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October 8, 2013
Austin-Toronto Music City Alliance business mission strums success
After Toronto City Council endorsed the creation of a music city alliance with Austin, Texas in July, Mayor Rob Ford led a music and cultural business mission to Austin. This successful mission took place on Thursday, October 3 and Friday, October 4.

"I was thrilled to lead such a productive and educational mission and to sign the world's first music city alliance agreement," said Mayor Ford. "We accomplished what we set out to achieve and much more – our mission was a phenomenal success. I am fully confident that this mission will be the first step in a long and fruitful relationship between two great music cities."

The purpose of the mission was to meet with City of Austin officials and music industry representatives to solidify the terms and scope of the Austin-Toronto Music City Alliance. This purpose was accomplished with the formal signing by Mayor Rob Ford and Mayor Lee Leffingwell.

Mayor Ford and the mission's delegates also met with many of the pivotal and most experienced players in Austin's music industry, which resulted in a significant and substantial exchange of knowledge and best practices that will help drive economic development and job creation in the city.

This mission also provided insight into how the City can promote and foster Toronto's internationally respected music sector and how the City, working with Toronto's music industry, can position Toronto as an international live music tourist destination.

The Mayor was accompanied by Councillor Michael Thompson (Ward 37 Scarborough Centre), Chair of the Economic Development Committee; Councillor Gary Crawford (Ward 36 Scarborough Southwest), Councillor Josh Colle (Ward 15 Eglinton-Lawrence); and Councillor Doug Ford (Ward 2 Etobicoke North), Renato Discenza, President and CEO of Invest Toronto, and Randy McLean, Director of Strategic Growth and Sector Development, Economic Development and Culture.

Toronto music industry representatives who participated in this music business mission included Jeff Cohen (Owner, Collective Concerts, Toronto's Horseshoe Tavern and Lee's Palace), Graham Henderson (President, Music Canada), Michael Hollett (Co-founder, President and Managing Director, North By Northeast Festival), Jesse Kumagai (Director, Programming, Corporation of Massey and Roy Thomson Hall), Jacob Smid (Vice President, Talent and Marketing, Live Nation Canada), Mike Tanner (Manager, Communications and Operations, North By Northeast Festival) and Amy Terrill (Vice President, Public Affairs, Music Canada).

Quotes from select Austin-Toronto Music City Alliance mission participants:

“The incredible job that Austin has done to create, support and promote its music industry is a valuable lesson for Toronto. Toronto has great artistic depth, a strong cultural infrastructure and a vibrant music scene featuring home-grown artists that rank among the best in the world. Austin has proven that if a city reinforces these strengths by making the music business a strategic focus, it can gain significant economic and cultural benefits that spill over into all sectors and communities. I am hopeful that our new partnership with Austin will enable us to bring an event like Austin City Limits to Toronto as a first step in the development of a new music business strategy for our city.” -- Councillor Michael Thompson (Ward 37 Scarborough Centre), Chair of the Economic Development Committee

"From an economic and cultural perspective, music is big business in both Austin Texas and Toronto. These two great musical capitals have formed a new Music City Alliance which will showcase the importance of music in creating a vibrant and livable city. As a passionate advocate for the arts and culture sector, and as a musician myself, I am eager for this Alliance to broaden the impact music can have in Toronto the same way that it has done in Austin." -- Councillor Gary Crawford (Ward 36 Scarborough Southwest)

"The City of Austin example shows Toronto how a city's music sector can be leveraged for increased economic activity, tourism, employment, and quality of life. The Music City Alliance between Toronto and Austin will generate new opportunities for businesses, residents, music fans, and artists in both markets." -- Councillor Josh Colle (Ward 15 Eglinton-Lawrence)

"I was thrilled to be a part of such a productive trip. I am looking forward to exploring opportunities for aspiring artists here in our home city, Toronto, and to also foster economic development in the music industry." -- Councillor Doug Ford (Ward 2 Etobicoke North)

