Confirmed Speakers

Music Tourism Convention brings together executives across the tourism, public, private and creative sectors to expand on the opportunities the music and tourism sectors can gain from each other.

Izumi Sawamoto, DJ & organiser of Nude Restaurant, northern soul event in Kobe (Japan)

Izumi Sawamoto (Nude Restaurant): DJ and organiser of Nude Restaurant in Kobe, Japan. He has been a  preacher for the culture of mods and Northern Soul for over 20 years. Fans come from all over Japan to visit Nude Restaurant because it is the only place to experience real Northern Soul in the country. He performs at small underground 60’s parties up to Japan’s biggest music festival Fuji Rock.


Natalia Bayona, Senior Expert to Secretary General on Innovation and Digital Transformation, UNWTO (spain)

Natalia Bayona is the leader of the Innovation and Digital Transformation Strategy of the World Tourism
Organization (UNWTO).

Natalia Bayona holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Government and International Relations from the Universidad Externado de Colombia and an Executive MBA from IE Business School. She is part of the World Economic Forum network as a European Digital Leader for IE Business School.

In 2017, she served as the Vice President of International Development for the Spain Startup - South
Summit. Natalia organized the first South Summit Pacific Alliance, connecting the main stakeholders of the
entrepreneurship ecosystem of Colombia, Chile, Mexico and Peru.

In 2016, she began her ten year tenure in ProColombia, during which she has lived in six countries where
she has developed strategies that boost export, foreign investment and tourism for Colombia.


Alice Favre, Co-Owner, A MAN ABOUT A DOG (UK)

Alice Favre has been in the music and events industry for 17 years now. Having worked in most departments whilst learning her trade she has a wide knowledge of every aspect of the industry but specialises in operations. 

She is one third of A Man About A Dog, a parent company which houses an events business (LWE), a ticketing company (Ticket Tannoy), a management company that looks after Arcadia Spectacular, one the first club based locker businesses in the UK, a sponsorship consultancy and We Create, an agency that joins developers with creatives to help regenerate areas. 

The majority of LWE events are held in unique and interesting spaces across London - Junction 2’s main stage is on an island under the M4, Tobacco Dock is a grade I listed, old tobacco storage warehouse and Printworks is an 120m long newspaper printing factory.


Steve Azar, Music & Culture Ambassador of Mississippi (USA)

Music & Culture Ambassador of Mississippi, Steve Azar is a modern day Renaissance man, hit songwriter, recording artist, music producer, golfer and philanthropist. Steve likes to call his own breed of music “Delta Soul,” a mixture of country, rock and blues. 

His debut album Waitin’ On Joe was released in 2001. The title track went to #1 on CMT and featured Academy award-winning actor Morgan Freeman. From the same album the hit single “I Don’t Have To Be Me, Til Monday” is one of the top five most played songs of the past decade on country radio. 

Steve has been honored with “Steve Azar day” in the states of Mississippi and South Dakota. He is the co-founder of Ride Records and in 2013 co-founded the Mighty Mississippi Music Festival, dubbed “A Southern Gem”. With a keen interest in mentorship and giving back to the Delta, Steve enjoys being the artist in residence at the Delta Music Institute, part of Delta State University. 


Benjamin Carey FTS, Managing director, Carey Tourism and The Tourism Society (UK)

Based in Edinburgh, Benjamin has a focus on the sustainable development and environmental management of tourism and is a certified PM4SD practitioner; he has a special interest in less established destinations and has consulted in more than 50 countries. Recent activities include assignments in India, Laos, Russia, Scotland, Sierra Leone and Yemen; as well as governments and DMOs, clients have included the ICA, EU, UNDP, UNEP, UNESCO, World Bank and World Tourism Organization. For the UNWTO, he has lectured on heritage tourism and pilgrimage and researched the relationship between tourism and migration, in which intangible cultural heritage is critical. Trained as a tour operator and founder of an award-winning consultancy, he works with diverse stakeholders to realise the social and economic potential of heritage by creating experiential products that embrace shared human heritage, often working with traditional stories and songs to interpret landscapes and bring destinations alive for visitors and hosts.


