Situated in the Central Region of Portugal, Leiria is home to 42,785 residents. Thanks to its central location strategically between Porto and Lisbon, the city has allowed for the development of several industries, including ceramics and glass. The city is currently considered as one of the main hubs of musical production in Portugal and famous for its traditional wind bands, choirs and folklore, which all together, drive its cultural identity. In Leiria, music is interweaved not only with community living but also with innovation. It is the birthplace of pivotal rock bands and of musical pioneering projects, in the areas of teaching, health, music therapy, social impact and art.
Today, the city hosts several cultural and musical entities, such as the Arts Conservatory; Orfeão de Leiria, and the Artistic and Musical Society of Pousos (SAMP). Throughout the year, these establishments come together, offering a lively schedule of performances for both the local community and tourists. As well as being home to a number of musical institutions, Leiria also holds several festivals, including Entremuralhas, Música em Leiria and A Porta. These events provide a platform for local and national artists, promoting them on both a local and international scale.
For Leiria, its traditional wind and philharmonic bands are the main mechanism of intergenerational connection. In recent years, the city has invested in its music sector by renovating and equipping a number of theatres, libraries and museums, as well as developing plans for further rehabilitation and construction of several new halls in the near future. This is aimed by the city at encouraging greater engagement within the local community, by providing spaces for performances as well as for people to learn and practice music. In line with this, several programmes, including Pro Leiria, support local associations, such as local wind bands, folkloric “ranchos” and choirs, by providing financial and non-financial support.
As a Creative City of Music, Leiria envisages:
- sharing century-old musical methods within the UCCN Network;
- increasing the visibility of local cultural creators;
- exchanging good practices with all the partners of the Network, creating cooperation bridges in all areas and offering examples of Leiria’s cultural regeneration and how it brings people together;
- fostering multidisciplinary and multicultural co-creation by supporting small and large scale projects;
- demonstrating how the use of culture, as a driver of cultural development, accelerates economic and social development in a post-crisis territory; and
- creating an observatory to provide qualitative and quantitative measurement and systematic evaluation of the potential of the cultural network at both local and international levels.