Liverpool Sound City plans Rio event
LIVERPOOL SOUND CITY could launch a sister event in Rio de Janeiro to promote Merseyside’s creative sector in Latin America.
The annual music festival and conference has already held spin-offs in the US, Scandinavia and the Middle East.
Now organiser Dave Pichilingi and representatives from Liverpool Vision are in talks about taking the event to Brazil next April.
Sound City includes a programme of gigs, but it also aims to promote creative businesses from Merseyside.
Consultant and cultural producer Fabio Fonseca, who is working with the British Council in Rio, visited Liverpool last week to talk about the possibility of creating Rio Sound City and to meet local creative firms.
Mr Fonseca, who has carried out research on the creative industries for UNESCO, said: “I have worked closely with the British Council in Brazil and they are supporting this initiative to bring Liverpool Sound City to Rio. We are really confident we will be able to move it forward.
“But also we are doing some research here, investigating some initiatives in the creative industries which are really interesting.
“One point we should highlight is that there is a real musical connection here.
“Scousers have music in their blood, and it’s more or less the same in Rio. People in Brazil look at Rio and see musical talent flowing.
“Of course, we know about The Beatles and the football teams. But there is this myth about Liverpool music, and all the bands from the north of the UK. People in Brazil think Liverpool is a really interesting place.”
Mr Pichilingi said: “It’s always been core to the Sound City model that we take it out to other cities and countries.
“We’ve taken it to several countries in the past, including Norway, and it was a great success this year in New York last month.
“Rio makes absolute sense. When people internationally think Liverpool, they think creativity and music. When you think Rio, that’s what comes to mind.
“Sound City is great because it gets the best music from around the world. But it’s important to remember that at the core of it is doing business.
“It’s making sure that we’re talking to the best business people we can in Rio, and connecting them with the best businesspeople we have.”
Creative industries consultant David Parrish is a regular visitor to Brazil, while he and Kevin McManus, director of Liverpool Vision’s support agency Merseyside ACME, spoke at a conference in Brazil last year about Liverpool’s creative sector.
Mr Parrish said: “People in Brazil are interested in learning how we’ve supported the creative industries in Liverpool over the past few years.”
Mr McManus, who leads Merseyside ACME within regeneration agency Liverpool Vision, said: “Sound City would be about the whole of South America. It’s not just Rio – there would be businesses from Argentina and Chile as well.
“Brazil is one of the markets that everyone is talking about at the moment.
“We’ve been working with Liverpool Sound City over the past few years to provide a platform for Liverpool and the region and its creative, music and digital businesses.
“It’s gone to the US market, to the Middle East, to Scandinavia. It’s a model that works.”
Mr Fonseca said that the Liverpool connection with Sound City would help raise the city’s profile in Rio.
He said: “The reason we’ve chosen Liverpool Sound City, and no other festival, is because we recognise in Rio the terrific work they’ve been doing here.
“It’s very inspirational for us, with the festival atmosphere and also the business dealings.
“The combination you have reached here is a good recipe. We want a little bit in Rio.”
Mr Fonseca’s visit also took him to Liverpool Innovation Park and to the Baltic Creative complex, where old warehouses in the Baltic Triangle area have been converted into business units for creative firms.
He said: “The government in Brazil, both nationally and at state level, is becoming more and more interested in the creative and digital industries. The UK is a reference for us in that regard.”
This year’s Liverpool Sound City will run from May 17 to May 19. Headline artists include Professor Green, White Denim, Death In Vegas and Michael Kiwanuka.
The convention will include seminars on subjects including music start-ups, international sync deals, digital marketing, angel investors and the art of the record sleeve.
The event will also include a reception hosted by music licensing body PPL.
Mr Pichilingi also hopes to hold another American Sound City event next year, and is in talks about holding one in the Middle East.