Paula Murray, Creative Director, Croydon Council (UK)

With over 20 years of experience in the public sector, Paula is currently Creative Director at Croydon Council, and is responsible for the shaping of the Borough’s cultural programme. This includes the development of a new offer for Fairfield Halls, Croydon’s main arts venue, which is undergoing a major £30m refurbishment.
Before joining Croydon Council, Paula was at Brighton & Hove City Council, where she worked for 18 years in a range of roles in relation to the city’s culture, leisure, tourism, policy, communities and economic development portfolio’s. Over that time, she played a leading role in the development of Brighton & Hove’s vibrant and successful creative cultural sector.


Janet Arnold, VP Partner Relations, Visit Indy (Indianapolis, USA)

With over 30 years of US and global philanthropic experience, Janet has secured funding for cultural, educational and peacekeeping projects in New York City, the United Kingdom, Russia and El Salvador.

Janet currently serves as Vice President for Partner Relations at Visit Indy, the city’s tourism bureau, based in Indianapolis.  She engages over 630 local hospitality organisations who welcome Indy’s 28.6 million annual visitors.
Partners include hotels, attractions, restaurants, music and sports venues, and head-quartered corporations – any entity that touches a visitor in Central Indiana.

Convention and leisure visitors spend over $5.2 billion annually in Central Indiana, generating more than 80,000 full-time equivalent jobs.

Visit Indy currently is focused on a 10-year Tourism Master Plan, recommending a sustainable financial model to propel innovative tourism product development, visitor experiences, workforce development and talent attraction. 


Claudia Jericho, head of CREATIVE.NRW (Germany)

Claudia Jericho is the head of CREATIVE.NRW – the competence centre for the creative industries in North-Rhine Westfalia funded by the Ministry of Economics in NRW. She has a background in business administration and has been working between, for and with culture and (creative) businesses for more than 20 years. She developed music and art projects for organizations, cities and artists in the 1990s, builded up a stock-market company, then she headed the public relations of a 3-year initiative of the Kulturstiftung des Bundes until 2012. For 7 years she was responsible for the convention of the c/o pop festival respectively the C'n'B - Creativity & Business Convention and accompanied among others the Advance - International Web & Start-Up Conference and various projects at ecce - european center for creative economy until today.


Bettina Schimmer, Founder, Schimmer pr (GERmany)

Bettina Schimmer has worked in marketing and public relations with a focus on classical music for over 16 years. She was the Head of Marketing at the Bavarian State Opera for four years during the era of Sir Peter Jonas, following which she was in charge of sponsoring and sales at the Gürzenich
Orchestra in Cologne.
In 2008 she set up her own classical music PR consultancy based in Cologne. Schimmer PR has been providing PR and media work for artists, orchestras and institutions in the
classical music field since.
The work ranges from PR projects like jubilees or concert tours and general PR to sustained consultancy.
Among the clients are the conductors Titus Engel, Alejo Pérez and Marcus Bosch, the cellist Maximilian Hornung, the violinists Antje Weithaas and Vadim Gluzman, the pianists Dejan Lazić and Fabian Müller, the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra, and Dresden Music Festival.


Dr Julia Jones, CEO, Found in Music (UK)

Dr Julia Jones has spent 20 years working in the field of music and human behaviour, firstly with GB Olympic Squads and later with high profile consumer brands. She has published research in music, health and business and gained a PhD at the University of Westminster in 2015 after completing a 6 year research project examining the music tastes of the 40-65 year old consumer group. Her findings led to a number of new projects using the curation of music themes to reach and engage this audience. Julia has been CEO of London based experiential agency, Found in Music, since 2003. Tourism clients in the UK include leading over 50s brands Saga Holidays and Warner Hotels. Julia has recently helped Saga launch their first popular music themed product, a David Bowie themed city break in Berlin to mark the 40th anniversary of his critically acclaimed ‘Heroes’ album.

Found in Music also manages the city-wide street performance scheme for the Mayor of London, animating public spaces with live performances.


PABLO CAMINO, director, spain is music (spain)

Pablo Camino has been advising hundreds of people in Spain for fifteen years to reach their professional and personal goals through educational experiences around the world.

For the past 5 years he has put to work his experience and his passions to work together. Travel, music and education are his focus. Two brands are born, Spain is Music and Creatividoo to bring music and tourism closer to a curious audience and open to original experiences.

