A Delegate's Guide to Womex
Delegate beginners guide
Some advice from womex.com for first-timers and old-hands on making the most of attending WOMEX:
Write down 2-4 goals. The more clear you are about what you want out of WOMEX, the more likely you will accomplish it. Goals could include: Meet and get contact information for 20 festival directors. Meet 10 record label decision-makers and hand them my demo. Put faces with names with the 20 people I already know in the world music industry. Discover five performers I want to book this year at my festival. Use virtualWOMEX to do your preparatory work for this.
Have an "elevator pitch". Make sure you can give an overview of what you do in a minute or less. There will be a lot of: "What do you do?" in passing. Be prepared to answer it simply and clearly, or in a way that will pique interest. Be prepared to be able to describe the music in a way that quickly gives the listener a sense of what you are talking about. A simple format is: "It’s like ______, but with _________."
Talk to people. You spent all this money and time to get to WOMEX; you will get more out of it if you meet more new people and the only way to do this is to talk. Grab badges and say with a smile: Where are you from? Figure out how you can help them. Ask them what they are trying to get out of WOMEX so that you can keep an ear out for them. Try to understand what someone does and what makes them tick and offer an ear and a hand.
Be respectful. There are a few people at WOMEX who you see coming with their hand extended and everyone turns the other way. Why? Because they are selling all the time. People at larger festivals or record labels or media outlets get hit up that many more times, so be respectful of their time and interest or you will lose their time and interest. Make it short and sweet and if they are not interested, move on. With busy people, you can ask if they have time later or if you can hand them something and follow up afterwards.
Get to know the programme. Plan on attending a couple of panels, going to lots of showcases, and perusing the trade hall. If you have trouble meeting new people, attend more relevant panels where you can put faces with names. Introduce yourself to panelists. Introduce yourself to the person sitting next to you. If you have something relevant to the panel discussion, raise your hand early in the Question & Answer portion, introduce your name and organisation, and say your comment or question. Make it compelling and people will be attracted to you. Sign up for Mentoring in advance, as those slots go fast.