by on June 8, 2020


From stepping in time with Salsa beats in Colombia, to watching live opera performances in Italy, Hills Balfour is marking World Music Day (21st June 2020) by reflecting on the ways in which travellers can look forward to exploring the world through music.

Music provides opportunities for travellers to immerse themselves in a destination’s cultural heritage, engage with local people and discover emerging talent – as well as simply letting loose on a dancefloor!

This year, audiences around the world can celebrate World Music Day and tune into Make Music Day’s global livestream and day-long worldwide music celebration, with music maestros from 120 countries. 

Here, Hills Balfour highlights a selection of vibrant musical travel experiences, including tracing the history of African American musical genres in Nashville, jetting off on a 90s vs 00s dance music cruise with Planet Cruise and exploring Ontario, Canada – the home of Drake and Justin Bieber.

  • Discover the diversity of 1000 rhythms in Colombia
  • Experience the iconic Verona Opera Festival, Italy with One Traveller
  • Nashville to welcome new National Museum of African American Music
  • Explore Canada’s music mecca – Ontario     
  • Vienna, Austria – World’s capital of music
  • Puerto Rico – The Island’s sounds are the Island’s soul
  • Detroit, USA – Motown’s hometown, USA
  • Baltimore, USA – The home of Hairspray
  • Planet Cruise, Electric Sunsets 90's vs 00's music cruise
  • Riviera Travel - Tour the musical hotspot that is the USA's Deep South

Discover the diversity of 1000 rythyms in Colombia 

Hailed as the Land of 1000 Rhythms, every corner of Colombia moves to a distinct and vibrant sound. Rich local cultures are reflected in the various music genres waiting to be discovered on the dance floor. Travellers can feel the rhythm from the beats of Cartagena on the Caribbean coast, to the city sounds of Salsa in Medellín and Bogotá. They can also explore the infamous sounds of traditional Cumbia folklore or jump on the Joropo bandwagon, the distinctive “Cowboy Style” genre of the Andean plains. With a music scene as diverse as its landscapes, Colombia sets the stage for celebration and storytelling through song which can be discovered through the tourism organisation’s ‘Feel The Rhythm’ website. 

Experience the iconic Verona Opera Festival, Italy with One Traveller

Visitors to the city of Verona will discover one of Italy’s undiscovered gems, dotted with pretty palazzi and medieval sites, it is also home to the famous Romeo and Juliet balcony. Each year the city welcomes opera aficionados from across the world who attend the Verona Opera Festival which takes place in the Arena di Verona, one of the world's most remarkable opera houses located inside a 2000-year-old Roman amphitheatre. One Traveller, an award winning solo holiday specialist for mature travellers, offers its five-day Verona Opera Festival tour which includes electrifying recitals from Turandot and Cavalleria Rusticana/Pagliacci to La Traviata and Aida. In addition to these spectacular evening shows, the One Traveller tour offers sightseeing in Verona and Lake Garda, a wine tasting lunch in Valpolicella winery and private tours of picturesque towns across the Lake Garda region. The five-day tour starts from £1,940 including return flights, four-star accommodation and all excursions included.


Nashville to welcome new National Museum of African American Music

Nashville's much-anticipated National Museum of African American Music (NMAAM) will open its doors on 3rd September 2020 followed by the official opening of Music City's new Fifth & Broadway complex, a 200,000 square foot development comprised of shops, bars and restaurants as well as the new museum, in Spring 2021. NMAAM will be the first and only museum dedicated to promoting the legacy of African American Music in the U.S. exploring its contribution and innovation across over 50 different music genres. The museum will narrate a story that has never previously been told in such an environment and will explore how African American artists changed the course of musical history with their determination, talent and innovative sounds. Visitors will be able to discover the role that African American artists have played in America’s rich musical history through interactive exhibits and artifacts which are dedicated to preserving the legacy of the music genres they created, influenced, and inspired.


Explore Canada’s music mecca – Ontario     
Ontario has a diverse and dedicated music scene, thanks largely due to Canada's most populous province being the birthplace and home to some of the world’s most celebrated artists including Drake, Justin Bieber, Shania Twain and Bryan Adams. Visitors wishing to tick off key musical hotspots will be kept busy in Stratford - the home of Justin Bieber - where Beliebers can take a walking tour around the town past his busking spot and his favourite eateries. Meanwhile, the Stratford Perth Museum hosts an exhibit titled 'Justin Bieber: Steps to Stardom', which runs through till the end of 2020. Live music fans will find plenty of venues on offer in Toronto, including the legendary Horseshoe Tavern which is one of Toronto’s most celebrated, having witnessed bands including The Rolling Stones and The Ramones. Come the evening, music aficionados can lay their head down at the Bisha Hotel where the iconic Lenny Kravitz has designed an entire floor. From themed hotels to tribute museums, there’s a music hotspot for all genre lovers in Ontario. 