They are a travel agency that organises tailor-made trips for those who want to get to know Spain, with music as a claim, and from there learn about other aspects of the Spanish culture such as its gastronomy, history and cultural heritage.

He is also part of the company Repensadores specialising in creative industries. As project manager he works with other specialists in creativity to provide solutions  through the interaction with industries such as music, theatre, gastronomy, art, cinema.

 


Josef Sommer, CEO, Cologne Tourism Board (GERmany)

After completing his studies in Salzburg, Austria, Josef Sommer joined the Austrian National Tourist Board and served between 1978 and 2000 in the international offices in Hamburg, Los Angeles, Stuttgart and Cologne.

He became Head of the Cologne City Tourist Office in 2001 and was responsible for its transition to a limited company structure, as “KölnTourismus GmbH” (Cologne Tourist Board), in 2004. Since then, he has acted as CEO of the organisation. In 2008, his remit was expanded to take in the newly founded Cologne Convention Bureau, which is also part of KölnTourismus GmbH. In addition, Mr. Sommer is the Vice Chair of the Board of Directors of “Tourismus NRW e.V.” (North-Rhine Westphalia Tourist Board) and an elected member of the International Marketing Committee of the German
National Tourist Office (DZT).


Ammo Talwar, CEO, Punch records (UK)

Music entrepreneur Ammo Talwar started as a specialist record shop and a hub for local DJs. His leadership and vision built the company into an award-winning music agency; working internationally and in partnership with leading private and public sector companies to support music and innovation. He received an MBE for contributions to music and young people.

A recipient of the International Cultural leadership award, Ammo’s professional acumen is in demand by organisations facing both new business opportunities and challenges.


Burkhard Kieker, CEO, VISIT BERLIN (GERmany)

Burkhard Kieker has been Chief Executive Officer of Berlin Tourismus & Kongress GmbH, operating under the trade name visitBerlin, since 1 January 2009. He is responsible for marketing Berlin worldwide as a tourism and congress destination as well as maintaining the brand Berlin.

In his career to date, he held positions in the German industry with Deutsche Lufthansa AG and headed the Aviation Marketing of Berlin Airports. As a journalist, he worked for RIAS Berlin, the weekly newspaper DIE ZEIT in Hamburg, and the television channel Deutsche Welle.


JOHANNES EVERKE, Marketing Director, Hamburg Marketing (GERmany)

As director of marketing services at Hamburg Marketing, Johannes Everke has extensive experience working with the full spectrum of music businesses, artists and events to promote the city, both in Germany and internationally. He has been instrumental in developing a strategy, based on a wide range of initiatives, involving the organisation’s stake holders - which include the local tourism board, the local development agency, Hamburg airport and the convention bureau - as well as local musicians, venues, musicals, classical orchestras and even Europe’s largest metal festival, Wacken.

Everke has more than 20 years experience in marketing and management of cultural institutions and boasts extensive insights into policies which place music at the heart of driving both tourism and business development.


Turo Pekari, Senior advisor, innovation and discovery, Teosto/Teosto Futures Lab (Finland)

Turo Pekari is an innovation specialist known for his work for Teosto Futures Lab music innovation platform of Teosto. Established in 2016, Teosto Futures Lab has been at the forefront changing the way music rights management organisations work. He’s been involved in a wide range of music & tech related projects including opening data and APIs about live music, cities and regions, building future service concepts to music festivals with affective technologies, launching a blockchain platform for music rights and building a tech-enabled music education program for schools. Turo’s expertise include open innovation, future technologies, API economy, startup advisory, innovation policy and funding mechanisms.

Turo is a regular speaker in international music and creative industry events like MusicBiz, Slush Music, Sonar+D, Primavera Pro, Eurosonic, CO Pop Convention, BIME Pro, Linecheck & Nylon Connect. Teosto is the society of musical authors and publishers in Finland.


Olaf Furniss, managing director, Music Tourist,(UK)

Olaf Furniss is managing director of Music Tourist, a consultancy established to develop closer ties between the music and tourism sectors by providing advice to businesses and public-sector organisations, as well as hosting networking events, workshops and presentations.

