World Music Showcase


Guy Van Hulst

Guy van Hulst is artistic manager at TivoliVredenburg and Transition Jazz Festival in Utrecht – the Netherlands. He has been programming jazz-, contemporary-music, children- and chambermusic programs and festivals for over twenty-five year.

Marija Vitas

Marija Vitas is the editor-in-chief of the Serbian world music magazine "Etnoumlje". Since 2018, she has been editing the portal of the World Music Association of Serbia. She collaborated with Radio BBC 3 and Canadian Radio CBC and writes for the Italian "Blogfoolk" portal and German "Folk Galore" magazine. She is a member of the "Transglobal World Music Charts" panel and the founder and administrator of the "Balkan World Music Chart".She worked at Radio Belgrade 2 (2008 - 2019), doing CD reviews and reports on world music/classical/pop/rock/jazz concerts and festivals in Serbia, and abroad, hosting the show "Od zlata jabuka" focused on Serbian and Balkan music and cultural heritage, preparing playlists in different talk shows. Since 2019, she is the President of the "Ring Ring" Association and a member of the team of the "Todo Mundo" and "Pocket Globe" world music festivals.

András Halmos

Andras Halmos is a concert programmer since 2004 and drummer since 1994. He is an advisor, booker for Müpa Budapest (with the National Concert Hall) and the Head of Concert Programming at the House of Music Hungary.

Bogdan Benigar

Director of jazz and world music at Cankarjev dom cultural and congress center, director and artistic director of the Jazz Festival Ljubljana and director of the program committee at Druga Godba festival, Ljubljana. Bogdan has served as board member of EFWMF (European Forum of Worldwide Music Festivals) and board member of EJN (Europe Jazz Network). He has also led the European Jazz Conference in Ljubljana 2017. He has served as a member of the Womex jury in 2006 and Jazzahead juries in 2011 and 2015. He has received the 2018 EJN Award for adventurous programming.

Girisha Fernando

Girisha Fernando is the artistic director of the WATER & SOUND Festival for global contemporary music in Augsburg, Germany (since 2011) and also curator of music for the BRECHTFESTIVAL amongst others. Specialised in music programming within the genres of world music, spiritual music, and also contemporary jazz and pop; artistically ambitious yet always with an eye to an audience. He is also an active musician and producer.

Carlos Seixas

Carlos is the artistic & production director of FMM Sines Festival (, since 1999. FMM Sines is all about the music and is especially tuned to the contemporary world, the movements of migrations, the culture-crossing and the transcontinental encounters. Carlos started his career as producer and programmer of live events in the 80's. He took part as a jury of showcases selection in international music markets ie. Atlantic Music Expo Cape Vert, Womex Poland, Mozambique Music Meeting, Budapest Ritmo. He leads in programming and produces other events. He curates Ciclo Mundos a live music programme @ Teatro da Trindade in Lisbon since 2016. Also he is currently the artistic director of Festival Imaterial in Évora ( and associated with Gindungo Artist Development, a music management organization.

Bojan Djordjevic

A music journalist since 1987 and a radio DJ since 1990, Djordjevic has also compiled several bestselling compilations for the label Radio B92. Founder of the Association Ring Ring. Artistic director of the Ring Ring new music festival in 1996 and also has been the artistic director of the Todo Mundo world music festival since 2012. both festival are still running in Belgrade. The new festival organised by the association and program curated together with Marija Vitas is World Music festival "Pocket Globe" in Novi Sad since 2022. Since the year 2000 Bojan is member of World Music Charts Europe and since 2019 member of Balkan World Music Chart. Beside creating festivals and connecting Balkan with the world, Bojan Djordjevic is currently manager of Džambo Aguševi Orchestra, brass band from North Macedonia and Divanhana, sevdalinka nad Balkan music from Bosnia and Herzegovina. Also boking for Merima Ključo & Jelena Milušić, accordion & vocal duo from Bosnia & Herzegovina.

Frank van Berkel

Frank van Berkel is working as program director at the BIMHUIS Amsterdam, The Netherlands since January 2018. The BIMHUIS is a venue for pioneering musicians of all generations, from both the local and international scene. With over 300 concerts each year, the program offers a comprehensive overview of new developments in jazz, improvised music and many other genres, including world music and electronic music. The BIMHUIS is a founding member of the Europe Jazz Network. Frank also works as a freelance programmer for festival North Sea Round Town in Rotterdam.

Jan Hoozee

Jan Hoozee is a DJ, amateur musician and radio producer. He used to run the internationally acclaimed world music record label Zephyrus Records and produced more than 20 albums. Currently Jan is the artistic director and programmer of Trefpunt Festival, the main organizer of the Ghent Festivities (Belgium). Trefpunt was created by the late Walter De Buck, folk singer and sculptor from Ghent, as a meeting point for artists, writers, academics and left-wing thinkers. In 1970 he started the Gentse Feesten (Ghent Festivities) in front of his macrobiotic restaurant, which grew out into one of the biggest city festivals in Europe (1.6 million people over 10 days in 2023). Trefpunt Festival is still the core, the soul, the biggest and most diverse organizer during the 10-day festival, bringing local and international artists in world music, jazz, folk, pop, rock and hiphop, as well as street theater, circus, dance, visual arts and debates.

