Becky Ayres / Sound City COO

Photography: John Johnson / johnjohnson-photography.com

Having joined the Sound City team after the first edition in 2008, seeing the festival and conference now in its 12th year is very humbling and I feel very grateful to everyone who has worked on it since then: in particular, the music fans and industry professionals from all over the world who have supported Sound City and bought into it year after year. Sound City was one of the first festivals in the UK to combine the emerging talent and industry model, and we count our blessings that, through each year, we have always had the support from those that take it to their hearts to keep going to where we are today. It truly is a privilege and, for me, it is the best job in the world.

We are back in the Baltic Triangle for the second time this year, an area that I really believe is the best in the UK to host a city-centre festival, combining as it does an incredible number of venues and the beating heart of a creative community. We’re working with 16 venues around the Baltic Triangle – all literally within five minutes of one another – which makes the practice of hopping from one to another to see as much as new music as possible very doable.

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Sound City in the Baltic Triangle (Jazamin Sinclair)

In the last 12 months we have made a conscious decision to broaden the genres of music represented at Sound City, and I’m delighted that we have our first pop headliners in Loyle Carner and Mabel. Mabel is also our first female headliner, and is part of an artist line-up that is moving each year to become 50/50 gender balanced, which is the same across our industry conference, Sound City+.

This year, the festival will feature artists from over 40 different countries performing across the weekend, including artists from Russia, Portugal, Chile, China, Korea and Lithuania. We also have some fantastic partnerships in place, which have led to the programming of some incredible showcases. These include Brighter Sounds, who are working with us on a residency and performance with the artist Gwenno. Other partners from the UK and around the globe include Bella Union, Modern Sky UK, DIY, Gigwise, LJMU, The Label Recordings, BBC Wales: Horizons, SXSW and many more. Look out for their showcases and the artists they’re bringing to Sound City across the weekend.

Sound City+, our industry conference, is back better than ever, with a programme featuring over 80 speakers from 37 different countries and sessions from Spotify, BBC Introducing, Levi’s, PRS, PPL and Vevo. If you’re in the music industry, or want to get into it, don’t waste the opportunity to meet industry professionals from across the UK and around the world who will be in Liverpool from 3rd to 5th May; you could make a life-changing difference to what you want to do in the music industry.

We are over the moon to be working in partnership with Levi’s and Liverpool Football Club on The Levi’s Music Project, which has involved our headliner, Loyle Carner, mentoring 13 young artists from the Anfield area to develop their careers. Across the Sound City weekend, the young people will perform in Constellations, with Levi’s hosting many other events over the festival’s three days. Download the Sound City and Sound City+ apps to see the times for this and everything else we have going on across the weekend.

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Thank you to everyone who has supported us in putting Sound City together this year. Particular mention goes to Tony Butler, legendary promoter of the Zanzibar Club, who passed away last year. He worked with us on Sound City during the first seven years of the festival and we are indebted to him for his support for us and for Liverpool’s music scene. Also, Her’s performed at Sound City during their early days, in 2016 and 2018; their tragic passing this year is heartbreaking, and we think of Stephen Fitzpatrick, Audun Laading and their tour manager Trevor Engelbrektson and what they did for music in their short time with us.

If you’re joining us this year, have an amazing time and let us know what you enjoy most. Thank you so much for your support, it means everything to us!

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