WOMEX music conference heading to Manchester in 2024

Womex music conference

Manchester has secured an international music conference in 2024 that is expected to provide a direct economic boost to the city region of up to £3.2m.

The WOMEX – Worldwide Music Expo convention is also expected to generate a significant economic impact across the wider UK of between £6.3m – £7.2m as 2,600 music professionals and performing artists from around 90 different countries will come to the event which will be held at venues across the city centre.

Manchester Central will host the main conference and trade fair, and venues including Aviva Studios, Albert Hall, Bridgewater Hall and O2 Ritz are all set to host live music showcases, alongside a programme of international films at HOME.

Manchester’s winning bid for the huge trade fair was supported by a £300,000 Arts Council England grant towards the event, which will include talks, films and showcase concerts. Also supporting the  city council were partners Brighter Sound, English Folk Expo, Marketing Manchester, the hub, Factory International, Horizons, British Council and Arts Council England.

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 as well as delegates.

The team behind the bid to host WOMEX hope the event will put Manchester “firmly front and centre of the international music scene” to an event embracing a wide range of genres including folk, roots, jazz and local cultures, alongside urban and electronic sounds from across the globe.

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, and are determined to do everything we can to support the sector and the people who work in it.”