Capital News - London has topped a ranking of Europe’s best cities for a second year in a row, with its star spot underpinned by a number one rating for culture. The UK capital pipped Paris to first place on Resonance Consultancy’s list - while Nottingham, currently reeling from council arts cuts, placed 72nd for its "visionary local leadership" and "public spaces".
The 2024 Europe’s Best Cities report ranks the overall performance of metropolitan areas with more than 500,000 residents, according to various different metrics. Ranging from rental prices and cultural attractions to visitor numbers and green space, these metrics are analysed through three key considerations - liability, lovability and prosperity, with London ranking number one for each.
Manchester jumped six places on the 100-strong list, rising to number 27 in part for a "creative rebirth" attributed to arts and culture venues including Factory International, while Edinburgh came in at 29 - with the list claiming "the city’s world-famous Edinburgh Festival Fringe will be bigger than ever in 2024". But it was London that topped all three of the list’s key factors as it ranked first in Europe for cities with the biggest international traveller spend in 2022, worth some €14.88 billion.
Vinyl Revival - The number of independent record shops in the UK is at a 10-year high, according to an industry group. The digital entertainment and retail association (ERA) said there are now 461 indie record shops in the UK - 122 more than 10 years ago. By contrast, the number of shops physically selling music - such as supermarkets and specialist chains - fell by 8,000 compared to 2014. It means just 8% of all music sales are now in a physical form.
The ERA's 2024 Yearbook, containing statistics on the music, video and gaming sectors, found the UK music market was worth £2.2bn last year. It attributed a massive proportion of this - 84% - to streaming subscriptions. But it also found the demand for vinyl records increased for the 16th year in a row, with 6.5m sold, taking overall sales above £170m.
Waterloo - An exhibition celebrating 50 years of Abba is set to open in the city where the band won the Eurovision Song Contest. The Swedish group began a hugely successful career at Brighton Dome on 6 April 1974 when they came first in the contest singing Waterloo.
Abba: One Week in Brighton, at Brighton Museum, aims to "relive the excitement of the week that catapulted the band to fame". The event will share the personal stories of those who were there as well as a display of props and photos, a museum spokesperson said. Stories included in the exhibition include the international journalists who enjoyed Brighton's pubs so much they missed the show, the man blamed for cutting off Terry Wogan’s electricity supply, and the taxi driver Abba treated to a private performance of the winning song.
Farewell - Vince Power, the concert promoter who helmed festivals such as Reading and Leeds, has died aged 76. His death was confirmed in a statement from his family, who called him “a visionary entrepreneur who enhanced and influenced the music industry significantly, whilst always being a dedicated, loving father and a loyal friend to so many”.
Power was a champion of music from his native Ireland after moving to London in his mid-teens. He opened the venue the Mean Fiddler in Harlesden in 1982, funded from a successful second-hand furniture business he’d built up over the previous two decades. It hosted Irish folk music and country and western, and grew in stature, attracting the likes of Eric Clapton, Annie Lennox and Roy Orbison.
In 1989 he took on the imperilled Reading festival and added the second Leeds festival location in 1999. He survived a scare with an expensive gig at Ireland’s Tramore racecourse in 1993 which hosted Bob Dylan, Van Morrison, Ray Charles and Jerry Lee Lewis but left him £2.5m in debt - “I could have bought most of the town with what I lost,” he later said. RIP.
(Jim Evans)
12 March 2024

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