Adelaide + UNESCO Creative Cities Network

UNESCO has announced that Adelaide has won selection as a City of Music as part of its annual Creative Cities Network appointments.

Adelaide – designated as the first and only City of Music in Australia – is now a member of the UNESCO Creative Cities Network. Adelaide joins Melbourne - City of Literature, and Sydney – City of Film as Australia’s UNESCO Creative Cities.

This is an acknowledgment of the breadth, depth and vibrancy of the city’s music culture, its international reach, its history and its aspirations. Adelaide supports a diverse range of independent musicians, a developing and entrepreneurial music industry, a series of world-class music and arts festivals, as well as leading music education and performance institutions.

The designation was made in recognition of the following factors, among others:

  • Recent investment by both local and state government in the creative economy, and music’s specific role.
  • Quality, quantity and diversity of music making in Adelaide.
  • Collaboration between government, education and private sectors around developing the local music industry across diverse platforms.
  • Historical commitment to music and the arts in Adelaide.
  • Adelaide’s international reputation and experience in hosting world class music and arts festivals.
  • Connection and collaboration with other creative fields, such as film, gastronomy, media arts.

Adelaide Festival Centre led the bid to UNESCO, with the support of the Adelaide City Council and the Government of South Australia’s Department of State Development through the Music Development Office.

Specific highlights

  • Specific highlights of Adelaide as a City of Music are:
    • The city is home to outstanding and internationally renowned festivals:
    • Australia’s favourite outdoor festival, WOMADelaide attracts attendances beyond 86,000. 45% of its audience comes from outside SA.
    • Adelaide Cabaret Festival is the biggest cabaret festival in the world.
    • Adelaide Guitar Festival is the most significant guitar festival in the Southern Hemisphere.
    • Multi-arts festivals Adelaide Fringe, Adelaide Festival of Arts and OzAsia all include strong music programs
  • Founded in 1883, Adelaide’s Elder Conservatorium is the oldest tertiary music school in Australia. One of its directors, John Bishop OBE, was a leading reformer of music education, and held a position on the UNESCO Committee for Music in the 1960s.
  • Home to some of Australia’s greatest rock bands including Cold Chisel, The Angels and leading hip-hop artists Hilltop Hoods. AC/DC formed Adelaide when they added local Bon Scott as front man, and the music careers of revered singer-songwriter Paul Kelly, Guy Sebastian and chart-topping artist Sia began in Adelaide.
  • Adelaide’s pioneering Music Development Office was established in 2014, envisioning a whole music ecology for the city and placing music as central to the city’s identity and development
  • Music and technology industry cluster Musitec was in 2014, Musitec was established to integrate disparate elements of the music and technology industries and is unique in Australia
  • Australia’s national classical music radio network ABC Classic FM was founded in Adelaide
  • Australia’s newest jazz school – James Morrison Academy of Music – has strong ties with the city

There are currently 331 live music venues operating in SA, and as of 2014, total employment from making live music in SA was estimated at 4,100 jobs; South Australian ticket sales for music events totalled $59.7m; live music contributed $263.7m to South Australia's economy, and the economic impact of the state’s largest music Festival WOMADelaide was $12.8m.

UNESCO Creative Cities Network

The UNESCO Creative Cities Network (UCCN) was created in 2004 to promote cooperation with and among cities that have identified creativity as a strategic factor for sustainable urban development.

The 180 cities which currently make up this network work together towards a common objective: placing creativity and cultural industries at the heart of their development plans at the local level and cooperating actively at the international level.

By joining the Network, cities commit to sharing their best practices and developing partnerships involving the public and private sectors as well as civil society in order to:

  • strengthen the creation, production, distribution and dissemination of cultural activities, goods and services;
  • develop hubs of creativity and innovation and broaden opportunities for creators and professionals in the cultural sector;
  • improve access to and participation in cultural life, in particular for marginalized or vulnerable groups and individuals;
  • fully integrate culture and creativity into sustainable development plans.

The Creative Cities Network is a privileged partner of UNESCO, not only as a platform for reflection on the role of creativity as a lever for sustainable development but also as a breeding ground of action and innovation.

There are currently 31 UNESCO Cities of Music. Click here to view the map.

Mission of the Office of Adelaide UNESCO City of Music

In keeping with the Objectives of the UNESCO Creative Cities Network, the Office will:

  1. Enhance and promote collaboration, excellence, diversity and sustainability in all aspects of music making in throughout the City of Music, including urban and regional South Australia.
  2. Build international pathways for the City of Music throughout the UNESCO Creative Cities Network and beyond.
  3. Advocate locally and nationally on behalf of the City of Music and the entire Music sector to fully integrate culture and creativity into policy and sustainable development plans.
  4. Develop and facilitate connection and collaboration for Music with Industry and all other creative sectors.
  5. To foster life-long love for and engagement with Music within our entire community through education and participation.