The world's first
WHAT IS A MUSIC TOWN?
A town that has formally recognised music as an asset of value capable of boosting economic growth, tourism and health and wellbeing.
A town that has replicated the work of Music Cities around the world by evaluating its local music infrastructure in depth, producing a plan to support and harness music and forming a Board of representatives to monitor progress.
IS FOLKESTONE THE WORLD'S FIRST?
Yes. It's the first town in the world to have completed this work.
The project began in January 2017 and is described in more detail further down this webpage.
It included an 18-month evaluation, a public consultation on Licensing Policy, collaborative working groups and the development of a new website, action plan and Music & Evening Economy Board.
MUSIC IS IN FOLKESTONE'S DNA
Folkestone is a fabulous town on the south coast of England. Music has been at the heart of this community for centuries.
The Victorians built fabulous venues to indulge in it, King Edward VII built Europe's first sprung floor to dance to it (in The Grand hotel), soldiers sailing to war enjoyed a last cup ot tea and cake with it, local talent composed and performed it.
The town has attracted pioneering musicians over the years from Yehudi Menuhin to Jimi Hendrix.
Inspired by the incredible Music City movement that's been sweeping the world in recent years, Folkestone has now adopted the same approach that great cities such as London, Cardiff, Austin and New Orleans have embraced.
Following their example Folkestone has formally recognised music as an asset of value that can boost economic development, improve health and wellbeing and help address the UN's Sustainable Development Goals. The first town in the world to do so.
Folkestone was officially announced as the first Music Town in the world on BBC Music Day, 26th September 2019. BBC Music Day is the annual UK celebration of music's power to change lives.
Photos above: Hendrix birthday party at The Chambers by Mark Hourahane & La Parisienne Nightclub 30th Anniversary Reunion by Dan Desborough
It's no secret that one of Folkestone's local musicians is in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. Noel Redding left home and joined Jimi Hendrix and Mitch Mitchell in 1966 to create (still) one of the most iconic and influential acts in modern music history - the legendary Jimi Hendrix Experience.
Five decades later Folkestone is still rammed full of music talent of all ages. The local scene is thriving and covers all genres from hip hop to ska and everything in between.
The town welcomes music talent. Come join our community. We've got recording studios, rehearsal rooms, music teachers, producers, dancers, choirs, collaborators and plenty of enthusiastic venues and local music fans.
Photo: Dolly Doowop's Vintage Dance Club at the Harbour Arm
Folkestone has hosted gigs by many of the biggest names in music over the years from Fleetwood Mac to The Jimi Hendrix Experience.
The town is still absolutely teeming full of venues that regularly host music.
The Victorian Bandstand up on The Leas promenade also hosts brass bands on Sundays during the summer, with spectacular views across the English Channel to France.
You may find the occasional impromptu music party down on the shoreline too (we have four fabulous beaches by the way).
Photo: Rooftop Disco on top of The Leas Cliff Hall
There's something for everyone in Folkestone. With live music in venues every weekend of the year and a calendar of annual music festivals.
We've got hip hop, ska, classical, jazz, blues, northern soul, EDM, brass bands, reggae, choral, motown, rock, americana, bluegrass, folk and metal.
Whatever it is you're looking for, you're likely to find it here.
Photo: War of the Words (hip hop open mic nights) by Hellfire Corner at Space Bar & Gallery
We like and respect variety in Folkestone.
We've got a thriving classical and jazz scene featuring residencies by artists such as The Sarconi Quartet. Inspired by London's beautiful Union Chapel venue several churches in Folkestone now host superb music events from acoustic singer-songwriter to early choral music.
We've also got a cool skating scene that will soon move into its new headquarters - F51 - the town's new Urban Sports Park, the first of its kind in the world.
AN APPETITE FOR MUSIC
Our town also enjoys a great variety of superb and critically acclaimed eateries.
Our local restauranteurs also celebrate music. So don't be surprised to hear their latest curated playlist or a live performance by a local musician. Music is often on the menu here.
OUR MUSIC TOWN JOURNEY
The Music Town project was launched by Found in Music. An examination of the local music infrastructure commenced.
A subsequent public consultation led by the District Council examined the licensing policy.
The first Music Town meeting was held and attended by over 70 local musicians, businesses and council representatives.
A collaborative approach to developing a formal strategy was agreed.
The Folkestone Music Town project was presented by Found in Music and Sound Diplomacy at the United Nations World Urban Forum in Kuala Lumpur - demonstrating how music can help deliver the UN's Sustainable Development Goals.
All stakeholders agreed a collaborative plan to recognise and support music as a vital asset in driving economic development and public health.
A new Music & Evening Economy Board will provide support.
MUSIC FOR LIFE
Music brings us together and delivers significant health benefits to our bodies and brains. We want everyone to be able to enjoy as much music as possible forever - through live music gigs, learning instruments, singing, dancing, creating, performing and learning.
Social contact is also key to good health and quality of life. So we use music to maintain connections and to build social cohesion, especially across generations.
Age is all the rage in Folkestone. It's just a number.
We keep rocking here. From cradle to grave.
Our local schools, health centres and care homes will ensure that music is at the heart of life.
Come visit, live, work and play in Folkestone, the world's first Music Town.
Photo above: Skabour Festival by Mark Houranane
Photo left: Nina Clark's fabulous 'Musical Walkabout'
Folkestone will ensure that residents living with dementia will have access to information regarding the benefits of music and lots of opportunities to engage with music. This includes the new NHS dementia village called Harmonia which opens in Dover (just along the coast from Folkestone) in October 2019. This is the first of its kind in the UK. Music will be at the heart of Harmonia Village (pictured above). This aspect of the Music Town project was kindly funded by The Utley Foundation as part of their Music 4 Dementia 2020 initiative.
We will aim to address a number of the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals in our town by harnessing the power of music to boost economic development, tourism, health and wellbeing, education, social inclusion and important messaging about the environment and climate.
We encourage other towns around the world to do the same.
Photo above: Folkestone from the International Space Station taken by Commander Chris Hadfield