Just last week, we received the amazing news that Melbourne has been crowned the live music capital of the world, so what better time for the city to hold a conference in which they discuss what it takes for a city to truly become a city of music.

Spearheaded by Shain Shapiro, the CEO of Sound Diplomacy, Music Cities Melbourne marks the first time that the Music Cities convention has ventured outside of the Northern Hemisphere, with attendees receiving a veritable education on the benefits that live music has for a city. Taking over the Melbourne Arts Centre, representatives from all over the globe gathered in eagerness to experience what Australian music brings to the table.

Kicking things off with a presentation by Helen Marcou, the co-founder of Richmond’s Bakehouse Studios and the SLAM (Save Live Australia’s Music) initiative, it became very clear as to just how passionate Australians are in regards to their live music scene.

“[In 2010,] up to 126 venues either limited or cancelled their live music programs,” Marcou recalled of the beginning of the SLAM initiative, relating back to the draconian measures enforced by the state government in 2010 which saw live music in Melbourne at risk.

“Our beloved live music scene was haemorrhaging, musicians were losing their livelihoods, and the culture of live music was under threat,” Marcou continued. “We learnt very quickly that in an election year, change can happen fast.”