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Cologne Music Conference 2019
Cologne Music Conference 2019

Around 190 protagonists of the cultural scene, politics and administration of Cologne came to Cologne's Stadtgarten on October 21 to discuss the situation of Cologne's culture and especially of music in the context of the new cultural development strategy.

Katja Hermes of Sound Diplomacy introduced the Music City Manual, which gathers strategies for the development of a music city. In her opinion, Cologne is already on the right track in several areas – in the future, a special focus should be placed on securing spaces for artists and creative people. In addition to clubs, this also includes rehearsal spaces and studios, where artists careers begin. In the subsequent panel "We built this city on music", Hans Nieswandt (Institute for Pop Music), Suzie Kerstgens (Klee), Keshav Purushotham (Keshavara) and Oliver Minkh (MINKH) declared that as artists they have found a home in Cologne in which they have private roots and a good professional network. "We cannot complain about Cologne as a place," Hans Nieswandt put it in a nutshell. He also suggested establishing an artistically oriented pop institute in Cologne with the potential to develop attraction and radiance.

In his keynote speech, Thore Debor of Clubkombinat Hamburg explained the Hamburg Club Cadastre, which is intended, among other things, to serve as an early warning system to identify future developments in urban planning that might be relevant for music clubs – such a cadastre has already been commissioned for Cologne.

During the second panel "Develop, plan, protect", Susanne Laugwitz-Aulbach (Assistant Head of the Department of Art and Culture of the City of Cologne) and Markus Greitemann (Assistant Head of the Department of Urban Development, Planning and Construction of the City of Cologne) assured that they would support the protection of cultural spaces. In the future, suitable measures should be taken in advance to prevent cultural sites from being endangered by impending residential developments – the safeguarding of cultural areas is then one of the basic conditions with which an investor must and can plan.

The third panel was opened with a keynote lecture by Melike Öztürk, who presented the manifold activities of the Musicboard Berlin, especially those directly for musicians. In the following panel discussion on "Networks and their Significance" it became clear that creative people should make their interests clear to politicians, together with a strong voice, in order to gain more attention. Lorenz Deutsch, member of the Landtag, spoke about "kicking in doors". Norbert Oberhaus, Managing Director of cologne on pop GmbH, agreed that on the creative side there was sometimes a lack of networking and coordination. On the political side, offers for the music industry are often not well enough coordinated because they are connected to various ministries and institutions and there is a lack of a clear-cut course. He explained that he was discussing the establishment of a MusicOfficeNRW with state politics and other institutions, which could play a coordinating role in and for North Rhine-Westphalia.