UNESCO City of Music

since 2015

City of Artists

In the middle of the 20th century, Medellín was one of the most important centers in the Latin American music industry. The headquarters of some of the biggest national record companies of that time were in the city, therefore, many renowned artists from neighboring countries came and temporarily settled to make their record productions. Those visiting artists established relations with local musicians and the city became a venue for live shows. Medellín was a city of opportunities for the most outstanding musicians from all over the country.

The 60’s arrived with a profound change in popular taste, generating new dynamics in the consumption of art and culture. In the 80’s and 90’s, drug trafficking hit the city in all its spheres and Medellín faced one of the most harrowing chapters in its history.

Arts, specifically music, has been one of the most effective tools of Medellín to accompany and strengthen the processes of citizenship building and social transformation. The local government has accompanied these processes by generating spaces for creation, dissemination, and training for both, artists and audiences.

The Secretariat of Culture has been responsible for promoting, implementing and driving the city process through music. Programs such as the Red de Escuelas de Música, which was created 22 years ago and receives an average of 4,600 students per year, has benefited not only musicians but also their families and surrounding communities.

Altavoz, a 15-years annual process which seeks to generate coexistence spaces for attendees and the circulation of local and international artists, is also one of these many programs. Its previous version had more than 200 artistic presentations in all its phases and an audience of more than 80 thousand people.

The Secretariat of Culture of Medellín has developed public policies, different from the above mentioned, to strengthen the musical sector such as the Convocatoria de Estímulos para el Arte y la Cultura; Medellín Ciudad de Artistas and in May, the city will hold an event called Referentes, which seeks to generate a space for dialogue and strengthening in different arts such as music through talks and music business roundtables.


As a creative city of music, Medellín focuses on the following activities:

Making permanent contact with the entire musical ecosystem, thus strengthening the existing public policies and allowing the creation of new policies that help the sector to grow.

Generating free public spaces for musical training throughout the city. Strengthening citizenship building processes, boosting the cultural and musical scene, creating life opportunities for children and young people.

Strengthening dissemination spaces for local artists and their proposals. Facilitating ventures along the productive chain of the musical sector through training and resources.

Promoting spaces for citizen encounters linked to music and work towards the formation of new audiences.

Supporting the circulation and creation processes of local musicians by maintaining and strengthening programs such as the call for art and culture incentives. In addition to other circulation spaces.

Joining the city’s memory and heritage processes by supporting and strengthening the transcendental musical manifestations in its history.


Agency for International Cooperation and Investment of Medellín and the Metropolitan Area

Diego Alejandro Vélez
Phone: +57 3002186742

Secretary of Citizen Culture

Felipe Grajales Mejía
Artistic Director of Altavoz Festival

Facts and Figures

Medellín is the second-largest city in Colombia and the capital of the department of Antioquia. It is located in the Aburrá Valley, a central region of the Andes Mountains in South America. Medellín is important to the region for its universities, academies, commerce, industry, science, health services, flower-growing and festivals. 

380.64 km²

Population (City)
2,508,452 (2017)

Population (Metro Area)
3,821,797 (2016)