WOMEX (the World Music Expo) is one of the most diverse conferences in the music industry. It brings together world music of every kind, from folk, jazz, roots, ethnic, traditional music and everything in-between! Having begun in 1994, it is a staple on the calendar each year for over 2,000 delegates. Each year it travels to a different European city. WOMEX 2017 took over Katowice, a UNESCO city of music, which is in the Silesian region of Poland. The event takes place over 5 days featuring a trade fair, panels, films and a showcase festival.
Katowice itself is steeped in history and has a vibrant scene of festivals and live concerts. The city has a new Cultural Zone with the NOSPR concert hall at the heart, which was also one of the main venues for WOMEX 2017. The conference also marked Anara Publishing’s first trip to Eastern Europe so it was a highly anticipated event.
For us, WOMEX is always a place to discover unique and exciting music from across the globe. With our strong ties to world music, it is an important place for us to unearth new artists for our growing roster. Following our first time at the conference last year in Santiago de Compostela, Spain, we knew that the standards of the artists and labels that we were going to meet was going to be extremely high. This year certainly didn’t disappoint as we met delegates from Africa, Asia, Latin America and Europe covering a whole host of genres.
WOMEX takes over Katowice
During the day our time was spent at the trade fair. This year this took place at the futuristic Międzynarodowe Centrum Kongresowe (International Congress Centre) meeting the world music community. It was at night that the city came alive with more than 60 acts playing at the ‘OffWOMEX’ showcase festival. Some particular highlights for us were Night from Nepal, Jyotsna Srikanth performing music from South India, Talisk from Scotland and VOŁOSI from Poland. WOMEX organisers Piranha Arts did a stellar job once again with the selection of artists.
The next stop on the WOMEX journey is Las Palmas de Gran Canaria in October 2018. It’ll be the most southerly city in Europe that the conference has ever visited. We certainly cannot wait to be WOMEXicans once again!