The five day event is not only a commercial platform but a progressive amplifier for music culture itself - this is emphasized not by the festival programme alone, a stroll over the expo resembles a walk through the cultural diversity of the globe.
Musicians, agents, record labels - you name it - gather together to check out new talent and share music. Intense meetings and conferences by day, and by night an equally intense schedule of gigs and showcases. A weird and wonderful selection of music.
This year’s event boasted more than 2,600 attendees from over 90 countries; and over 60 acts with 303 musicians from 46 countries. Simply put, it’s a pretty big deal.
60 artists, 7 stages and more than 2600 music pros from 90 countries: The World Music Expo is the biggest meeting of the global pop scene.
The world vibrates at WOMEX 17 in Poland.
"Bringing together professionals from the worlds of folk, roots, ethnic and traditional music in an extraordinary five-day event WOMEX remains a key highlight on the global music scene."
IMEXSA Independent Music Exporters South Africa
"One of the highlights of the annual WOMEX conference (besides the discovery of awesome music!) is that it is truly a gathering of the tribes - devoted, passionate cultural entrepreneurs and international music lovers from all over the world who provide continuous inspiration for the following year until we meet again!"
Catalina Maria Johnson (USA), Radio Host/Producer and Music Journalist, Beat Latino
"I visit quite a few showcase events and conferences every year and WOMEX is always the highlight. There's always a lot of good music and some great music, but even more than that, the spirit of WOMEX is music and enjoyment first, business second, which means, rather than dog eat dog just under the surface, there's a sense of a bunch of very different people who form a floating collegiate."
Nick Hobbs (UK/Turkey), Charmworks
"WOMEX was an amazing networking experience, as well as Showcase experience. The event allowed us to meet contacts from around the world, and present our project to the type of music industry people we really needed to meet."
Kishon Khan (UK/Bangladesh), Musical Director, Lokkhi Terra/Funkiwala Records
"The important thing about WOMEX is seeing how many people are working for the same cause, encouraging music cultures to get stronger, letting the world know about their existence and richness, which is a mutual encouragement to get on with the work! You really feel you are part of a bigger movement, and your cultural identity counts."
Kirill Kuzmin (Tajikistan), Projects Manager, Bactria Cultural Centre
"There are a huge variety of opportunities to explore at the conference for musicians and industry delegates, from international keynote speakers, round-table discussions and industry panels in the daytime to networking receptions and world-class live music [...] WOMEX is a great opportunity for meeting new contacts and professional development whatever your genre."
Crispin Parry (UK), CEO & Creative Director, British Underground
"Being part of the WOMEX community for a few days was an excellent door opener to getting to know the most open-minded community within the music industry by far."
Nora Bammer de Rodriguez (Austria), Donau-Universität Krems
"WOMEX provides a valuable meeting place for international connections and dialogue, as well as refreshing those connections close to home. Combined with the opportunity to see a wealth of emerging international artists, it reminds us of the vitality of music in the globalised world we navigate."
Joel Mills (UK), British Council
"Having meetings with people from all over the world is so enriching. Any business, big or small, can succeed on the international market. I encourage emerging music businesses to attend WOMEX. The possibilities are endless; your business does not end at the border!"
Marlyn Ntsele (South Africa), General Manager, iSupport Music Business
"Where else on the planet can you hear music from such diverse places and cultures, and meet colleagues from literally all around the globe, in one spot? I love the mix of music, people, styles, and traditions."
Alison Loerke (USA), Director, Alia Prod
"WOMEX is the best place to meet artists and music people from all over the world."
Lennart Wretlind (Sweden), radio producer and presenter
"I had a splendid 4 days of warm conversation and hot music that was balm for the soul and got my feet tapping when they weren't killing me with so much activity. They will however take me to Santiago de Compostela next year for more of the same and totally different."
Roger Armstrong (UK), Ace Records
"WOMEX opened my eyes to the breadth of world music and the people who make it. Inspiring and encouraging, I made enough contacts to work on for months!"
Rob Oakie (Canada), Executive Director Music, PEI Canada
"WOMEX 2013 is the most important trade show globally and South African emerging artists and independent music companies attending are enabled to position their standing and showcase their musical products at a festival that has the potential to kick start their careers on an international level."
Renneth Tshisikule, IMEXSA Independent Music Exporters South Africa
"It was my favourite WOMEX for many years - lots of good ideas, plain speaking, good meals and dancing!"
David Jones (UK), Serious
"A bustling market with passionate, professional people. WOMEX is an event where you're always inspired and discover new and exciting music and colleagues. A once in a year must for the world music business & beyond!"
Miriam Brenner (The Netherlands), Kokako Music
"I thought WOMEX 13 was a triumph - Cardiff was a fabulous city to hold it in - what lovely hosts. I found the whole experience enlightening, stimulating and lots of good fun - I'm knackered!"
Rita Ray (UK), BBC World Service Focus on Africa / SOAS.FM Radio
"Whether you're a journalist, a radio DJ, a musician, a concert organiser, a booker or a record company, if you're dealing with world music you cannot miss the WOMEX."
Zjakki Willems (Belgium), Radio Producer, VRT
"The effects of WOMEX in terms of cultural legacy for our music industry and the profile of Cardiff as a world cultural capital will be with us for years to come."
Phil Sheeran (UK), Cerdd Cymru : Music Wales Board
"WOMEX is a worldwide unique event of cultural diversity in music. Without WOMEX the development of musical expressions in the world the last 20 years would be less rich."
Birgit Ellinghaus (Germany), Founding Director, Alba Kultur
"Always stimulating, WOMEX is the single most useful yearly get together of world music professionals. The energy at the trade show is palpable."
Tom Frouge (USA), Avokado Artists/¡Globalquerque!
"When you walk onto the cavernous floor of the expo, you have the world around you. Labels, artists, promoters, festivals, media - it's all there and they all have a place for jazz!"
Mike Gavin (UK), Edition PR
"To be successful at programming global music, it is essential to attend WOMEX. It is unparalleled for networking, information, and quality of artist showcases."
Fiona Black (Canada), Director of Programming, Capilano University
"An unmissable opportunity for businesses and artists at any level."
Neal Thompson (UK), Programmer, Llangollen Fringe Festival
"WOMEX is the most important industry event of the year and continues to be so. This year being my fifth, I find each year more and more lucrative as I dig deeper into the community and opportunities the conference has to offer."
Allie Silver (USA/Argentina), Founder and Director, Free Radical Productions
"WOMEX is an invaluable event and resource for anyone involved in the world music business. Hugely informative, enjoyable and highly professional."
Paul Brett (UK), Manager, Yaaba Funk
"The most important international professional market of world music of every kind. This international fair brings together professionals from the worlds of folk, roots, ethnic and traditional music and also includes concerts, conferences and documentary films. It contributes to networking as an effective means of promoting music and culture of all kinds across frontiers."
UNESCO Global Alliance for Cultural Diversity
Photo: WOMEX 14 Showcase artist Noreum Machi, by Jacob Crawfurd