Roel Vanhoeck

Roel Vanhoeck (°1977) is Deputy Director Music of the Center of Fine Arts Brussels (Bozar).He is responsible for the non-classical music program at Bozar and more in particular for the jazz, electronic music, contemporary & cross-over program. He started his professional career as senior staff member at the Flanders Music Center where he was responsible for international music policy & promotion. Before joining the BOZAR Music team he was during 5 years managing director of Jeunesses Musicales of Flanders which was the most prominent music education organization in the country. He is a board member of several cultural institutions and a regular guest on international conferences on the topic of music policy, promotion & programming.

Oliver Belopeta

Oliver is originally, an engineer of telecommunications, but in the seventies started working as a music journalist and radiohost. An Artistic Director of Skopje Jazz Festival from its start in 1982 and in 1996 he established his own non-profit, non-governmental cultural institution “Skopje Jazz Festival”. His organization “Skopje Jazz Festival” runs two festivals, Skopje Jazz Festival (42 years) and the world-music festival OFFest (22 years). Oliver is a member of European Jazz Network (EJN) and of the Forum of Worldwide Music Festivals (FWMF).

Kostadin Shurbanovski

Shurbe is a culture manager, promoter, label owner, radio host, DJ and music journalist with more than 20 years of experience in organizing concerts, festivals, promo parties and cultural events in Macedonia. As a chief editor and member of the Editorial board in the Music Radio – Kanal 103, he was involved in many projects: concerts, festivals, exhibitions, CDs and books publishing. From 2001, as a project manager in the Cultural Institution – Skopje Jazz Festival, he has participated in the organization of Skopje Jazz Festival and OFFest and took part in different activities of the institution (publishing, exhibitions, release parties etc.). He has attended a lot of international and local conferences, music fairs, workshops etc.

Saša Pastorková

Saša Pastorková is a native of Banská Štiavnica. She is the founder of Spectaculum production, an independent music organization through which she conducts most of her cultural activities. Spectaculum production organizes international music festivals, and Saša is its creative director. In her free time, Saša is engaged in music journalism. She cooperates with established Slovak media.Saša is also in charge of production and booking for the music publishing house Real Music House Bratislava, and manages external booking for the creative space Nová Cvernovka in Bratislava. She is involved in the music dramaturgy and production of the Bombura Club in Brezno and Art Café in Banská Štiavnica. As a music manager, Saša also cooperates with a number of Slovak and some foreign musicians, mainly from the jazz, world music and classical scenes. A 2019 novelty is her pilot project of music education for children. The project is a series of music workshops entitled “Music Makes the Man”, involving trainers who are renowned musicians and artists moving along the interfaces of a number of music genres and working in all areas related to music in Slovakia.

Zoran Vulovic Vule

Started music career in 1980 as a lead author, composer and musician in famous Yugoslav band “U škripcu”. Owner and CEO of the “Long Play” concert agency (from 2000) – one of the leading promotional music companies in Serbia and region which is representing regional performers. Owner and CEO of one of the biggest Serbian music festivals – “Arsenal Fest” (Kragujevac) that is held every June from 2011 and is gathering over 60 bands and performers yearly. For 15 years Zoran managed the career of one of the most popular Serbian and ex-YU bands “Bajaga and instruktori” with a great number of concerts and tours in Serbia and the whole world. Zoran is actively participating in the work of Yourope (European Festival Association) which member is also Arsenal Fest.

Arlette Hovinga

Arlette Hovinga (That Jazz Girl) is a publicist and marketing/media director from The Netherlands. Focusing on release- and tour promo, she works all over Europe to represent everything jazz, experimental, world, or indie. When not on the road with colleagues, clients, and friends such as Jason Miles (Marcus Miller, Miles Davis) and she can be found organizing press tours for festivals such as So What’s Next?(NL), Szczecin Jazz Festival (PL), and Sicilia Jazz Festival (IT). In the past, she’s been known to work with The Four Tops, Earth Beat Agency, Matt Bianco, and many others. Her hobby, besides having the best job in the world, involves books, reading, collecting vintage cookbooks, and learning languages.

Sebastian Maul

Sebastian Maul, 24 years old, an entrepreneur in the field of organizing cultural events. One of the main projects I am working on is CODRU Festival, which is part of the National Cultural Program Timișoara 2023 - European Capital of Culture. This festival managed to gather over 70,000 participants in the 2023 edition, offering a unique experience that combined music, art and nature. My main role in events is that of booking manager. This position allows me to define the artistic program and configure the festival line-up. Thus, I contribute to bringing some international artists of the first level, who bring a significant impact in the cultural scene of Timișoara.

Alkis Zopoglou

Alkis Zopoglou is a musician himself (kanun player) with an international career and the founder of “Medigrecian productions” a creative & independent artist booking agency specialized in Mediterranean music with strong elements from the Greek traditional music. He actively begins his pursuit of music from a very early age. Very soon, he meets the kanun and studies the styles of performance of various important kanun players in Istanbul. He is also a licensee in Byzantine music, and has been employed as a professor at the Music School in Drama – Greece, teaching kanun. Till today, he has developed an intense artistic activity. He takes part in several cultural events and in discography, with a significant number of prominent composers and music bands of Greece. He is also co-operating with many foreign musicians and has travelled for concerts in many foreign countries. He has represented Greece as a musician and has taught Kanun in international Kanun meetings in several countries. He is a founding member of the musical ensemble “Kontrabando”. He is also artistic director of mediterranean music festival in Zurich-Switzerland ( and Cosmopolis festival in his hometown Kavala-Greece (

