Sure, you can chill on the beach and enjoy the sound of the ocean. But we’ve got other ideas in store for your next holiday destination. We’ve selected 14 cities or places that simply breathe music – and we kick off this article with the first 7. Discover the roots of Goa Trance in India, hit Motown’s birthplace in Detroit, USA, swing it down in the streets of Havana, Cuba and sip in the Scandinavian sound in Bergen, Norway. The world’s your musical oyster, so go ahead and let yourself be inspired for that studio session right after you get back!
Liverpool, United Kingdom
If you’re a sucker for Pop music, chances are high that you’re also a fan of The Beatles. Thanks to John, Paul, George and Ringo, Liverpool is now known as the world capital of Pop. So, combined with a trip to London to walk down the famous Abbey Road and lose yourself into some of the world’s best musicals, Liverpool is the perfect place to enjoy live music, as it’s literally everywhere.
Up for something more modern, underground and club-orientated? Visit Germany’s capital. Berlin has the roaring, never-ending nightlife any clubber could ask for. You’ll find clubs all around the city, serving line-ups in all different genres. But most of all, Berlin is known for its Techno parties, particularly in the ‘Church of Techno’, Berghain. If you manage to unravel the mysterious door policy and get in, word is that you’ll never want to go clubbing anywhere else. Finally, Berlin is working on a museum dedicated to Electronic music, planned to be ready by the end of 2016.
It was the birthplace of the first Techno productions created during the 80’s and 90’s and it is closely associated with the rise of Detroit Techno and the ‘Belleville Three’ – Juan Atkins, Kevin Saunderson and Derrick May. Though Detroit isn’t known to be the safest city, it does host one of the coolest festivals: Movement. A 3 day event held during Memorial Day weekend inside Hart Plaza – with more than 100 of Electronic music’s most illustrious artists, local heavyweights and pioneering legends making their way to the birthplace of Techno. If you’re not that into Electronic music, you’ll find loads of inspiration in Detroit at the world famous Motown Records Museum. Known for 180 number 1 hit songs and Motown legends like Diana Ross, Michael Jackson, Stevie Wonder and Mavin Gaye, Detroit will definitely inspire you.
Buena Vista Social Club comes alive in the vibrant streets of Havana, with a mix of Salsa, Latin Jazz, Timba and Rumba heard throughout the city’s streets and cosy bars. In the historic, residential neighbourhoods you can find street buskers serenading you with Spanish guitars, blaring trumpets and passionate singing. There are several tour operators offering organised tours to help you discover the different forms of music in the country and meet famous musicians along the way. Feeling the rhythm of Cuba yet?
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Ludwig van Beethoven, Franz Schubert and Joseph Haydn. Four masterminds in classical music who all had something in common; they were enchanted and inspired by Austria’s capital. More famous composers have lived here than in any other city, it’s home to waltzes, musicals and operettas. All year round, you can catch international orchestras and opera stars performing in the city. And when you’re not enjoying a concert, its green parks and stately buildings invite you for a late night stroll.
The smallest state of India, Goa, lies on its west coast and is known as the birthplace of Psychedelic Trance music. In the swinging 60’s, Goa became THE place to be for the hippy society, attracting a large number of musicians and other creative people to its beautiful beaches. 55 years later, the Goa sound has developed and diversified, but that underground hippy vibe can still be found there. So if you’re looking for glorious sunny weather, white sandy beaches and late night parties on the beach, you’ve found your paradise.
Make sure to bring some cash with you when flying to Norway, because everything’s expensive in this Scandinavian country. But its scenery, the majestic fjords, colourful houses and vibrant music scene make up for it. Bergen used to be the capital of Norway until 1830, after which Oslo took over. Today though, it serves as the Norwegian music capital, caused by a thing called ‘The Bergen Wave’. Artists like Röyksopp, Annie, Kings of Convenience and Ane Brun were part of this ‘wave’, illustrating a period in time when a new generation of artists from Bergen was taking over the musical landscape in Norway. Today, you can find many exciting festivals here, from rock to Jazz, Classical, Electronic and beyond.