The company is currently working with Newcastle University, and has partnered with Glasgow City Marketing Bureau, Scottish Enterprise, the Scottish Music Industry Association, Arts South Australia and the City of Adelaide on individual projects. These include the world’s first Music Tourist Summit in 2016 and a bespoke, workshop-based event during the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

Furniss is also the founder of Born To Be Wide CIC, which organises Scotland’s key music industry events including the seminar evening of the same name and the award-winning Wide Days convention. He previously worked for leading conventions including Bylarm, Popkomm and Reeperbahn Festival, as well as writing for Billboard, Music Week, Music Business International, I-Q and Audience. 


Dr Heike Döll-König, Managing Director, North-Rhine Westphalia Tourism Board (GERmany)

Dr Heike Döll-König, a German philologist, literary scholar and journalist, has held various executive positions at the state government of North Rhine-Westphalia since 1989, including Head of Communications and Public Relations at the Ministry of Federal Affairs and the Ministry of Culture. She has also worked for many years as a spokeswoman for the Ministry of Labour and Economic Affairs. From 2005 to 2010, she was the director of Site Marketing in the North Rhine-Westphalian Ministry of Economic Affairs. Since November 2010 she has been the managing director of the NRW Association of Tourism (Tourism NRW). She is also the deputy president of the German Tourism Association (DTV), a member of the German Commission of the German Travel Association (DRV), the DWIF Research Advisory Board and various committees in the areas of marketing, culture and tourism.


Craig Ray, Director, Visit Mississippi (USA)

In his role, Craig promotes Mississippi as a travel destination and film location. 

Ray returned to the Mississippi Development Authority in 2016 after serving as a Principal in The Talon Group, LLC.  Prior to joining The Talon Group, Ray served as President of DCRAY Consulting and as Executive Producer of a number of statewide and national events, including Mississippi Night at the GRAMMY Museum in Los Angeles and the Mississippi GRAMMY Celebration.  Ray has also served in senior-level positions for three United States Presidents and for two state governors.

Ray previously served as the Director of the Tourism Division at the Mississippi Development Authority from 2004 – 2009.  During his tenure he played a key role in developing the branding campaign for “Mississippi – The Birthplace of America’s Music” as well as launching the groundbreaking Mississippi Blues Trail.  Today, the Mississippi Blues Trail has more than 185 markers throughout Mississippi and the world.


Larry Heath, Director, Heath Media (AUSTRALIA)

Larry Heath is the Director of Heath Media, an Australian publishing and events company who run the National Live Music Awards in Australia and curate a series of live music events internationally. Larry founded and publishes the AU review, one of Australia's most popular music websites and regularly writes for music publications around the world. The site's travel section, AU Abroad, brings the travel and music worlds together through groundbreaking experiential travel content. In addition, Larry programs the Australian Music Week Film Festival and was recently instated as the A&R Manager of Music Sales Australia.


chris brown, director, marketing liverpool (UK)

Chris Brown is in charge of managing the Liverpool brand nationally and internationally, promoting the city as a first class destination for leisure and business visitors. Chris established Marketing Liverpool in 2013, bringing the responsibility for the city region’s brand management and promotion into a single entity.
Prior to this, Chris worked for five years at The Mersey Partnership as Director of Tourism, Director of Operations and interim Chief Executive before taking the role of Chief Executive at Marketing Cheshire in 2004.


Jan-Paul Laarmann, Product Management City Tourism / Head of #urbanana & Trend Research / Cultural Tourism, NRW Tourism (GERmany)

Jan-Paul Laarmann is working for the tourism board of the German state North Rhine-Westphalia and is in charge of city tourism and trend scouting. He is also responsible for #urbanana, a three-year project that promotes creative tourism in the banana-shaped metropolitan area of Cologne, Düsseldorf and the Ruhr area. The joint project of Tourism NRW, Visit Cologne, Visit Düsseldorf and Ruhr Tourism has recently been awarded as European Cultural Tourism Region of the Year. Launching at Music Tourism Convention Cologne the project is collaborating with the author of the acclaimed book “Sound of the Cities“ Dr Ole Löding on a comprehensive web app tapping into the rich pop offering past and present of the region. Before joining Tourismus NRW Jan-Paul Laarmann worked as press assistant of his favorite festival Ruhrtriennale – Festival of the arts and as a project manager for the Berlin based agency Creative Construction.