Murat Sezgi

Murat Sezgi has been actively involved in the cultural and creative field in Türkiye and Germany since 2003. He has contributed to major events such as Rock'n Coke (40.000 capacity), Cirque du Soleil shows, U2 level stadium concerts to smaller but hundreds of events changing from jazz concerts to theater performances. In 2015, he co-founded 3dots which then was an umbrella company for their newly formed, now an EJN Member Bozcaada Jazz Festival, and record labels and other theater festivals in Türkiye. He initiated the deal process from idea to execution for bringing Sonar Barcelona to Istanbul which still is a major event in Türkiye's event industry. He co-founded XJAZZ, also bringing the brand to Istanbul, Ankara and İzmir. At XJAZZ, he worked as the person to initiate XJAZZ events internationally. He co-founded a startup in the music tech field, a music learning software based on 3D and AI.

Fausto Savatteri

Fausto Savatteri, founder and director at FestiValle: international music and digital arts festival in the Valley of the Temples of Agrigento, Sicily. Artistic Director, as well as jazz guitarist of Four On Six band and Engineer specialized in Music and Acoustic Engineering at Politecnico di Milano; born and raised in Agrigento, Fausto lives in between Milan and Sicily.

Marieke Meischke

Since over 30 years Marieke Meischke has been exploring and walking the field of music, internationally, as booking agent, tour manager, teacher, lyricist and festival producer/director with particular interest in emerging bands/projects. She was running eclectic (showcase) music festivals FlatFest and So What’s Next? in the Netherlands and is currently programming for Jazz Maastricht and JazzOut Fest. Equally passionate about being a coach/guide in talent development (applying Voice Dialogue) and acting as an advisor at the Dutch Performing Arts Fund. Happily present on many festival/award juries, panels and boards.

Login Kochishki

Promoter, football player, A&R manager, father, event/party organiser, bambus drinker, label manager, booking agent, publisher, fan of basketball team Metalski Zavod Tito and goalkeeper in Password Production. Born in Yugoslavia, spent some time in FYROM, some in Macedonia, these days in North Macedonia & for sure will change again the same country. Working in the music area for the last 25 + years. He set up a record label and artist management agency, "Lithium Records" working with the most renowned macedonian artists. When his wife didn’t gave him a permission to name his son Password, he re-branded his company name into Password Production. Login is the founder and director of the biggest Macedonian music Festival "TAKSIRAT", “D festival” and international music conference PIN. Promoter to more than thousand local, regional and international concerts, weddings, funerals, manager to biggest Balkan b(r)ands and has worked as a Production manager, booker, mother or a godfather for the biggest regional festivals. All in all, positive guy, except when he will meet some politicians.

Mira Berggrav

Mira is the head of communication and press at Oslo World. She is in charge of all the communication platforms and our main sponsors. She has a strong social and political engagement and has an important role as a political advisor for the festival. She is in charge of the main funding applications to the festival and manager of the communication team throughout the year. Mira is also part of the booking team of the festival and has been an important force in developing the clubbing program. She has a strong engagement for the Oslo nightlife and a great knowledge of audience development. During her time as a communication manager the festival has grown in size. 60% growth in audience numbers since 2019. Mira has contributed strongly to the new profile of Oslo World and was very engaged when the festival changed name in 2017 – from Oslo World Music Festival to Oslo World. She is an outspoken feminist and has a background as an artist in the band KUUK and has been an active booker and DJ in the Oslo scene for 15 years.

Nela Peshovska

If you ask Nela's parents what she does they’ll say “we don’t know, something with music”, if you ask her friends they’ll say “she gives us free tickets to concerts” and the truth will tell my colleagues from Password Production that this is a special example that somebody from IT during pandemic to have Eureka moment and come in a dead industry named show business. There are two options for this decision: idiot or lunatic…. Choose by yourself! Nela still works on booking artists and biggest festivals in Macedonia like Taksirat, D Festival, PIN Music Conference and she is grateful for the opportunity to work in the music industry and she's excited to see what the future holds. Impressive right…?

Vesselin Dimitrov

Vesselin Dimitrov has nearly 20 years of experience in the field of media and communications. As editor-in-chief of Forbes, the Bulgarian edition of the largest global business media, he is responsible for the complete brand identity in terms of content (print, online, events, new channels).

Azucena Micó

Azucena Micó, Global Head of Projects and Research of Sound Diplomacy. Azucena has overseen Sound Diplomacy’s biggest projects, including night-time economy strategies and country analysis. She has worked on music and night-time economy city strategies for Vancouver, Victoria, Huntsville, New Orleans, Indianapolis and San Francisco, among others, as well as a two-year project to strengthen the Cuban music industry through UNIDO (United Nations Industrial Development Organization). She also led the delivery of an analysis of 10 Latin American music markets for the Canadian Independent Music Association, coordinating a team of researchers in every country. And she led the development of a methodology to determine in a measurable way the public value that events bring to cities for the Barcelona City Council. In 2020, she established the firm’s quality assurance division and now oversees all project deliverables in over 20 countries, for 30 clients. Azucena holds two MA’s from the University of Barcelona, one in Cultural Management and one in Cultural Production and Communication, for which she has written a thesis on the social impact of music in cities. She is currently coordinating a course on creative city policies at the Global Leaders Institute MBA for the Arts. She is also a guest lecturer at Universitat Blanquerna (Barcelona), Berklee College of Music and International Music Business School.

