News Release

Lafayette to Host Global Convening on Music and Culture
Posted: 6/12/2018 5:00 PM

Lafayette Music Cities Convention only the third of its kind in the U.S., Oct. 11-12

Civic leaders, music industry representatives and academics from around the world will gather in Lafayette October 11 and 12 as the 17th Music Cities Convention brings an international conversation on building vibrant music cities. 

Known for our indigenous music and rich cultural history around Cajun and Zydeco music, Lafayette is an ideal city to explore the themes of the convention: Diversity, Music and Improving Our Cities and Communities.

"As one of the most authentically diverse musical cultures across the globe, Lafayette is thrilled to host the Music Cities Convention, not only to showcase our local musical talent, but to learn how to improve as a true music city in supporting our music community,” Mayor-President Joel Robideaux said. “On the heels of launching our CREATE initiative, hosting the Music Cities Convention will help us connect with others that understand the value of a thriving cultural economy for the benefit of our greater community through music."

CREATE is a collaborative initiative of Robideaux that strengthens and supports the authentic Cultural, Recreation, Entertainment, Arts and Tourism assets that make up our cultural Economy in Lafayette Parish.

"It's an honor to be recognized on a global stage as a music city and host the Music Cities convention for only the third time that it has been in the United States,” says Ben Berthelot, President & CEO of the Lafayette Convention & Visitors Commission. “We look forward to the dialogue that will take place and the opportunity to showcase our great music scene to attendees from all around the world. It will also be a great opportunity for us to add to the momentum we have with the CREATE initiative to find ways that we can become an even better City, Parish, and region while building upon one of our greatest assets and cultural strengths."

​Featuring more than 40 speakers who will travel to Lafayette from six continents, the Music Cities Convention will feature two full days of ideas and discussions. The international slate of speakers and attendees will no doubt be welcomed by residents in the ‘Happiest City in America.’ Speakers confirmed to-date are:

  • Clara Barbera, Director for Student Affairs, Diversity and Inclusion at the Valencia campus, Berklee (Spain)
  • Austin Barrow, President, MAD/Murphy Arts District, (Arkansas)
  • Ben Berthelot, President & CEO, Lafayette Convention and Visitors Commission (Louisiana)
  • Anya Burgess, Owner, SOLA Violins & Band member of “Magnolia Sisters” and “Bonsoir, Catin” (Louisiana)
  • Sung Cho, Founder & CEO, (California)
  • Cary Clarke, CEO, Young Audiences (Oregon)
  • Greg Deshields, Executive Director, PHL Diversity Philadelphia Visitors & Convention Bureau (Pennsylvania)
  • David Dudley, Executive Editor, CityLab (New York)
  • Kate Durio, Assistant to Mayor-President Joel Robideaux, Lafayette Consolidated Government (Louisiana)
  • Abed Hathot, Co-Founder, Palestine Music Expo (California)
  • Mike Henry, CEO, Paragon Media Strategies (Colorado)
  • Tara Hernandez, President, JCH Properties+ (Louisiana)
  • Carmen Gloria Larenas, Artistic Director, Teatro del Lago (Chile)
  • Jordan Lee, Program Director, Radio Milwaukee (Wisconsin)
  • Margaret Lioi, CEO, Chamber Music America (New York)
  • Aneesha Marwah, Manager, Consulting & Strategic Partnerships, Artspace (Minnesota)
  • Matt McArthur, Executive Director, The Record Co Boston (Massachusetts, USA)
  • Joel Robideaux, Mayor-President, Lafayette (Louisiana)
  • Warwick Sabin, Senior Director for U.S. Programs, Winrock International, Arkansas House of Representatives, 2018 Little Rock mayoral candidate (Arkansas)
  • Tim Scott, Artist in Residence, Charlotte Center City Partners (North Carolina)
  • Laura Simpson, Co-founder & CEO, Side Door (Canada)
  • Joey Stuckey, Official Music Ambassador, Macon, Georgia (Georgia, USA)
  • Dr. Liana Valente, National Federation Of Music Clubs Representative to the United Nations Department Of Public Information & Classical Voice Area Coordinator, Howard University(Washington, D.C.)
  • Kelly Wells, Executive Director, KDHX (Missouri,)
  • Johnathan Peter Williams, Founder/CEO, Quality Of Life Services & Founder/President, Love Of People (Louisiana)
  • Nolfris “Slim KuttaR” Williams, Musician, Music Executive & Former Pro Basketball Player (Louisiana)
  • Sharon Yazowski, Executive Director, Mortimer & Mimi Levitt Foundation (California)

“Attending Music Cities Convention was truly an eye opening experience,” says Dominique Greco Ryan, Project Manager of Nighttime Economy in Orlando. Ryan attended the convention’s Melbourne, Australia edition in April of this year. “Each speaker and participant represented a different segment of the music industry and the convention itself was designed in a way that we were constantly exchanging information in an interactive, intimate and relaxed setting. I made connections I could have never anticipated.”

Music Cities Convention will take place October 11-12 at Acadiana Center for the Arts. Music Cities Convention is hosted by the Lafayette Convention and Visitors Commission and Lafayette Consolidated Government, with generous support from The Recording Academy.

Music Cities Convention is the world’s first event to explore the relationship between city planning, strategy, development and the music industry.  From venue and community space development to education, employment, event provision, licensing, regulation and demographics, music industries impact a number of issues prevalent in city planning, strategy, regulative and legislative aspects.  Music Cities Convention will bring together the top minds from municipalities, regions, academics, consultancies and the music industry to discuss, debate and introduce new thinking, action and structure to develop more vibrant, global cities.


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