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Austin's music scene gets some international flair with new Toronto Music Alliance

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FFF Fest Ton Tons
The Austin-Toronto Music Alliance aims to strengthen international connections for musicians.  Photo by Alicia Vega

Austin's moniker as the Live Music Capital of the World is getting even stronger with a new alliance in the works. Last week, Mayor Lee Leffingwell announced an official partnership between the City of Austin and our neighbor to the north, Toronto.

The Austin-Toronto Music Alliance is a new trade and export initiative focused on the growing music industries in both cities. The Alliance, Leffingwell hopes, will strengthen the international connections for musicians. "We hope that by fostering this relationship, our local musicians and industry professionals will reap the benefits of being on an international stage," he said in a press release.

 "We hope that by fostering this relationship, our local musicians and industry professionals will reap the benefits of being on an international stage," said Mayor Lee Leffingwell.  

To kick start the initiative, Leffingwell has appointed a group of highly respected public and private industry leaders from Austin to serve on the advisory board. Joining Leffingwell on the board are Mike Martinez Austin City Council Member (and Mayoral candidate hopeful); Don Pitts, Manager Austin Music Division; and Ben Ramirez, International Economic Development Division Manager.

Representing the private sector are Ed Bailey, vice president of brand development for Austin City Limits; Chris Castle, managing partner of Christian L. Castle Attorneys; Lisa Hickey, formerly of C3 Presents; and Heather Wagner Reed, president of Juice Consulting.

An idea that has been the works for the past year, the Austin-Toronto Music Alliance will officially meet for its first work session in early June. According to the City Council resolution, the team will work to "identify opportunities and concurrent activities that will jointly assist in growing the music industry market sector as well as create new relationships for ongoing information exchange, both government-to-government and industry-to-industry."

"Austin and Toronto have so much in common and yet so much to gain from this unique cultural collaboration," said Mayor Lee Leffingwell.

Council Member Mike Martinez echoed those sentiments. "We had a great opportunity to visit with leaders from the City of Toronto last fall during the Austin City Limits Festival to discuss how the music industry has shaped and benefited our communities," he said. "I'm looking forward to working with the Music Alliance to strengthen this relationship and explore the opportunities ahead for these two creative and innovative cities." 

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