Beatriz Garcia

Dr Beatriz Garcia is an expert in international cultural policy and mega-events, specialising in the development of multidimensional research and evaluation frameworks and the analysis of long term event legacies. She is Associate Director of the Centre for Cultural Value (CCV, University of Leeds), member of the Culture & Olympic Heritage Commission (International Olympic Committee), and former member of the European Capital of Culture (ECoC) Selection Panel – nominated by the European Commission. Beatriz has been at the forefront of research on the rhetoric, impact and long-term legacy of culture-led regeneration interventions since 1999, conducting fieldwork on the cultural dimension of every edition of the Olympic Games since Sydney 2000 and researching the medium to long-term legacy of every European Capital of Culture since the programme’s launch in 1985. She directed and is the author, amongst others, of Impacts 08: European Capital of Culture Research Programme (Uni. Liverpool, 2005-2010), the 30-year assessment of European Capitals of Culture Programme, Success Factors (European Parliament, 2013), the International framework of good practice in research and delivery of ECoCs (European Commission, 2010) and the Evaluation of the London 2012 Cultural Olympiad (Institute of Cultural Capital, 2013).

Boyan Pinter

Boyan Pinter (nee Boiadjiev) is the A&R and Label Manager with Believe Music for Bulgaria. He is the founder and director of SPIKE Bulgarian Music Showcase, Bulgaria’s premier conference and showcase event. Boyan is part of the Green Futures Field production and booking team where he has introduced many artists from Eastern Europe and the Baltics. As of 2017 Boyan is an independent promoter, working under the brands Blue Hills Events and PanHarmony. Previously he was the production specialist for Sofia Music Enterprises (partner to Live Nation CEE) and artist liaison for Lotus Festival in Bloomington, Indiana. Boyan is a dual citizen – of Bulgaria and the United States. He holds Bachelor’s degrees in Spanish and French literature from UH Texas, a Master’s in Arts Administration from Indiana University, and most recently a Postgraduate Diploma in Law from BPP University. He also plays guitar on the weekends.

Duygu Mühürdar

With degrees in Ethnomusicology and International Relations and over 7 years in the Music Industry, Duygu Mühürdar worked as a booker, programmer, promoter, live event producer, music writer, and singer. Beginning music with violin, she completed Bahçeşehir University’s Jazz Academy and studied jazz history in the Netherlands during her exchange year. For 3 years, she produced and hosted a radio show, writing for Jazz Magazine among others. Roles at Karnaval Media Group, Beşiktaş Kültür Merkezi, and Zorlu Performing Arts Center followed, where she worked as Booker/Programmer. Notable achievements include programmings of Digilogue Summit 2022, Sónar Istanbul and Sónar +D 2023, MIX Festival 2023, and bookings of various artists from IDLES, Röyksopp, Moderat, Ludovico Einaudi to Baxter Dury. Currently, she is a booker in Pozitif and she continues as an Ethnomusicologist and Booking Agent, representing a dynamic local and international roster whilst working on cultural diplomacy and music export.

Ed Walsh

Ed Walsh is the Global Head of Sales for Easol. As a festival promoter Ed was one of the original team at NVS Music that organised Outlook & Dimensions Festival in Fort Punta Christo, Pula, Croatia. He later worked for UK festival and venue promoter Broadwick Live as Head of Sales. Since 2017 Ed has been working within the ticketing industry and has held various commercial roles with companies expanding their footprint into the UK and Europe. He comes with wealth of experience in the challenges facing event organisers and how to help maximise technology to grow their business.

Eric Ritz

Eric Ritz is the Founder and Executive Director of Global Inheritance, a 501c3 non-profit organization that develops interactive experiences to engage audiences at live events, cities, and school campuses. Eric has produced over 400 original environmental programs over the past two decades at major events & venues, including the Super Bowl, Outside Lands, Governors Ball, Electric Daisy Carnival, Lollapalooza, ESPN X Games, Stagecoach Music Festival, Hollywood Bowl and others. Eric's work includes managing a 20-year partnership with the Coachella Music & Arts Festival, where Global Inheritance designs and produces the festival's environmental programming each year. Global Inheritance also works with a large number of universities, schools, and companies to bring creative sustainability programming to their events and communities. In addition to leading Global Inheritance, Eric is a consultant for global brands, city governments, and NGOs seeking to develop actionable strategies for inspiring stakeholders to create a sustainable future.

Gwendolenn Sharp

Gwendolenn Sharp is the founder of The Green Room (2016), a non-profit organisation developing strategies for environmental and social change in the music sector and conducting context-based research on the topic. Author, lecturer, regular jury member. She has worked with cultural institutions, festivals and environmental NGOs in Poland, France and Tunisia and has diverse experience in project design, international cooperation and developing tailor-made tools. Gwendolenn is a Keychange alumni (2022) and a Villa Albertine Resident (2023), running a research-action on low-carbon touring and sustainability in the US.

Lisa Nasta

Lisa Nasta is a seasoned event manager and programmer. She also coordinates music educational programs and is the Director of the Re-Play Music C.I.C; a non-profit community project that donates musical instruments, educates and entertains children, and is a permanent fixture at Kidz Field, Glastonbury Festival. The Re-Play Music Project has won two Music Industry Awards for “Environmental Initiative & Sustainability” from the Music Industry Association of Britain (MIA) & America (NAMM). Lisa is currently an area coordinator & production manager for Glastonbury Festival’s Green Futures Field and does programming and production for several other festivals.

