Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham and Manchester City Council leader Bev Craig have stopped off to sign a new economic pact with North Carolina en route to launch the new Beyond the Music Conference at SXSW in Texas.
The agreement commits both partners to streamline trade and investment and “lay a framework for increased cooperation” in areas including clean tech and energy infrastructure.
Trade between the UK and North Carolina is worth around $2.5 billion annually and US businesses have historically created thousands of jobs in Greater Manchester, including North Carolina natives like studio Epic Games.
On arrival at the long-running creative and tech conference SXSW today (March 13), Burnham will launch the Beyond The Music conference and festival, which is being proposed as a successor to Manchester’s erstwhile In The City by Oli Wilson, son of ITC founder and Manchester icon Tony Wilson.
Beyond the Music, which will take place in Manchester from 11-14 October 2023, will aim to provide “a platform to solve the issues faced by the industry today and produce innovative models for the future”.
The Texas launch will be accompanied by live performances this evening from Manchester favourites New Order, The Orielles and Loose Articles.
Burnham said in his regular column in the London Evening Standard last week: “It will be a poignant moment for us in Austin when Tony’s son Oli launches our new international music conference — Beyond The Music — with the help of Bernard, Stephen, Gillian, Tom and Phil from New Order. True to our city’s disruptive roots, Beyond The Music will be run by a co-operative organisation and will challenge the music industry to promote real change.”