International music convention WOMEX has confirmed it will be coming to Manchester next year in a boost for the region’s creative sector.
The city will host the prestigious global event on behalf of the UK and Ireland next autumn, between 23-27 October 2024.
WOMEX – Worldwide Music Expo – is the most international and culturally diverse music meeting in the world and the biggest conference of the global music scene.
It takes place each year in a different European city and features a huge trade fair, talks, films and showcase concerts. While the daytime activities are reserved for music industry delegates, the live night-time music events will be ticketed and open to members of the public and delegates.
With Manchester Music City at its helm, Manchester’s winning bid was led by the city council with Brighter Sound, English Folk Expo, Marketing Manchester, the hub, Factory International, Horizons, British Council and Arts Council England.
Hosting WOMEX will put Manchester firmly front and centre of the international music scene with the event expected to attract over 2,600 music professionals and performing artists from around 90 different countries.
Its musical spectrum covers everything from the most traditional of music forms to the latest local underground, embracing folk, roots, jazz and local cultures, alongside urban and electronic sounds from across the globe.
The convention will take place at venues across the city centre – with Manchester Central hosting the main conference and trade fair, and venues including Aviva Studios, Albert Hall, Bridgewater Hall and O2 Ritz all set to host live music showcases, alongside a programme of international films at HOME.
Debra King, Director of Manchester Music City, said:
“As a city with music in its DNA, where better to host one of the most important international music events in the world. Bringing WOMEX to Manchester in 2024 demonstrates a strong commitment to the value of international music, and of being connected to the global music industry.
Hosting WOMEX will help us to promote our incredible city region on the world stage, strengthen our reputation as an innovative, diverse and international hub for music, and channel our innovative and creative spirit into supporting new waves of talent.
The impact of WOMEX 2024 will be made possible by the partnership with UK and Ireland, ensuring a cultural, social, and economic legacy resonating across the city region, the North and beyond.”
The economic impact of hosting the conference in Manchester is expected to be significant.
Based on similar global events of this size hosted in the UK it’s estimated that the total value of business generated at WOMEX 2024 will be around £28.3m, of which an estimated £5.6m will be generated by UK delegates (see note 2 to editors).
Beyond the value of business done at the event itself, the conference and related live events are expected to provide a direct economic boost to Manchester and the city region of between £2.9m – £3.2m.
The convention is also expected to generate a significant economic impact across the wider UK of between £6.3m – £7.2m.
Councillor Bev Craig, Leader of Manchester City Council and Deputy Chair of the GM Business Board, said:
“The figures speak for themselves in terms of the economic impact that hosting WOMEX 2024 on behalf of the UK will have. But this isn’t just about the numbers. Just as important will be the real opportunities it will give our musicians and other professionals working in the music industry to network and do business on their own doorstep with their peers from around the globe.
In Manchester we’ve long recognised the powerful role that music and culture can play in regeneration, creating jobs, and other opportunities, and are determined to do everything we can to support the sector and the people who work in it.”
As well as a packed programme across the five days and nights of the convention, work is also underway to ensure that WOMEX 2024 creates a tangible, lasting legacy for everyone involved in music in Manchester, the North, and across the UK and Ireland. This work is being led by Manchester-based Brighter Sound.
With an overarching focus on social justice and sustainability, it’s hoped the plans being developed will better help musicians, producers, promoters and other music professionals of all ages – including young people – to make a sustainable living from music, locally, nationally and internationally.
Sheona Southern, Managing Director at Marketing Manchester, said:
“We’re delighted to hear that WOMEX, the pinnacle meeting of the global music industry, is coming to Manchester in 2024. This is a truly significant occasion for the city, which has a rich and illustrious musical heritage that has left a lasting mark on the global music scene. Manchester has always been at the forefront of innovation and creativity in music and hosting WOMEX reaffirms our position as a vibrant and influential hub in the music industry. With over 2,600 professionals and artists from 90 countries converging on the city, we anticipate a remarkable exchange of ideas, sounds, and experiences. This event is a testament to the power of music in the city and we will be delighted to welcome the world to us in 2024.”
Whilst the convention itself is aimed at musicians and professionals in the music industry, there will also be a full programme of live music showcases and films that will be put on sale to the general public.
Tom Besford, from event delivery partner English Folk Expo, said:
“Manchester will be an amazing place to host WOMEX. Whilst I’m incredibly excited to welcome the international music industry to our city, it’s even more brilliant to have thousands of tickets available for local audiences to some of the most spectacular worldwide bands.
You might not have heard of WOMEX before, but this really is the best gathering of global music anywhere. I hope music lovers from across the region and beyond embrace this once-in-a-generation event to discover life-changing music.”
WOMEX is owned and produced by Berlin-based organisation Piranha Arts, who will be celebrating the event’s 30th anniversary in Manchester in 2024.
Piranha Arts will be working closely with Manchester Music City and the rest of the Manchester event team over the next year to help market the convention to potential delegates around the world and to help ensure its success.
WOMEX 2024 is being supported by Arts Council England, British Council, Greater Manchester Combined Authority, and Manchester City Council.
To stay updated about WOMEX 2024 sign up to the Manchester Music City mailing list www.manchestermusiccity.com/contact or follow Manchester Music City on Instagram for regular updates www.instagram.com/manchestermusiccity.