Industry Leaders Coming to Cleveland April 11–14
By Robert McFarland, Jr.
An event that has been years in the making will finally take place in Cleveland this spring. The Music Tourism Convention, an event being produced by Sound Diplomacy, a global research and strategy consultancy specializing in economic and community development through music, the City of Cleveland, and Visit Cleveland, will bring an estimated 350 music experts, industry leaders, and fans to Cleveland for this three day conference being held April 11–14.
According to the organizers of Sound Diplomacy, “A place’s rich music tourism can not only attract visitors and drive economic development, but also build strong communities both at a local and global level. If artists, entrepreneurs and residents can find in local music attractions a source of pride, opportunities for growth and a renowned sense of belonging, the relationship with other global cities is tightened thanks to music, and new networks of fans, companies and organizations emerge. These dynamics will be the overarching theme of the sixth global Music Tourism Convention in Cleveland, in the heart of the birthplace of American music, in April.”
The convention was originally scheduled for 2020, but, due to Covid and its aftermath, the event has been moved to 2023.
“We’re very excited to be able to host this convention in Cleveland this year,” says Sean Johnson, Director of Visit Cleveland. Organizing the event has been the work of many people in the community with help from Mississippi Tourism, local venues and businesses and a number of volunteers. Not only are we proud to show off the town, its history, hotels and attractions—like the impressive Grammy Museum—Mississippi, we’re proud to show off the community spirit that ultimately makes Cleveland such a great place to live, work and play.”
The talks during the day will be a mix of panel discussions, Q&As and presentations around the use of music as a tool for tourism. The topics will range from; branding, attracting investment, developing communities, developing local and international partnerships, supporting artists, the impact of music documentaries on tourism, as well as best case examples from cities and countries around the world. Many of the attendees and speakers will be traveling to Cleveland from Europe and South America, giving the conference and international flair and providing unique perspectives.
In addition to the talks about music’s impact on tourism and economic development, there will be plenty of time for attendees to network and relax. A number of receptions are planned, including an opening concert with Chapel Hart, a Mississippi- based group that has recently become a national phenomenon. There will also be receptions at historic Dockery Farms, the Grammy Museum—Mississippi, and the conference’s host hotel, the Lyric West End.
The conference will conclude with a tour around the Delta region which will include visits to the BB King Museum and Interpretive Center in Indianola, Robert Johnson’s gravesite near Greenwood, and a trip to Juke Joint Festival in Clarksdale.
The conference is expected to have positive economic impact on Cleveland and the region. Attendees will account for almost half of the available hotel rooms in the city that week, and with built-in down time to be used for shopping and exploring, organizers expect those visitors to be out and about. Add these visitors to visits to the Crosstie Festival which will be happening that weekend, the traditional overflow from Juke Joint Festival, and general visits of people enjoying the Delta in the springtime, and the city will be buzzing.
“It’s going to be a big week in Cleveland,” says Johnson.
For more information about the festival, and to purchase tickets, visit musiccitiesevents.com/cleveland-mississippi-mtc.