Lutz Leichsenring

Lutz Leichsenring is a prominent figure in the global nightlife scene, widely known for his advocacy work towards promoting a thriving and sustainable nightlife culture. He currently serves as executive board member of Clubcommission Berlin, an organization that represents over 350 clubs, promoters and cultural institutions in the German capital. As the co-founder of VibeLab, a consultancy agency Lutz seeks to develop innovative solutions for the challenges facing the nighttime economy. VibeLab is advising and researching nightlife and is the publisher of the cultural impact study "Creative Footprint", works globally with institutions like UN-Habitat and World Cities Culture Forum (WCCF) and developed the grassroots peer-to-peer learning "Night School", funded by the European Union. Lutz is also a Board Member of Berlin's Musicboard and Chamber of Commerce as well as consultant for Clubcommission Vienna. During the Covid-19 crisis, Lutz also initiated "United We Stream", a global music streaming platform and donation campaign to create awareness about club culture affected by the epidemic, and to support nighttime governance. In May 2023 Lutz was recognized as one of the „100 most important minds of Berlin’s economy“ by "Tagesspiegel" and received the "Ambassador of the Night Award" of NTIA United Kingdom in 2024.

Marta Pallarès

Marta Pallarès is Head of Press at Primavera Sound Festival in Barcelona. She is a music journalist with a master's degree in cultural journalism, and after several years in Mexico City and the successful implementation of the Primavera Sound live stream with Red Bull TV, Palares tоок over the international communications for the event. She is responsible for the event's international communication strategy, relations with media partners and journalists, as well as coordinating the work of foreign PR agencies taking care of the festival. Marta is the company's official spokesperson for initiatives such as the event's pioneering commitment to gender balance on stage. Since 2019, she coordinates the partnership with the UN campaign for sustainable development goals. Palares also won the Excellence Award (for personality) at the Iberian Festivals 2024, a distinction awarded by a jury of Spanish and Portuguese festival professionals. She is also one of the board members of YOUROPE, the European Festival Association, which represents 122 festivals and associate members from 30 European countries.

Nika Milunovic

As an Event & Project Manager at MetalDays festival, the biggest music festival in Slovenia, I am responsible for the organization and promotion of this annual event for over nine years. I have applied my skills and knowledge in event management, project management, live event production, and marketing, to create memorable experiences for thousands of music fans, artists, and partners. I have also been committed to the vision of making MetalDays a sustainable, low-carbon, zero-waste event, and have received the A Greener Festival Award for our efforts. I am also EU Climate Pact ambassador for Austria. In June 2023, I co-founded Heavy Harmony retreat, the first ever retreat dedicated fully to musicians and music industry professionals on the island of Zanzibar. With a focus on activities that can help individuals develop present-moment awareness, reduce anxiety, improve focus, and cultivate a sense of inner peace, Heavy Harmony retreat aims to promote the mental health and wellbeing of our industry, which has suffered greatly from the effects of the pandemic, the fast-paced life, and the isolation caused by technology. As a co-founder, I am responsible for the event and sustainability management, as well as the facilitation of yoga, meditation, breathwork, and horticultural therapy sessions. I am passionate about sharing my expertise and experience in these fields, as I am a certified Yoga RYT500 & Therapeutic yoga teacher, Meditation and Breathwork teacher, and have a certificate in Horticultural Therapy.

Nikki McNeil

With over 25 years of music industry experience, Nikki founded Global Publicity in 2007, specialising in worldwide PR and communications for music, festivals and events. Nikki is passionate about the global music scene and only works with clients she truly believe in, giving her an authentic voice that rises above the rest. Nikki is also an active and respected member of the music industry community being on the Executive Board for the Association of Electronic Music and working with the Night Time Industries Association. In addition Nikki regularly contributes to music industry conferences around the globe as well as supporting women and gender minorities in the music industry, being part of the community and running the Brighton chapter as well as sitting on the advisory boards for Moving The Needle and NOWIE.

Spiros Pengas

Spiros Pengas has served as Deputy Mayor for Tourism and International Relations of Thessaloniki from 2010 to 2019. During his leadership, he helped change the cultural and tourism profile of Thessaloniki, turning it into a cosmopolitan, multicultural destination that is more open to the world. Under his tenure, the city hosted a number of international events, including the "15th Mediterranean Biennale of Young Artists" and Womex (World Music Expo). He implemented innovative actions and programs embraced by residents and visitors of the city, such as the ‘Thessaloniki Food Festival’, the children’s sleepover events in museums, and the renovation of children's libraries, in collaboration with the Stavros Niarchos Foundation. Finally, he has been founding and board member of Thessaloniki Convention Bureau, member of the Βoard of Thessaloniki Tourism Organization, of ‘The Museum of Contemporary Art’ and of ‘Thessaloniki Film Festival’. Since September 2019 Spiros is the Founder and CEO of Wise Ram SA, a company that activates tourism and hospitality growth. He has signed contracts with various Municipalities in northern Greece in order to promote the cities and the regions abroad. He has been assigned as a consultant to various private entities, tech-companies, commercial malls and investors. He has been teaching Destination Marketing at the American College Thessaloniki (ACT). Today, he is also a member of the city council of Thessaloniki.

