockridge has directed Big Heavy World for 20 years, generating partnerships and channeling enthusiasm that supports Vermont-made music of every kind & stage of development. Lockridge has championed inclusion and respect for diversity, and built a widely recognized engine of support for regional music based on these values. He is a cultural heritage advisory board member of the Champlain Valley National Heritage Partnership (Vermont’s National Heritage Area) and serves on the King Street Neighborhood Revitalization Corp.

Music Cities Convention is managed and put on by Sound Diplomacy, a European music consultancy founded by Shain Shapiro. A recent article ( in The Guardian featured Shapiro and Music Cities; included in the piece’s exploration of how music venues are dying in cities across the world is a comprehensive overview of the convention’s goals and Shapiro’s reasons for launching it. Aside from Sound Diplomacy, Glastonbury booker and The Great Escape co-founder Martin Elbourne and Michael Bracy of Bracy, Tucker, Brown & Valanzano initiated the convention.

Music Cities Convention debuted on May 13, 2015 in Brighton, UK to such feedback as “the best one-day conference I have ever been to in my life,” according to David Grice, CEO of Musitec South Australia. Mark Davyd, CEO of UK’s Music Venue Trust, likewise hailed it as “one of the most productive events I’ve ever attended.” Tickets are on sale now and can be purchased here:

Convention links: Website Facebook Twitter

Photo: The street in Brighton, England where the UK Music Cities Convention debut took place earlier this year, credit Ro Cemm.

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