Confirmed Speakers

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Kevin McManus is currently Head of UNESCO City of Music for Liverpool.

Prior to this he was the Curator at the British Music Experience in Liverpool, the UK’s only national museum of rock and pop music.

Kevin has been involved in music since he began writing for influential music paper New Musical Express (NME) when he was 18. As well as writing for NME his music journalism career also included writing for The Face, ID, and Mixmag.

He went on to work for the University of Liverpool where he wrote a number of books about Liverpool music history and the social and economic context in which it was made.

In his subsequent public sector career Kevin developed the pioneering creative industries sector development agency for Liverpool, Merseyside ACME, which he led for almost 20 years. Kevin’s achievements during this period included setting up the Baltic Creative CIC and establishing Sound City.


María Rut Reynisdóttir, Project Manager, Reykjavik Music City (Iceland)

With a great wealth of experience in the music tech and startup sector, event and festival management and as artist manager for Ásgeir and more, María Rut Reynisdóttir is currently spearheading the Reykjavík Music City project where her responsibilities are to create favourable conditions for thriving musical activities throughout the city of Reykjavík.

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Reidar Svedahl, City Councilor, Norrkoping MUNICIPALITY (Sweden)

Reidar was born in Norway, but worked in Norrköping for decades, contributing to the city as entrepreneur, innovator and politician.

Active in the municipal board and council as a municipal officer for the Liberal party, he is also the chair of the political committe for city development.

Reidar was the chairman of the board for Visit Norrköping and contributed to the establishment of Norrköping as an international tourist destination.


KATH DAVIES, Strategic Lead for Cultural Development, KIRkLEeS COUNCIL (uk)

Kath Davies has been described as a story teller, door opener and bridge builder. She explores places and identity to generate ideas, partnerships and creative solutions.

Since 1998, Kath has worked as a cultural development specialist and independent practitioner with experience ranging from creative and community action and health and wellbeing to visitor economy. From 2007 onwards, Kath has gone onto lead Local Government teams across cultural and creative economy strategy and policy, engagement and audience development, project and events management.

Kath is also a qualified coach and values a collaborative leadership style. She is highly skilled in creative and systems thinking to support innovation, vision and ambition whilst also ensuring approaches are grounded in people and place. Currently, Kath is working with partners to create the conditions for music to grow and thrive in Kirklees, West Yorkshire, building towards a year of music in 2023.

Božo Rasic, Managing Director, FKP Scorpio (Sweden)

Božo Rasic is the Managing Director of FKP Scorpio Sweden, a leading concert and festival promoter. Working with acts such as Ed Sheeran, Håkan Hellström and Rammstein and with some of Sweden’s most well-known festivals, the company creates 100+ events for hundreds of thousands music fans all over Sweden every year.

Starting his music industry career as a graphic designer for the legendary Hultsfredsfestivalen, Božo was a part of developing the festival brand during the beginning of 2000s, when the festival had its most successful years in its 25-year history.

Božo has a reputation in the business for strong leadership, consistent achievement and being humble about said achievements (which is why he asked a co-worker to write this!). He is a strong believer of events as the perfect platform for creating change, and that magic can happen when fans get together in a big field or a small club to see their favorite artists.



Grace McCallum is a co-founder of STHLM Music City, a community bringing together the music and tech industries through innovation and collaboration.

After beginning her career as a journalist for the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) she moved to Sweden in 2015 and since then has been working within the music, media and startup industries as a journalist, communications professional and an artist herself. She also currently sits on the board of the Australian Business Council of Sweden.

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Since he was around 16 years old Dutch cultural entrepreneur Merlijn Poolman started organising concerts and this gradually evolved into supporting dozens of acts with their tours all over the world. After starting a nightclub for underground dance music in his hometown of 'Eurosonic-city' Groningen around 2011 his expertise and network grew substantially and in 2018 this led to him being elected as the Night Mayor of the city.

In the past 6 years, a strong cultural relationship with the Chinese music scene was formed by him and this led to the founding of China Pavilion conference at Amsterdam Dance Event and various festivals in China. As a former fellow member of the European Music Council and member of the Popcoalitie (advisory board to the Dutch government) Merlijn likes to keep a strong balance between the formal world and the raw informal grassroots culture where it all started for him.


Sandra Wall, Project Manager, UNESCO City of Music, Norrkoping Municipality (Sweden)

Sandra Wall worked for twenty years in the Swedish news media industry as a culture and entertainment editor before becoming an active part of Norrkoping’s city development as the project manager of Musikhuvudstaden.

When Norrkoping was designated Unesco City of Music in 2017, she become the focal point for the work in the Global Creative Cities Network for the achievement of Agenda 2030 and the New Urban Agenda. She is employed by the municipal Trade and Industry Department, where her earlier work in media, culture, social innovation, film, theatre and Agenda 2030 came together.


