Building The Music Capital Launches in DC on October 29th

Building The Music Capital Launches in DC on October 29th

DC Funk Parade • Photo by Josh Brick Graphics

Georgetown University, the Music Policy Forum and Listen Local First DC are excited to announce Building the Music Capital, a one day free conference  taking place on Saturday October 29th at the Georgetown University Edward B. Bunn S.J. Intercultural Center.

Like many cities, Washington, DC is in the midst of significant change and transformation, providing both opportunities and challenges for our local music community. Building the Music Capital is a one-day conference that will address these issues head on through a series of presentations, interviews and panel discussions with leading figures engaged in the city’s musical future.

On October 29th, performers, educators, cultural advocates, entrepreneurs and policymakers will share their perspectives on how the DC music scene stacks up, and what steps can be taken to develop and enact strategies, policies and businesses that will enhance and support the capital’s critical music infrastructure.

“Across the globe the public and philanthropic sectors are rethinking how policies, programs and strategies can support healthy, sustainable music ecosystems in their communities.  We are excited to bring this global conversation specifically to the District of Columbia” said Music Policy Forum founder Michael Bracy.

“Georgetown University is committed to being a thoughtful member of the greater DC community, and as our music program has grown over the years, we’ve become all the more dedicated to assisting in the development of an arts infrastructure that will serve the public for generations to come.  That’s why we’re hosting This conference. We’re excited about bringing the voices of everyone into the conversation.” said Anna Harwell Celenza, T.E. Caestecker Professor of Music, Georgetown University.

Attendees need to RSVP for the conference by visiting:

For regular updates on programming and additional confirmed speakers please check out our Facebook Event Page at



10:15-10:45 Opening  Statements — The Current State of Music in DC

10:45-12:00 Why Reinvent the Wheel?  Perspectives from Outside Washington, DC

Policymaking and planning does not exist in a vacuum.  Across the globe, governments, nonprofits and industry groups have spent decades establishing policies, programs and organizations that can help inform the Washington DC community’s efforts to think about sustainable music ecosystems.  What innovations could be applied here?  How are governments embracing their potential role in support of music?  And what can happen when a city declines to engage?  Experts from throughout North America will inspire and challenge the DC
community by sharing their personal experiences and perspectives on how this work can be accomplished.

12:15-1:00 LUNCH  (provided free of charge to all those who register by Oct. 25


1:00-1:45 DC Music and Cultural Identity: What are we Fighting For?

The District of Columbia has a rich and varied musical heritage combined with a remarkably diverse ecosystem of artists, entrepreneurs and cultural activists working in a variety of genres.  In  a time of tremendous change spurred by the communications revolution,explosive population growth and economic how do we define Washington’s musical and cultural identity?  What are the characteristics and qualities that we want policymakers to protect and enhance?

2:00-2:45pm Institutions and Infrastructure:  Creative a Supportive Environment for the Arts

Any thriving cultural ecosystem relies on factors beyond their control – namely the public institutions and infrastructure that impacts all citizens.  From housing and transportation to education and public safety, our public sector is responsible for all factors that make a community healthy and sustainable. These institutions also play a role the cultural ecosystem as promoters, educators and connectors.  How can we think about the intersection of music and infrastructure?  How can and should the District think about how infrastructure lines up with music?

3:00 – 3:45  Building a New Music Industry

The digital transformation of the music community has led to a new generation of entrepreneurs and organizers who are reinventing the industry on the fly. What is happening in DC that is new and unique?  What kind of emerging models are making it possible for musicians to get paid?  How does local music fit into that equation?  And what kind of support from the DC government is necessary to help these businesses thrive and grow?

3:45 – 4:15 – The Festival Age

One of the most distinct trends in the music community is the rise of the festival.  Fans are increasingly turning to curated experiences as their preferred method of experiencing music and many artists are seeing festivals as a great way to connect with new audiences and receive good pay. At the same time, city officials across the globe recognize the significant economic impact of festivals and are pushing hard on cultural tourism strategies.  The festival world is quickly evolving and we are yet to see the limits of the market.  Local organizers and instigators will reflect on their experiences and explore where they fit into ongoing planning processes.

4:15 – 5:00         Plugging into the Planning

We close with the questions on everyone’s mind:  What’s next?  What are the city officials going to be focusing on?  How do discussions with the local music community continue?  What does the local music community want to know?  DC government officials will go into detail on their planning processes with a particular focus on how members of the music community can engage with these processes in a way that is productive and constructive.



Confirmed Panelists and Speaker Include: Councilmember David Grosso, Dir Arthur Espinoza (DCCAH), Dir Angie Gates (OCTFME), Anna Celenza (Georgetown University), Shorty Corleone (Go-Go Musician + Composer), Sakina Khan (DCOP), Maryann Lombardi (OCTFME + 202Creates), Michael Bracy (Music Policy Forum), Ashlye Keaton (Entertainment Law Legal Assistance Project), Jesse Elliot (The Music District), Ben London (Music Commission, Seattle WA), Amy Terrill (Music Canada), Katie Longmyer (Brooklyn Electronic Music Festival), Marcus Dowling (Freelance Journalist), Maurice Jackson (Georgetown University), Mazi Mutafa (Words Beats & Life) Kevin Erickson (Future of Music Coalition), Nico Hobson (GoWin Media), Aaron Myers (Jazz Musician), Chris Bulbulia (DC Music Download), Asheru (DC Achievers + Guerilla Arts), Miles Gray (Smith Public Trust), Maggie Gilmore (DC Punk Archive), Maggie Cannon (IMP Presents), Aerica Banks (Google), Yudu Gray (House Studio), Fitz Holladay (SoFar Sounds), Ally Schweitzer (WAMU), Justin Rood (Funk Parade), Will Suter (All Things Go), Molly Ruland (One Love Massive), Chris Naoum (Listen Local First) Ron Dixon (Studio 202 + Arts Action DC), DJ 2 Tone Jones (Shaolin Jazz Project), Malik DOPE Drummer (Musician + Performer)  and many more to be announced…

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