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.


Our commitment to live music

The City of Adelaide is committed to keeping Adelaide buzzing with live music delivering on live music outcomes for the city with a Live Music Action Plan and Cultural Strategy. We are pleased to have also recently welcomed the Adelaide City of Music office to the ground floor of our building on 25 Pirie Street. 

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, while Paul Kelly and Eric Bogle made their mark on the indie/folk scene.

By the 80s bands such as Cold Chisel, The Angels, and First Nations 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, Guy Sebastian and Tkay Maidza continue to make their mark on the international music scene. 

In recognition of our rich history of musical icons, City of Adelaide has renamed 5 city laneways after legendary musicians who have called Adelaide home; Paul Kelly, No Fixed Address, Cold Chisel, Sia Furler and The Angels. Each laneway features a specially commissioned artwork inspired by the laneway's namesake. Find out more here. 

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 (ASO), who deliver a high-class annual program. Each year Adelaide hosts a series of world-class music and arts festivals ranging from internationally acclaimed WOMADelaide and Adelaide Cabaret Festival to open-access festival, Good Music Month.

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, Centre for Aboriginal Studies in Music (CASM) and connections to the James Morrison Academy of Music for jazz.

Make a vibrant music culture

In May 2019 Music SA undertook a census of live music across the entire South Australian state, to gather a snapshot of the current state of play. The census found the City of Adelaide was home to 76 live music venues, 70 in the Adelaide CBD and 6 in North Adelaide. In 2022 City of Adelaide updated the live music venue count for the City of Adelaide, with 103 live music venues reported, 97 being in the Adelaide CBD and 6 in North Adelaide. That's a 35% increase in live music venues in the City of Adelaide, an amazing outcome given how difficult the pandemic was for the live music sector, demonstrating Adelaide's enduring love and support for live music.

There are nearly 300 Cities in the UNESCO Creative Cities Network across the world. Australia is currently home to six other UNESCO Creative Cities; 

Header Image: Alana Jagt performing at Parks and Rockreation. Photo: Morgan sette.