UNESCO City of Music

Adelaide is the first, and only, designated UNESCO City of Music in Australia.

The designation, bestowed on 15 December 2015, is an acknowledgment of the breadth, depth and vibrancy of the city’s music culture, its international reach, its history and its aspirations.


A rock solid foundation

Adelaide’s reputation as a music hot-spot stems back to the 60s when iconic Australian bands and artists such as Zoot (Darryl Cotton, Rick Springfield, Beeb Birtles), The Master’s Apprentices (Jim Keays, Glenn Wheatley) and The Twilights (Glenn Shorrock, Terry Britten) rose to international fame. The surge continued in the 70s when Shorrock and Birtles formed Little River Band, and later discovered Stars, while Paul Kelly and Eric Bogle made their mark on the indie/folk scene.

By the 80s bands such as Cold Chisel and The Angels, along with indigenous band, No Fixed Address were amongst the biggest bands in Australia. The Superjesus and Hilltop Hoods kept the rhythm in the 90s and today Adelaide born acts such as Sia Furler and Guy Sebastian continue to make their mark on the international music scene.

And a sweet symphony of opportunity

Adelaide is home to a diverse range of independent musicians, a developing and entrepreneurial music industry and a plethora of live music venues of varying sizes. Adelaide boasts a world class Adelaide Symphony Orchestra, the ASO who deliver a high-class annual program. Each year it hosts a series of world-class music and arts festivals ranging from internationally acclaimed WOMADelaide and Adelaide Cabaret Festival to the cosy Umbrella: Winter City Sounds festival.

For budding musicians and artists there are leading music education and performance institutions. These include Australia’s oldest tertiary music school the Elder Conservatorium, the Sia Furler Institute and connections to the James Morrison Academy of Music for jazz.

Make a vibrant music culture

When Music SA conducted their annual Live Music Census in May 2018, they discovered that across metropolitan Adelaide there were 1,227 gigs across 201 venues over the course of the month. This works out to around 300 gigs per week.

By comparison, fellow UNESCO City of Music Glasgow hosts 150+ live music gigs a week.

Adelaide joins Melbourne – City of Literature, and Sydney – City of Film, as one of Australia’s UNESCO Creative Cities, as well as more than 100 other Cities world-wide as part of the UNESCO Creative Cities Network.

Our commitment to live music

The City of Adelaide is committed to keeping Adelaide buzzing with live music and has developed a three-year Live Music Action Plan. This is the second Live Music Action Plan, and it sets out new, more open and dynamic ways to embrace and support music in the city.

Read more about Adelaide UNESCO City of Music.