WOMEX Prospers In ‘Perilous’ Times

WOMEX general director Gerald Seligman says these are "hard times in the music industry and perilous times for the world," but the annual gathering still enjoyed a record- breaking year.

More than 1,000 of the 2,800 delegates in Seville were said to be concert and festival bookers, arguably one of the highest concentrations of talent-spotters ever in one place.

They ran the rule over 350 artists from 42 countries, which played across five stages situated in the famed Teatro Lope de Vega and the nearby Plaza de España.

The delegate numbers were about 10 percent up on 2006, while the number of exhibitors at the October 24-28 trade fair was up 25 percent. In total, there were representatives from 1,400 companies from 90 countries.

The 13th edition of the annual gathering also attracted more than 350 national and international journalists, including more than 150 radio broadcasters.

Nearly 40 speakers appeared in the two dozen conference sessions spread across the five days.

WOMEX was especially honoured to be working in partnership with the Spanish Ministry of Culture and Fundación Tres Culturas in promoting the objectives of the United Nations Alliance Of Civilizations, a project initiated by Spanish President José Luis Zapatero.

The president’s mission statement is to "increase awareness to the risks that a wall of misunderstanding may arise between the West and the Arab-Islamic world."

He said the United Nations Alliance Of Civilizations was formed to counteract those who "seem to promote a clash of civilizations."

"These are hard times in the music industry and perilous times for the world at large," Seligman told delegates, explaining the role that his organization needs to play. "There is great need to keep this multi-national, cross-cultural community alive."

He said it was largely down to WOMEX delegates that there are "more artists from more cultures touring than ever before in history."