UNESCO City of Music

since 2015

Liverpool is a city where music is our lifeblood.

Thanks to The Beatles Liverpool and music are synonymous but the city has a rich and diverse music history that reaches back to the 18th century, and the city’s development as one of the world’s great ports. Liverpool’s links with the Americas, Africa and Asia created a melting pot of cultural and ethnic traditions that shaped a unique character. The port brought a cultural wealth, evident in our grand concert halls and large number of music clubs, pubs, societies and associations and in the diversity of artistic output – from Merseybeat in the 60s, to the emergence of Erics and the influential post punk scene of the 1970sand 80s. This diversity can also be seen in the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra which marked its 175th anniversary in 2015, in the global EDM brand of Cream which started as a ‘super club’ in Liverpool in the 1990s, and in the recognition of the city as the ‘World Capital of Pop’ by the Guinness Book of Records. Our vibrant festival scene also showcase this diversity with everything from Africa Oye, through to Liverpool International Music Festival (LIMF), Liverpool Sound City, Liverpool Irish Festival, and the International Festival of Psychedelia.

The UNESCO designation reaffirms our commitment to supporting new music in all genres and our continuing investment in the importance of music both socially and economically. The strength and diversity of our music festivals is testament to the importance of music to the city. From Liverpool International Music Festival (LIMF), through to Africa Oye, Liverpool Sound City  and Liverpool International Festival of Psychedelia to name just a few.

Music and culture have been at the centre of the city’s renaissance over the past 15 years. The UNESCO designation will allow us to continue to use creativity and music to create a sense of place, grow the visitor economy, reposition the city image, develop the creative industries, and address the problems of inclusion and deprivation.

Thanks to our tenure as European Capital of Culture in 2008 we know the impact that a unifying goal can have on aligning strategies and stakeholders and with this in mind our objectives are:

Use the designation in marketing activity to drive the profile of the city:

  • Developing events and initiatives which increase visitors and grow the economic contribution of the music sector
  • Use UNESCO membership to drive music policy and activity, delivering sustainable activity based on robust evidence and sector insight
  • Provide a pathway for children and young people, connecting education, skills and employment within the sector and encouraging participation, entrepreneurship and most importantly ambitionIncrease opportunities for and profile for local artists, producers and organisations
  • Grow an industry cluster to socially and geographically diversify the UK music business
  • Learn from best practice in the creative field through exchange and participation with member cities


Kevin McManus
Head of UNESCO City of Music

Phone: (+44) 151 233 0977 / 07934 707 018

Read about the changing music scene in Liverpool and its relevance today in the Culture Liverpool music blog written by Kevin McManus.

Facts and Figures

Liverpool is a major city in the North West of England  and is  176 miles from London

Liverpool was established as a Borough in 1207


City covers 11,160 hectares of which 1,000 hectares are a UNESCO World Heritage site

Population (City)

Population (Liverpool City Region)
1.5million people

Latest Music Projects

Liverpool project

World Music Day 2022, Liverpool

Liverpool project


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