Los Angeles, USA
In the 80’s, it was the place to be to hear rock and heavy metal. In the 90’s, the music scene in Los Angeles was known for rappers like Ice Cube, Snoop Dogg and Dr. Dre. Entertainment’s everywhere here, but you’ll also find a great underground scene, in all different styles. One of the LA hotspots is Amoeba Records, where you can spend an entire day crate digging. We bet you won’t leave empty handed.
Despite being an overly popular tourist destination for most of Europe, there’s still something about Ibiza which makes it worth a visit, especially for dance music fans. If you look beyond the 25 euro mojito prices, you’ll find some of the world’s best DJ’s and rising talents playing all across the island. There are secret parties, boat parties, intimate performances and well, massive ones as well. With Ibiza being such a small island it’s easy to drive around and look for private beaches, and well, there’s a chance you’ll bump into your favourite DJ basically anywhere.
Las Vegas, USA
Known as Sin City, Las Vegas is much more than the sparkling lights of endless gambling machines. In fact, it’s one of the world’s capitals when it comes to music. Some of the biggest artists on the planet have their residency there. Stevie Wonder, Britney Spears, Elton John, Tiësto, Calvin Harris, Deadmau5, Armin van Buuren and many other names call Las Vegas their part-time home, taking up residencies at day and club nights all over Vegas. Caesars Palace, Planet Hollywood, MGM Grand Hotel and Mandalay Bay Resort are some of the best places for concerts, and nightclubs Hakkasan, Marquee, Omnia and Tao will serve you some insane line-ups. And we haven’t even mentioned the countless musicals, dinner shows, divas and Cirque du Soleil shows that take place there.
Not only will you find some of the world’s best musicals in London, it’s the one European city every big artist wants to perform at. In the summer, loads of parks are transformed into open stages or festival stages, hosting public parties and performances by rising talents and renowned names. Strike a pose on the world’s most famous zebra crossing, Abbey Road, where The Beatles famously posed for their legendary “Abbey Road” album cover. Check out Ronnie Scott’s legendary jazz club or try The Borderline in Leicester Square to see where some big stars once performed. Get a glimpse into the life of The Rolling Stones, one of the UK’s biggest rock and roll bands at the interactive ‘Exhibitionism – The Rolling Stones’ exposition at Saatchi Gallery. Enjoy high-end clubs, warehouse parties and traditional pubs. Oh, and don’t forget Afternoon Tea.
New York, USA
The Big Apple. The city of dreams. “If you can make it there, you’ll make it anywhere”. That could very well be true. It’s the city that never sleeps, and for good reason. There’s something going on 24 hours a day for music lovers. Underground clubs, mainstream venues, Broadway musicals and raw talent on every street corner. Whether you’re into classical music, punk, hip hop, house or jazz, New York’s got it going on! Jetlagged and can’t sleep? Try Cielo in the Meetpacking District, Verboten in Williamsburg or Mehanata in the Lower East Side for late-night dancing. If clubbing’s not your thing, there are multiple festivals happening in the summer, such as the Chelsea Music Festival, Make Music New York and the New York Piano Festival. Like we said, no need to sleep while in New York!
Sydney Opera House. Need we say more? Yes we do. The iconic building, a symbol to Australia, brings a myriad of genres. From electronica to rock, opera and classical. But no worries mate, there’s lots more going down, down under. For hip hop and pop music, head for the Oxford Art Factory. More of a blues brother, or funk lover? Don’t skip The Basement! Backpacking in Australia? Don’t miss your pit stop at the Beach Road Hotel, where they host free parties and performances mid-week. Definitely not last, and certainly not least, there’s The Vanguard to get your jazz fix. Enjoy a great, laidback atmosphere and you’ll soon discover that the Ozzie people know exactly how to enjoy their music.
Montreal is home to some of the best indie music artists, including Patrick Watson, The Dears, Arcade Fire and many more. Once you’ve experienced the city’s thriving indie scene, you’ll know exactly why it’s such a great place to gain experience as an artist. La Sala Rossa, Divan Orange, Les Foufounes Électriques and Fairmount Theatre are some of the must-see (and hear!) places in Montreal. But there’s more… For electronic music lovers, the EM15 festivals is the place to be, the International Jazz Festival brings the perfect tasting for jazz lovers and Heavy Montreal gets you in full head bang mode with hard rock and metal music. Don’t forget about tasting some of the incredible poutine dish while you’re there!