Future-proof heritage: IMATERIAL wins UPBEAT Future Festival Award

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IMATERIAL of Évora, Portugal won European showcase platform UPBEAT’s Future Festival Award. Handed over at the sector’s global meetup WOMEX on 27 October 2023, the award grants further professional opportunities and the perks of UPBEAT’s associated partner status. 

8 contestants vied for the award, selected by UPBEAT’s expert jury, with an eye to sustainable criteria: European festivals actively reducing carbon emissions in production, representing diversity and rooted in heritage, with no more than 5 editions were considered. The UPBEAT community of 14 festivals decided who wins the title entailing new professional pathways and greater visibility.

An award from the industry for the industry, the Future Festival Award was launched to strengthen the ethos of sustainability. IMATERIAL, a “small-scale, community-focused, and inclusive festival” set in charming Évora, a city listed as UNESCO heritage site and European Capital of Culture in 2027, with a programme ranging from authentic global heritage to current electronica, seemed the perfect embodiment of UPBEAT values. 

The Future Festival Award had 8 contestants, recommended by the board members of UPBEAT – Alex Walter (WOMEX); Balázs Weyer (Hangvető); Ian Smith (Waves Vienna); Oriol Roca (Mercat de Música Viva de Vic) – and UPBEAT’s sustainability specialist, Martyna van Nieuwland. To meet UPBEAT’s criteria, they had to be European, represent diversity and sustainability both in programming and production, and be a relative newcomer: festivals with no more than 5 editions were considered. All UPBEAT members, 14 festivals connected by the platform had a vote to choose the winner.

Our goal has been to establish a festival in Évora that serves as a platform for the diverse musical traditions from around the world, fostering a sense of collective sharing, while also fostering a meaningful dialogue with the rich polyphonies of the region.”  as the artistic director of IMATERIAL, Carlos Seixas expresses. 

The Future Festival Award is handed over at world music’s industry’s global gettogether, WOMEX. UPBEAT provides further networking opportunities at WOMEX and other UPBEAT showcase festivals to the team of IMATERIAL, and offers greater visibility to the event. By winning the award, the festival also joins UPBEAT network as an associate partner.