In October 2021, the city of Porto will host the WOMEX Festival - The World Music Expo, one of the most important world events for professionals in the music industry, with more than 26 years of history, in an absolute debut in Portugal, which will bring thousands of attendees from over 90 countries to Invicta. Alfândega do Porto will be the epicentre of this initiative, where the trade fair with 300 stands is installed, also a privileged space to host the conference series. The programme will also be extended to seven more venues in the city, including Rivoli . Municipal Theatre, Coliseu Porto Ageas and Casa da Música, with film screenings, showcase concerts and an award ceremony, which annually honours the biggest names in global music.
From 27 to 31 October 2021, world music will invade Porto. WOMEX will bring thousands of industry professionals to the city, following Budapest, Hungary, which will host the 2020 edition in October, and Tampere (2019), in Finland.
"Today is a historic milestone. This idea of wanting to bring WOMEX to Portugal is over 20 years old," stated at the press conference, the director general of AMG Music, António Miguel Guimarães, the production company responsible for organising the festival in Portugal.
In fact, since 2014 we wanted to bring WOMEX to Porto, the mayor shared. However, at that time, both the Mayor and Paulo Cunha Silva, then City Councillor for Culture, considered that the Municipality was not ready to invest in an event of this importance. In recent years, a lot has changed, said António Miguel Guimarães, stressing that "Porto is more than prepared to host events on a global scale like this".
In fact, Rui Moreira was pleased that both the Executive and the Municipal Assembly had unanimously approved the support to hold the festival in the city, and he “hopes this can be an opportunity to promote Lusophone music and its uniqueness still unknown to most people", especially the music from Países Africanos de Língua Oficial Portuguesa-PALOP (Portuguese-speaking African Countries), he said.
WOMEX with decentralized stages across the city
Over the course of five days and five nights, WOMEX will have Alfândega do Porto as the nerve centre, where, during the day, the trade fair will take place, where around 2,800 delegates are expected to visit the 300 stands. This is one of the main attractions of the festival, a privileged platform for networking between artists, agents, editors, managers, event promoters, technicians, and journalists.
But it is not the only attraction. The event will also have a series of conferences, which will feature keynote speakers, "representing some of the greatest thinkers and music activists in the globe, in a total of about 80 speakers involved", points out the organisation.
The approximately 60 showcase concerts scheduled, in which artists from all over the world will perform to agents, promoters and journalists, will have seven different venues: Coliseu Porto Ageas, Rivoli, a tent set up in Praça de D. João I, Casa da Música, Hard Club, Passos Manuel Cinema , São João National Theatre and Sá da Bandeira Theatre.
In the films and documentaries sessions, which will span over three days, 16 screenings are planned, including three premieres and a special tribute. And, as usual in each edition, in Porto the WOMEX Awards will also be held, a ceremony to give the most prestigious Music Awards in the World, which will take place at Casa da Música.
All of these activities will be closely followed by around 300 journalists from around the world, representing more than 400 media from 90 countries, a fact that alone guarantees the international visibility of the event.