"The emergence of new outdoor venues, concerts, and festivals in Toronto last year, especially Echo Beach, Field Trip, and TURF; was a badly needed shot in the arm for both the music industry and the city, I'm hoping the Mayor's mission to Austin capitalizes on the recent momentum which hopefully evolves into a Toronto Music Office, a Toronto Music Commission, and local Councillors opening up even more green spaces downtown for outdoor summer live music events" -- Jeff Cohen, Owner, Collective Concerts, Horseshoe Tavern, Lee's Palace, TURF TO

“Austin makes it look easy but I think we all know that we have work ahead of us to ensure this mission and alliance deliver dividends to Toronto. The Austin template starts with a music office, music advisory board and an open-for-business attitude at City Hall. With that, we will succeed in generating jobs and additional activity in Toronto's great music community. Based on the reaction and statements of our mayor and other Toronto delegates, I am confident that they are committed to move quickly in this direction.” -- Graham Henderson, President, Music Canada

"It was great to be part of such of a productive working trip to Austin. This collaboration of politicians and industry leaders insures there is the will and the way to turn our newly gained knowledge into great results that will grow the live music scene in Toronto along with the great economic and lifestyle benefits that such growth will generate." -- Michael Hollett (Co-founder, President and Managing Director, North By Northeast Festival)

"The City of Toronto has one of the world’s most vibrant music scenes – the rival of any city I’ve ever visited. What we learned in Austin is how a city amplifies its successes by prioritizing and promoting its music industry. Austin’s Music & Entertainment Division clears a path for the music industry to conduct business with the city. Their Convention and Visitors Bureau uses music as a magnet for international conferences and tourists. The City of Toronto needs to apply these lessons and more to realize our full potential. After having experienced Austin’s model first-hand, our elected officials and city staff are inspired and eager to get on with the next steps, and the industry will be there to support City Hall’s efforts towards establishing Toronto as a true music capital." -- Jesse Kumagai, Director of Programming, Corporation of Massey Hall and Roy Thomson Hall

"The Austin-Toronto trade mission was a great opportunity for us to see the type of relationship possible between the City and the private sector which can further develop the live entertainment marketplace in Toronto into a global leader. Austin was built on live music and some of the municipal programs that are in place ensure that it continues to evolve the size and scope of the industry which delivers a significant economic impact directly related to music and indirectly affecting the overall appeal of the city to both business and tourism. Live Nation, as Canada's largest concert promoter, with our head office in Toronto, sees a tremendous opportunity to work with the other industry stakeholders, the Province of Ontario and the City of Toronto to ensure live music continues to be important driver of economic growth and quality of life for the citizens of Toronto." -- Jacob Smid (Vice President, Talent and Marketing, Live Nation Canada)

"Having our Mayor and key City Councillors see first-hand how Austin supports and leverages its music industry should be a tremendous boost as we build our own close working relationship between City Hall and every musician, venue, and festival. I'm excited to see what great things come from this mission and the new music city alliance - and looking forward to entertaining our amazing Austin hosts here in Toronto soon." -- Mike Tanner (Manager, Communications and Operations, North By Northeast festival)

City Council has also endorsed an economic growth plan called Collaborating for Competitiveness – A Strategic Plan to Accelerate Economic Growth and Job Creation in Toronto. This plan sets targets for improving the quality of jobs in Toronto and commits to harmonizing the policies/activities of the City of Toronto and its agencies to help create a more attractive climate for business and investment. More information about the plan and how the City helps business in Toronto is available at

In 2011, City Council unanimously endorsed the Creative Capital Gains: An Action Plan for Toronto, which provides strategic advice and recommendations for the support and growth of Toronto's cultural sector. In 2013, City Council also endorsed the multi-year allocation of $20 to $25 million to the arts and cultural sector from Third Party Sign Tax retroactive revenues. A total of $6 million from those revenues were allocated this year alone.

Toronto is Canada's largest city and sixth largest government, and home to a diverse population of about 2.8 million people. Toronto's government is dedicated to delivering customer service excellence, creating a transparent and accountable government, reducing the size and cost of government and building a transportation city. For information on non-emergency City services and programs, Toronto residents, businesses and visitors can dial 311, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

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Media Contact
Amin Massoudi, Special Assistant - Communications and Media Relations
Mayor's Office

Shane Gerard, Senior Communications Co-ordinator
Strategic Communications



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