Veronika Vajda

Veronika Vajda is a project manager at the Budapest based music hub, Hangvető. She graduated as an ethnomusicologist with an interest in the music cultures of Central Eastern Europe and the South Caucasus. Since joining Hangvető’s team, she has worked as a project manager on large-scale international projects supported by Creative Europe such as MOST - The Bridge for Balkan Music and UPBEAT - The European Showcase Platform for World Music. Veronika was also the member of the production team behind BALKAN:MOST festival in Veszprém, European Capital of Culture 2023. The common mission of these projects is the support and capacity building of emerging artists active in the world and folk music scene.

Jelle Stragier

I’ve always been fond of music and letting people dance. Started DJ’ing at the age of 11 with some 70-80’s music at new years eve for the family. Growing up I enrolled in different styles of music and discovered the love for vinyl. As a youngster I volunteered in the youth club in my hometown where we organised lots of parties and even organised a small pop-music festival (which is now still going strong). As my musical taste developed more into world music and global sounds I founded the Kokopelli World Festival (Belgium) with some friends in 2006. I’ve been the head-programmer for 16 years and combined that with the role as director for 7 years. In corona I started a new DJ-project with a friend under the name Kokonuts!. We bring ‘Global Sounds Nuttiness’ to dancefloors and occasional radioshows all over Belgium.

Anca Lupes

Anca Lupes is one of the most experienced professionals in the Romanian music business. One of her most important advantages is that during her career she works in almost all the areas of this industry: mass media (press, radio, TV), concert organising, record companies, music publishing, management and booking agencies. Due to her extensive experience, in 2006 she starts teaching music business in Romania. In 2009 she becomes the first Romanian music business professional to graduate the Master in Music Business program from Berkelee College of Music (Boston, USA). In 2016 she founds the first international music business conference in Romania – Mastering The Music Business conference & showcase festival - which quickly becomes a relevant professional event in the CSEE area. She is the pioneer of music business education in Romania. Currently she is President of RAW Music (the main organiser of Mastering the Music Business and Romania´s official music export office) and Executive Director of INDIERO (the Romanian indie labels & music publishers association, affiliated to IMPALA and WIN).

Ben Mandelson

Musician, Producer, Founding Director of WOMEX [], and Supervisory Board member for parent company Piranha Arts, Berlin, Germany. WOMEX is the world’s biggest professional music conference, tradefair and showcase for World, Roots, Folk, Traditional, Local and Diaspora music - an annual October-end Europe-based event. This year Manchester, UK 23 - 27 Oct 2024, see you there!!!

George Perot

Involved for more than two decades in different fields and positions of the Music ecosystem (Co-Founder of Kosmos Radio 93.6, e-Terra Records and Van Dog Events), Georges has produced dozens of special events (for TV shows, Music Awards, Olympic Games) and has participated in numerous European Music Projects (JUMP- European Music Market Accelerator, NIMPE, EURICCA, European Live Music Association). He is the Founder and National Coordinator of the “European Music Day” organizers network, the Founder and Artistic Director of the Athens Music Week, the co-founder of Music Tech Europe Organisation and the President of the European Music Day Association. Since 2019, he is running the initiative HEMI –Hub for the Exchange of Music Innovation as a Project Coordinator on behalf of Technopolis City of Athens and he is a partner of the newly born project Music Tech Europe Academy.

Patryk Galuszka

Dr Patryk Galuszka is an associate professor at the Faculty of Economics and Sociology at the University of Lodz, Poland. He investigates showcase festivals and expects to publish an academic book about them sometime in 2025. He has edited/co-authored three books: “Made in Poland: Studies in Popular Music” (Routledge, 2020), “Eastern European Music Industries and Policies after the Fall of Communism” (Routledge, 2021), and “Crowdfunding and Independence in Film and Music” (Routledge, 2021). He is an expert on the music industries, with knowledge of economic and legal issues relevant to music scene participants.

Anna Dupák

Anna Dupák has worked as a project manager on the cultural and educational fields in the past 10 years. With a background in intercultural and educational studies, she worked in the NGO and private sectors, coordinating international and local projects where she gained solid experience in communication and event management as well. Her involvement in the music and festival industry started with being an enthusiastic festival visitor which later led her joining the organizing teams of independent music and film festivals in Hungary. She joined Hangvető in 2023 where she is responsible for the communication of large-scale European projects, such as UPBEAT - The European Showcase Platform for World Music.

Eszter Barna

Sociologist with experience in working in the music industry, project management, and the non-governmental field as I was an Erasmus+/European Solidarity Corps activity coordinator. Currently working at Hangvető as a project manager of Creative Europe tenders.

Stefanie Schumann

Stefanie Schumann is the founder of the artist management and booking agency Delicious Tunes based in Munich Germany. Delicious Tunes is specialized in working with artists from the African continent in the genres of Jazz, Pop, Soul, Afrobeats and Fusion. For Stefanie the most exciting aspect is the development an artist career where she shapes the talent and creativity into a whole package. Music from Africa has stolen her heart and her goal is to bring the beauty to the world.

Kerstin A. Wahlberg

Kerstin A. Wahlberg, known as “Keti,” is a Norwegian diplomat currently working at the Norwegian Embassy in Bucharest. Her main responsibilities include overseeing the EEA & Norway Grants and promoting Norwegian culture in Romania, Bulgaria, and Moldova. She has volunteered for Oslo World for over 20 years, primarily serving as a venue host and artist liaison. In her alter ego as DJ Keti Lula Baluba, she has been a music selector, DJing at clubs and festivals in Norway and beyond for many years, with a special love for Balkan music, Afrobeats and Punk.

