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Folkestone to become world's first 'music town'

Folkestone has become the world's first 'music town' in a launch that will see at least 24 events put on over four days.

From rock gigs to jazz and opera, the concerts will celebrate the occasion, which coincides with BBC World Music Day today.

Folkestone-born Noel Redding and Jimi Hendrix in their heyday. Photo: John Sims
Folkestone-born Noel Redding and Jimi Hendrix in their heyday. Photo: John Sims

The product of at least two years worth of work by The Folkestone Music Town Project, the title means the district has formally recognised music as an asset of value capable of boosting economic growth, tourism, and health and wellbeing.

The area already boasts a proud music-based community with historic connections to legendary performers such as Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductee Noel Redding, bassist of the legendary Jimi Hendrix Experience.

In becoming a 'music town', Folkestone replicated the work of 'music cities' such as San Francisco, Amsterdam and London by setting up a music board to coordinate strategies and initiatives.

The board's first task will be to explore a recognised busking code of conduct in the town.

Some of the actions implemented by 'music cities' have included the appointment of a Night Mayor and music based tourism campaigns, meaning similar things could be due for Folkestone.

'Music is a very powerful tool'- Dr Julia Jones

The Folkestone Music Town project was launched in January 2017, co-funded by Found in Music and The Utley Foundation.

Dr Julia Jones, also known as Dr Rock, founded the project.

She said: “The science shows music is a very powerful tool due to the ways the human brain responds to it.

"The project has reached this successful conclusion due to the full collaboration between local musicians, music fans, residents, business owners, health practitioners, the town council and Folkestone & Hythe District Council (FHDC).”

Congratulations have been flowing in from music cities across the world.

Cllr David Wimble is proud of Folkestone's musical community
Cllr David Wimble is proud of Folkestone's musical community

Those behind the project are hoping that other towns will be inspired to adopt these same principles and join this new Music Town movement.

Cllr David Wimble, FHDC cabinet member for district economy, said: “The musical history of Folkestone and the vibrant scene here today has convinced us we need to recognise the value of music and how important it is to us as a town.

“Extraordinary creativity flows through the streets of Folkestone and music is hugely important to the character of the town.

"We want to support local musicians and venues and through this initiative we can ensure that music always remains a priority for us.”

If you would like to know more about Folkestone as a 'music town', go to the Folkestone Music Town website.

For more ideas on days out and things to do, head to our What’s On section

Read more: All the latest news from Folkestone

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