Petra Lundmark, Marketing Manager, BD Pop (Sweden)

Petra is marketing manager and artist developer at BD Pop, a tax-founded music incubator based in the north of Sweden, since 2010. She is also the founder and the first general manager for the Musikens Makt festival.

Petra has experience as BD Pop representative and panelist at international showcase festivals and events such as SXSW, NMS, By:Larm, Midem, Live At Heart and Hokuo Festival.

Ex-World Cup snowboarder, she was board member of SOM (Swedish Independent Music Producers) from 2010 to 2018 and chairman and board member of Popkollo (a music camp for female and transgender youths) from 2013 to 2016.


Lukasz Kalebasiak, dIRECTOR OF cOMMUNICATIONS, Katowice City of Gardens (Poland)

Cultural journalist of influential newspaper Gazeta Wyborcza since 1999, head of its Culture Section between 2006 and 2011. Author of hundreds of reviews and editorials dedicated to visual arts, music and theatre. His texts have appeared in several books and monographs. Reviewer of Katowice Polish Radio between 2008 and 2015.

Since 2012 Lukasz has been Director of Communications at Katowice City of Gardens Cultural Institution. He was also part of the team responsible for the successful access of Katowice to the UNESCO Creative Cities Network in 2015 as the first Polish City of Music. He participated in the organisation of WOMEX 2017 and the UNESCO Creative Cities Network Annual Meeting in 2018. He’s been the reference person for Katowice UNESCO Creative City since 2019.


Maria Modig, Director of the Culture and Leisure department, Municipality of Norrköping (Sweden)

Maria Modig has a long career in government administration and worked form many years in the city Gothenburg and on the island of Gotland.

Skilled in Strategic Planning, Organizational Development, Event Management, Public Speaking, and Change Management, Maria was born in Linköping, the neighbouring city of Norrköping where she now works as Director of the Culture and Leisure Department.


Mikael Pass, Music City Supervisor, roskilde municipality (Denmark)

Mikael Pass is the Music City Supervisor of Roskilde, Denmark, developing projects along with a wide range of public and private stakeholders across the strong music community in the city.

Mikael has previously worked as a radio presenter and music journalist at National Danish Radio. He has been the creative director of Denmark’s leading music venue, VEGA, in Copenhagen and was festival director of Frost Festival for 8 years before embarking on the great adventure of making Roskilde a leading music city in the region in March 2018.


Jesper Thorsson, CEO, Export Music Sweden (SWEDEN)

Export Music Sweden works at an industry level to help export Swedish music to the world. ExMS support songwriters, musicians, recording artists and companies to go global. It was founded by the music industry associations IFPI (record companies), STIM (composers and publishers) and SAMI (artists and musicians).

As Sweden’s experts in export when it comes to music, ExMS’ daily focus and long-term goal is to boost music export revenues from Sweden’s entire music industry and to support all of Sweden’s wide range.

Jesper has 20 years of experience in the music industry in Label Management, A&R, Marketing, Sales and Merchandise among other fields.



Sara Herrlin is a music industry professional with a global network, having been based in Asia, the Middle East and the UK during her career in the music industry, including seven years as Head of International at EMI Virgin. After returning to Sweden she has made it her mission to build bridges between the traditional music industry and the start-up world, initiating and founding STHLM Music City and the Nordic Music Tech company.

STHLM Music City is a movement and community bringing together two dynamic industries; music and tech. The new music industry is being shaped by disruptive innovations and Sweden is leading the way into this exciting new era. Our Vision is a new healthier Music Industry for Creators.


Joppe Pihlgren, CEO, Sweden Live (SWEDEN)

Joppe Pihlgren is the CEO of Svensk Live, an organisation that gathers representatives from the Swedish live music industry such as non-profit organisations, festivals, promoters, agent companies, arenas, venues, amusement parks etc.

The aim of Svensk Live is to make the world better with and for live music by acting on policies and society and creating a vibrant network.

Joppe has been working with the creatives industries in different positions (funding, research, governmental agencies etc.). Before working with the creative industries, Joppe worked as a consultant for some of the major traditional Swedish companies such as Scania, Tetra Pak and Pharmacia.

With his band, Docenterna, Joppe has played over 1000 concerts and recorded 13 albums. He has also been active as TV-presenter in different programs for public and private TV-companies.


Maria Brusman, Senior Adviser Performing Arts, Region Östergötland (sweden)

Maria works as a senior adviser and strategist for performing arts (music, dance, theatre, contemporary circus) at Region Östergötland.

She has a broad and long experience working with performing arts, with some of her roles being teacher, project manager, organiser and more.

Maria is responsible for the development of performing arts in the region.