Misa Relic

Misa Relic is founder of Bitef Art Cafe music club, Musicology festival and Musicology sessions. Being one of those people who shaped the cultural scene of Belgrade in the past 20 years, he also founded Enso – a Michelin guided restaurant in Serbia's capital.

Pete Dyson

Pete is a UK lawyer and a Professor at Berklee College of Music (Valencia campus). In his work as a lawyer he has advised clients throughout the entertainment industry including artists, songwriters, record companies, artist managers, producers, and tech start ups. As an accomplished music industry educator, he has an outstanding 20 year track record in teaching and mentoring students at graduate and postgraduate level. He has created and taught courses in Music Publishing, Record Company Operations, Artist Management, A&R, Emerging Music Markets and Globalisation, Copyright and Contract Management, and Music Supervision. Pete's extensive music business experience and first class industry connections have resulted in him being recruited as a consultant for a wide range of companies around the world including Netflix and JKBX.

Alf Olofsson

My life in the music business began as a bass player in a punk band then developed into tour managing, label owner, management, consultant to various government organizations for strategy and branding through music, as well as producing live music events and festivals around the world. I was born in Sweden and have been based in Stockholm, London, Paris and Valencia for large parts of my career, giving me solid insight into the European music business. My focus on music export and event building have also established networks in Japan, China, India, North America, South America, Europe, and Russia. A few of the organizations that I have worked with include: ExMS-Export Music Sweden, SI-Swedish Institute, UD-Swedish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and Canadian Heritage. For the last 8 years I have added education and mentorship as a focus working with the Berklee College of Music in Valencia and the Royal College of Music in Stockholm.

Aniela Ruseva

I have a Law degree but I am an entrepreneur by heart. I am interested in Marketing, Sales, Investment, Managing, Negotiations, Outsourcing, Startups, High-Tech and IT, Software, Real Estate, New Ventures so I work in these areas. One of my company’s current projects is Webit Congress – for CEEMEA in Istanbul, Turkey. Webit is a truly international being the only event for the digital, technology and entrepreneurship ecosystem of Central-eastern Europe, Middle East and Africa. Last Webit in Sofia for CEE gathered together 5300 visitors from 45 counties. Our know-how is creating culturally connected business environments where professionals from CEEMEA who are very unlikely to meet at any other industry event gather together to exchange knowledge and meet with the rest of the world. In other words if you target the markets from CEEMEA – Webit is the only place you may meet all the top players in one spot. I am client service director in one of Bulgaria largest new media agencies – I am also Event director of e-Academy – a professional qualification training center for digital studies. e-Academy provides an unique platform for the market players of the digital and internet markets of Centra and Eastern Europe and MEA to exchange ideas and business expertise and possibilities and also for the rest of the world to enter the regional digital markets, to find partners and explore new business options.

Csaba Mata

Csaba started his career as an organizer in the Budapest underground (ZöFi, Recycle Mission Hungary). He organized flash mobs and Sziget Green Yard and recycled bicycle parts. Then in 2010 he moved to Pecs to experience what it's like to live in the European capital of culture. As a member of the Labor team, he launched the first Hungarian space for cyclists, Velosophie. Then, in 2012, he joined the organizing team of the OZORA festival. The owner entrusted him with managing the Magic Garden program division, which was considered completely new in the life of the festival at that time. Since then, the world of movement, healing, lectures and workshops has become a definitive part of the festival. In 2015, he accepted a new challenge and joined the launch of the Szabadkikötő Cultural Center. Since then he has been working as a promoter. In addition to OZORA and Szabadkikötő, he also participated in several international projects. He currently lives in a small village near Pecs with his wife and two sons.

Elena Lilova

Elena Lilova is a bachelor in sociology from Sofia University St. Kliment Ohridski. She is a senior researcher at Alpha Research Ltd with more than 12 years of research experience, specializing in the fields of institutional studies, educational and cultural policy and practices. Some of the research projects she has worked on include: Monitoring of the events in the Calendar of cultural events of Sofia Municipality (2013-2019); Reading practices in Bulgaria (2014,2021); Socio-economic profile and potential for the development of “Kvartala” (The Neighborhood) as a creative zone in Sofia (2018); Assessment of the economic effect of the A to Jazz festival (2023)

Ivan Valkov

It all began in the early 1980’s in Sofia, Bulgaria, when a group of friends started a rock band. We created songs which the official censorship didn’t allow to be broadcast – we were in the Soviet block at the time. Then we decided to create our own recording studio – Dilemma Studio – in order to work independently. This was also forbidden at the time, but we managed to outsmart the regime. We’ll gladly explain how we did that to anyone who asks. By the end of the decade, we began promoting international artists in Bulgaria and started working on creating arEst workshops and our first themed festivals. Among these were the Computer Space Forum, Festival of Electronic Music and Lovech Rock Fest. As the business transitioned more and more into live performances during the late nineties and early aughts, we began focusing more on promoting concerts. Among the artists we’ve had the pleasure to work with were Manu Chao, Fun Lovin’ Criminals, Asian Dub Foundation, Thievery CorporaEon, Soulfly, Laibach, Public Enemy and many others. In 2008, DS Music became the founding partner in the creation of the largest festival in Bulgaria by that time – Spirit of Burgas – with The Prodigy, Moby, Faith No More, Skunk Anansie, DeXones and many others gracing the stages of the festival during the years we were the core promoting team.

