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Why the Worldwide Music Expo coming to Manchester is a huge deal

You may have heard that the Worldwide Music Expo is coming to Manchester in 2024. This is why it should matter to you.

Manchester is set to host the prestigious Worldwide Music Expo (WOMEX) in 2024.

We know how incredible this city is for music. It’s the beating heart of the U.K. when it comes to producing incredible music and hosting world-class gigs and events.

And with a huge year ahead, not to mention the opening of the CO-OP live arena, things are only going to get better.

The international music convention Worldwide Music Expo is gearing up to celebrate its 30th edition here in the city.

Set to take place from October 23 to 27, 2024, this marks the debut of WOMEX in Manchester and the third edition in the UK, with its last editions being hosted in Cardiff, Wales, in 2013 and Gateshead/Newcastle in 2005.

The Worldwide Music Expo in Manchester

Worldwide Music Expo
Manchester Collective – The Oracle at Bridgewater Hall, Manchester. Photo by Gaelle Beri

This win cements Manchester’s status as a global music hub, attracting over 2,600 professionals and artists from 90 countries.

The event promises an unparalleled musical experience, celebrating its 30th anniversary with an array of diverse performances and industry insights.

Where will Womex be Held in Manchester?

Manchester Central - WOMEX Worldwide Music Expo
Manchester Central

The WOMEX event will take place at venues in the heart of the city centre – with Manchester Central hosting the main daytime 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.

Piranha Arts, the owners and producers of WOMEX, based in Berlin, will work closely with Marketing Manchester and the rest of the Manchester event team over the next year to market the event to potential delegates and participants worldwide.

Music Diversity Takes Centre Stage

WOMEX, recognised as the most diverse and international music meeting worldwide, boasts a colossal trade fair, engaging talks, captivating films, and unforgettable showcase concerts.

Daytime activities cater to music industry delegates, while electrifying night-time events are open to both the public and officials, offering a broad spectrum of musical experiences.

Economic Impact and Business Boom

The popularity of the city and its ability to handle world-class events is having a huge economic impact on the city. We saw this with the incredible Chanel Fashion Show held in the Northern Quarter last year.

Anticipate a significant economic impact as WOMEX 2024 is poised to generate an estimated £28.3 million in business.

Manchester’s city region is set to receive a direct boost ranging from £2.9 million to £3.2 million, with an additional economic impact of £6.3 million to £7.2 million expected across the wider UK.

Legacy and Sustainability Initiatives

Beyond economic gains, WOMEX 2024 aims to leave a lasting legacy.

Led by Brighter Sound, a focus on social justice and sustainability is driving initiatives to support musicians, producers, and music professionals in building sustainable careers locally, nationally, and internationally.

Inclusive Programming for All Audiences

While WOMEX primarily targets musicians and industry professionals, a robust program of live music showcases and films caters to the general public. This inclusivity ensures that music enthusiasts can partake in a unique, once-in-a-generation event featuring life-altering musical experiences.

Global Collaboration for Unprecedented Success

Owned and produced by Berlin-based Piranha Arts, WOMEX 2024 is set to celebrate its 30th anniversary in Manchester.

Collaborative efforts with Manchester Music City, Arts Council England, British Council, Greater Manchester Combined Authority, and Manchester City Council underscore the commitment to global success.

Key Figures Express Excitement and Commitment

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.”

Councillor Bev Craig, Leader of Manchester City Council, 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.”

“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.”

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.”

Manchester’s Winning Bid and Stellar Partners

The triumph of Manchester’s bid to host WOMEX 2024 was spearheaded by the city council, backed by stellar partners including Brighter Sound, English Folk Expo, the hub, and Factory International.

Additional support from Horizons, British Council, Arts Council England, and Marketing Manchester further solidifies Manchester’s standing as a dynamic global music destination.

Stay Updated on WOMEX 2024

For the latest updates on WOMEX 2024, sign up for the Manchester Music City mailing list or follow them on Instagram here.

Experience the pinnacle of the global music industry as Manchester hosts the remarkable WOMEX 2024 – an event set to redefine the city’s musical legacy on the world stage.

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