Cardiff to host 2013 Womex world music showcase

Up to 60 concerts featuring more than 300 artists will be held at the Wales Millennium Centre

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Cardiff was won the bid to host the annual gathering of the world music industry, Womex, in October 2013.

The city beat off competition including Dublin and Glasgow to land the five-day world music showcase.

Up to 60 concerts featuring more than 300 artists will be held at the Wales Millennium Centre, with a fair trade exhibition at Cardiff Motorpoint Arena.

First Minister Carwyn Jones said the event would "allow us to grow the profile of Wales' traditional music".

Womex is described by UN cultural body Unesco as "the most important international professional market of world music of every kind".

Others have suggested that Womex is to world music what the Cannes Festival is to film, giving musicians the opportunity to make contacts for international touring and album distribution.

Start Quote

It's the most amazing opportunity to get to learn about other musical cultures”

End Quote Lisa Matthews Welsh Music Foundation

In addition to the concerts, the 2013 event, to run from 23-27 October, is expected to attract around 650 companies from more than 90 countries for the fair trade exhibition.

The year-long campaign to bring the event to Cardiff was led by Cerdd Cymru Music Wales, a partnership between the Welsh Music Foundation, and Wales Arts International, the international arm of the Arts Council of Wales, with support from the British Council and the Welsh Government.

The arts council said the world music gathering was a "real opportunity" to develop the music industry in Wales and showcase the cultural and economic value of its musical heritage.

Arts Council of Wales chair Dai Smith said: "This is a wonderful achievement for Wales.

Womex 10 trade fair (Photo courtesy Alexia Fodere) The event includes a fair trade exhibition in addition to the music schedule

"This event, of worldwide significance, is an important part of our wider plans to develop a vibrant and exciting music industry in Wales."

Copenhagen is hosting Womex this year for the third year running. Last year, Welsh harpist Catrin Finch hosted the Welsh evening at the event, featuring the bands Mabon, 9bach and Calan.

She said: "It's a chance to hear the best in the world on our doorstep and a chance to make sure that Welsh music is known and heard around the globe."

Welsh Music Foundation director Lisa Matthews said it was the "most amazing opportunity to get to learn about other musical cultures".

"It will open people's eyes to a wonderful celebration of world cultures," she said.

First Minster Mr Jones said: "Womex 13 Cardiff will place the music from Wales on the world stage alongside more established markets so that Wales' authentic music traditions become more widely known internationally and are positioned beside music from our Celtic neighbours."

Next year's event, Womex 12, is being held at Thessaloniki, Greece.

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