Velislava Popova

Velislava Popova is a journalist. She believes in journalism and she still believes in the opportunity to do responsible, trustworthy and quality journalism in Bulgaria. Velislava Popova is Editor-in-chief of Dnevnik since November 2008. She is responsible not only for the content and the team, but for restructuring during the crises (2009-2010) and integration of print and online operations. Popova is responsible also for the strategy and development of the product, building audience, marketing & HR tasks. Popova was Marketing director of Economedia. She created the department and started to develop the marketing & communication strategy of the company in October 2004. Her professional CV includes more than six years as a reporter and editor in "Capital" weekly (1998-2004).

Simeon Vasilev

Simeon Vasilev has over 16 years professional experience in diverse areas, related to the the non-governmental and media sector. He is the Chairman and co-founder of GLAS Foundation, leader of Credo Bonum Foundation and gallery projects and part of Sofia Pride. Simeon is also an innovator and creator of the mobile application Healthy and the online publications Simeon has worked as editor-in-chief of the monthly music magazine DJ Mag Bulgaria. Simeon holds a degree in Public Relations from Sofia University "St. Kliment Ohridski".

Balazs Weyer

Ethnomusicologist and director of Hangveto, a world music production company in Hungary and the larger region. He is curating several festivals, including Budapest Ritmo. He is the artistic director of Creative Europe project ‘MOST’ and is representing the city of Veszprem in the UNESCO Cities of Music network. He is a curator of several festivals and showcases and a member of the World Music Charts Europe jury. He is also a producer and music consultant of movie and TV soundtracks, a documentary maker, a music journalist and the chairman of Music Hungary, the music industry association of his homeland. He is a European Capitals of Culture consultant for cities on cultural development projects.

Margarita Borisova

Margarita Borisova is a freelance music journalist based in Sofia and a coordinator in many musical projects, a long term PR of Jazz Plus Concerts(since 2004) and an owner and music consultant in the oldest record shop in Sofia - “Dukyan Meloman”(since 1994) focused in retailing and distributing the production of the European independent labels like ECM, Act, Enja, World Circuit, Karonte, Wagram Together with Yavor Ganchev Margarita Borisova has conceptualised and put on stage three crossover projects: Estruna - Arcángel and New Bulgarian Voices, a Latin Grammy winner 2018, the guitar duo The Storytellers: Cenk Erdogan and Antonio Forcione and Roberto Fonseca and New Bulgarian Voices. She has been a jury at the Jazz Eñe Festival 2017 in Madrid, Spain had a radio show at RFI Sofia and a weekly jazz review column in the period 2000-2010.

Iva Taralezhkova

Iva Taralezhkova is a founder and Board Chair of the Devetaki Plateau Association. The organization works for the enlivening and sustainable development of nine villages in a rural area in the Central Northern Bulgaria. Among their various activities aimed at improving the cultural, social, and economic environment in the region, Iva and the Association organize the Jazz Under the Stars of The Devetaki Plateau festival. This is an unusual three – day event held on a meadow between two villages, far from the classical city clubs and big stages. It unites high quality musicians who perform in different formats and constellations, often to create unique melodies that are seldom or never to be repeated. Iva is the founder and the manager of the festival whose tenth edition is in the end of June 2024.

Veronika Vapirova

Veronika Vapirova is a co-organizer of International Jazz Festival. She is also a multidisciplinary artist in fashion, stage design and performing arts. Daughter of famous jazz musician and composer- Anatoly Vapirov and mother director and music selector and connoisseur-Zoya Vapirova, in the early 80's Veronika was born and raised in St. Petersburg, Russia. Since then, regardless of the different artistic fields she aspires to and develops in, Veronika grew up from an early age backstage and on stage, at jazz festivals and various cultural events. Her father founded the International Jazz Festival "Varna Summer" one of several in the world "Avant-Garde" jazz festivals, and for 33 years, he continued to be its artistic director. Today, with over 20 years of experience in the fashion industry, event and stage design, visual and performing arts, Veronika has dedicated herself to the mission of helping her father Anatoly Vapirov, to continue developing the International Jazz Festival – Varna Summer in Varna, Bulgaria.

Justin Turford

Justin Turford is a producer, stage manager, events facilitator, copywriter, artist, musician & DJ. Recent copywriting clients - Songlines Magazine, Wax Poetics, Acid Jazz Records, Tangential Music, The National Trust, The University of Southampton, Joff & Ollie, Lane, Fruit Market.

Miroslava Katsarova

Miroslava Katsarova, organizer and program director of the boutique Plovdiv Jazz Fest. In addition to authoring and hosting two radio shows on JAZZ FM since its inception, she is also a jazz singer with three solo albums. A life completely devoted to music.

Nick Todorov

Nick Todorov is one of the most experienced promoters and organizers on Bulgarian music stage. He started at 16 years with his first concert in Varna in 1991. Nick has organized a lot of events as fashion shows, graffiti festivals, street and urban festivals, music concerts, promo events etc. all over Bulgaria. In the last years, his name is connected with the biggest Bulgarian music events as Spirit of Burgas (2009 – 2015), Hills of Rock (2017-2022), Spice Music Festival (2019 – 2022), Street Food Fest (2018 – 2022), ARTE Feastival (2021 +). Nick Todorov is 45 years old, lives in Varna. He likes to travel all around the world, likes to cook, good food and wines. “Good music and good people are everywhere” he thinks.

Iliana Shtereva-Ivanova

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