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Folkestone becomes the world’s first Music Town



Folkestone is following in the footsteps of Music Cities across the world such as Nashville, Melbourne and Seoul by formally recognising the positive impact music has and becoming the world’s first Music Town. 

Folkestone has a rich musical heritage and was the birthplace of Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductee Noel Redding, bassist of the legendary Jimi Hendrix Experience. Yehudi Menuhin also held his international young violinist competition in the town for 15 years. 

Music is widely recognised for its benefits to wellbeing, tourism and economic growth and the town has committed to harnessing the value of music by creating a formal strategy and Music Board. An audit of musical assets was completed in 2018 and a new online gig listing site set up in 2019. The newly created Music Board will meet regularly to monitor the strategy and drive initiatives. One of their first tasks will be to explore the adoption of a recognised busking code of conduct in the town. Some of the actions implemented by Music Cities have included the appointment of a Night Mayor and music based tourism campaigns and experiences. 

Leader of Folkestone & Hythe District Council Cllr David Monk said, “The musical history of Folkestone and the vibrant scene here today has convinced us we need to recognise the value of music and how important it is to us as a town. 

“Extraordinary creativity flows through the streets of Folkestone and music is hugely important to the character of the town. We want to support local musicians and venues and through this initiative we can ensure that music always remains a priority for us.”

The Folkestone Music Town project was launched in January 2017 by consulting firm Found in Music. It was co-funded by Found in Music and The Utley Foundation. Chief Executive and Folkestone resident Julia Jones (also known as Dr Rock) said, “The science shows music is a very powerful tool due to the ways the human brain responds to it. Those effects can be leveraged to enhance people’s lives, drive economic returns and address the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.

“We presented ‘Folkestone Music Town’ as a case study at the United Nations’ World Urban Forum in Kuala Lumpur in 2018, demonstrating how towns could reap rewards by replicating the music strategy work of cities. The project has reached this successful conclusion due to the full collaboration between local musicians, music fans, residents, business owners, health practitioners, the town council and Folkestone & Hythe District Council.”

Congratulations have been flowing in from music cities across the world. The ‘Music City’ movement has grown over the last three years with adopters such as Amsterdam, Melbourne and London. It is hoped that other towns will be inspired to adopt these same principles and join this new Music Town movement.

To see gig listings in Folkestone please visit www.folkestonemusictown.com

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