2500 delegates celebrated 25th anniversary edition of WOMEX in Tampere, Finland

WOMEX, the world’s most international music meeting and the biggest conference of the global music scene, ended in Tampere on Sunday. This year marked the 25th anniversary of the event, as well as the first edition of WOMEX to take place in Finland ­– the northernmost location of WOMEX to date. Together with Piranha Arts, WOMEX 19 was brought to Finland by Rockadillo Production Oy, with Music Finland as strategic partner.

Between 23 and 27 October, WOMEX hosted over 2,500 music professionals from 83 countries in the city of Tampere. More than 60 musical acts performed in showcases on three stages in Tampere Hall, Torni Paja stage, Pakkahuone and Klubi venues, with 260 artists representing almost 50 countries. 

Topped with dozens of music documentaries from across the globe, conference sessions with over hundred speakers, mentoring opportunities with experts, network meetings and offWOMEX presentations, the event was well-received by the Finnish music community and saw the highest participation from the Nordic region and Baltic states so far. The Trade Fair also hosted first-time exhibitors from China, Taiwan and Japan and a record number of Russian delegates as well as representatives of indigenous cultures around the globe. 

Finnish music highlighted at the Arctic Fire Opening Concert

Wednesday’s opening ceremony Arctic Fire – Pohjoiset tulet included memorable performances from Pauanne, Pekko Käppi, Suistamon Sähkö, and Vildá. The Opening was produced by Music Finland and had internationally-noted choreographer and dancer Kaari Martin, together with composer, musician, producer Roni Martin as artistic directors and choreographers. The Finnish Broadcasting Company Yle, the official media partners for 2019, broadcasted the event live on national television that is now available for streaming online (stream it below).

The opening night speeches resonated in the audience, presenting subjects like equality, non-discrimination, multi-culturalism, cultural diversity, easy access to culture, freedom of expression, but also the right to – and responsibility for – cultural heritage, as well as the right to choose one’s own culture. The speakers were Alexander Walter (Piranha WOMEX), Tapio Korjus (the local host Rockadillo Production Oy), Hanna Kosonen (Minister of Science and Culture of Finland) and Johanna Loukaskorpi (Deputy Mayor of the City of Tampere).

After the opening concert, Music Finland hosted a reception, where a special toast was raised to those WOMEX delegates who have attended all 25 editions of WOMEX.

Overwhelmingly positive feedback from guests

High praise of the event and the whole Finnish delegation was received from local participants as well as international guests through social media channels and face to face. For example, David Jones, the Director of UK based company Serious commented: 

“Overall, this was the most enjoyable WOMEX I’ve been on – and I’ve been on most of them. There was an enthusiasm and a genuine welcome from everyone I met.”

In 2020 WOMEX will once again return to Budapest, Hungary – the event will be held between 21 and 25 October next year. More information here.

Watch all WOMEX broadcasts by Finland's national public broadcasting company Yle at their streaming platform Areena – available globally.

WOMEX 19 gallery by Tomi Palsa (except Tuuletar and Wimme & Rinne photos by Eric Van Nieuwlan)