Vienna, Austria – World’s capital of music

Vienna is regarded as the world’s capital of music, where more famous composers have lived than any other city; a place which boasts 120 music and theatre venues and over 15,000 performances each year. It’s even home to the oldest ‘boy band’ in the world… the Vienna Boys’ Choir (est. 1498)! Vienna and music go hand and hand and it stretches beyond that of the classical world. Vienna is a melting pot for a plethora of genres, with a pulsating jazz and electro scene, as well as welcoming musical legends including Beyoncé, Lenny Kravitz and award-winning Hollywood film composer, Hans Zimmer (The Lion King, Gladiator), to enjoy the renowned recording studio, Synchron Stage Vienna.


Puerto Rico – The Island’s sounds are the Island’s soul

Music, rhythm and dance are ingrained in Puerto Rico’s DNA and as such, is essential when describing the energy and vibrancy of the island. Music was traditionally used as a means of expression on the island, with music and dance being so intertwined, they often shared the same name, like the Bomba and Salsa. The bomba, where the beat of the drums is guided by the feet of the dancer, traditionally reflected sadness or anger, whereas the salsa, which originated in a Puerto Rican community of New York is one of the island’s most flavourful and vibrant styles of music. Travellers looking to immerse themselves in local culture will no doubt be the last ones on the dancefloor.


Detroit, USA – Motown’s hometown

Home to four U.S. car makers, Detroit was nicknamed the “Motor City” and the sound of its music became known as Motown. In the 1960s, Barry Gordy, Jr. founded Motown Records, the first African American owned recording company to feature African American musicians, such as Stevie Wonder, The Jackson 5, The Temptations and The Supremes. The Motown sound led to the crossover of African American soul and rhythm and blues music into popular culture and visitors can see how this all happened at The Motown Museum in Detroit, which is the former Motown recording studio, known as ‘Hitsville USA’.


Baltimore, USA – The home of Hairspray

Home to the feel-good, smash-hit musical, Hairspray, Baltimore city is bursting with musical soul and to quote the musical, it’s a place where ‘You Can’t Stop the Beat’! This rhythmic city is not only where the renowned musical is based but also where the original Hairspray film’s director and producer, John Waters, grew up and still resides. Baltimore’s platform for live music also stretches further than the theatre stage, with jazz, funk, soul and rock being played across a range of venues from intimate clubs for underground performances, to huge venues staging national acts. 


Planet Cruise – Take to the decks on an Electric Sunsets 90's vs 00's music cruise

Cruise and dance music may seem an unusual combination, however, lovers of both can hop aboard the three-night Electric Sunsets 90's vs 00's Cruise with Planet Cruise. Cruisers can dance to music from both decades as they cross the channel. Confirmed acts include Scouting for Girls, The Vengaboys, a Dutch Eurodance group, DJ Sash, The Artful Dodger and Gals Allowed, a celebrated drag act who pay tribute to Girls Allowed. The cruise sets sail from Newcastle to Rotterdam on 5th September 2020, the home of The Vengaboys, then to Amsterdam, Bruges and back to the UK, docking in Southampton. Tribute acts also feature as part of the itinerary, for the ultimate nostalgic trip down memory lane, these include tributes to Oasis, Britney Spears, Christina Aguliera, Robbie Williams, and Pink. If a pause from the revelry is needed, guests can relax on board the Marella Explorer 2 fit with a Champneys Spa & Gym, Aperitif Champagne bar, shopping 'street', countless restaurants, and swimming pool with whirlpool.


Riviera Travel - Tour the musical hotspot that is the USA's Deep South

Riviera Travel, the UK’s leading escorted tour and river cruise company, offers the ultimate musical road trip through the deep south of America on its Deep South USA Plus Texas for Solo Travellers itinerary. Weaving through a selection of cities known for their music heritage including Nashville, Dallas and New Orleans, music lovers will discover the history and culture of some of America’s favourite genres from jazz and rock n’ roll to country and blues. Kicking off the trip in Memphis, guests will tour Graceland exploring the life of Elvis, the King of Rock and Roll before heading to Nashville, known as ‘Music City USA’ and visiting the Country Music Hall of Fame. Other highlights include a ride on Amtrak’s renowned train from Memphis to New Orleans, a tour from a local guide through New Orleans’ iconic French Quarter and a visit to San Antonio. The 14-day holiday starts from £3,549pp including return flights and transfers, breakfast, accommodation and guidance from an expert tour manager.

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Topics: food
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