UPBEAT strengthens the industry ethos of sustainability
via its Future Festival Award.

UPBEAT created the Future Festival Award to strengthen the industry ethos of sustainability. The prize is handed to festivals rooted in heritage, seizing the present while not burdening the future, in alignment with UPBEAT’s criteria. This year  IMATERIAL of Évora, Portugal was collectively deemed the best representative of UPBEAT’s mission, while boasting a fabulously rich program.

A jury of industry experts: Martyna van Nieuwland – UPBEAT’s sustainability specialist; Alex Walter – WOMEX; Balázs Weyer – Hangvető/ UPBEAT / Budapest Ritmo; Ian Smith – Waves Vienna; Oriol Roca – Mercat de Música Viva de Vic selects nominees, while UPBEAT members can each cast a vote to choose the winner. Festivals based in Europe, with no more than 5 editions, actively working on reducing carbon emissions and engaging with our shared heritage may be nominated for the award. 

The winner receives accreditation to WOMEX with additional travel and accommodation support and also delegate registration for 2 more UPBEAT partner festivals of choice. By winning the award, Festival IMATERIAL also joins UPBEAT network as an associate partner.





IMATERIAL celebrates our shared heritage: music, stories, images, the tangible and intangible treasures humans recognize themselves in, all across the globe. In its three past editions, Évora proved to have the perfect scale to host IMATERIAL’s encounters: music as a collective sharing, stories as narratives that come out of the songs and extend beyond the stages, singing as an extension of the dining table, the streets as natural places for music to be heard and to mingle with the city sounds. IMATERIAL’s mission is to generate new ways of thinking about ourselves as a collective through these encounters – because there are no thoughts without listening.

IMATERIAL conveys the depths of heritage in an inspiring and hands-on manner, with flamenco, Kurdish songs and Greek electronica thrive side-by-side, concerts set in the city’s opera hall and visits to archeological sites vie for visitors’ attention. IMATERIAL manifests the UPBEAT mission in its programming, production and spirit. The Future Festival Award will raise IMATERIAL’s visibility and connectedness in the European festival scene, setting a positive example for other actors to follow. 


I Land Sound


I Land Sound ties together beautiful nature, music, art, beautiful people and all the best that Estonian summer has to offer. The concept of time is insignificant on illiku islet, in Saaremaa. You experience the awakening. This islet belongs equally to plants, animals and humans. You are defined by the size of your soul. Us islanders, we stick close together and this feeling passes on to I Land Sound too. A powerful force created by the pioneers of nightlife, artists and the local community. Four unique days and one unforgettable memory. 

Pocket Globe World Music Festival


Born part of Novi Sad – European Capital of Culture title year in 2022, this young festival sees its second edition in 2023. Enriching the city’s cultural palette with artists like Bombino, Nogaband, Stefano Saletti & Piccola Banda Ikona, Tapan, Jasna Jovićević, and Iva Bittova & Vladimir Vaclavek, Pocket Globe is a continuation of the concert series of the same name, which has been held since 2019. It brings a lineup both global and deeply rooted in the region, filling Novi Sad’s brand new and revived venues, such as its bedazzling Synagogue. Lectures and workshops complete the programme, making for an immersive experience.

Ruhnu Island Violin Festival


Ruhnu Island Violin Festival in Estonia was born out of love for a small community on an 11 km2 island in the Baltic sea. The unique cultural background that this island hosted for centuries changed drastically in 1944 when a refugee boat took passengers escaping the war and soviet forces to Sweden.  Ruhnu Violin Festival celebrates and revives the lost traditions and music of Ruhnu island, but not only. It is a place in time and space where traditional violin playing is honored from across cultural borders to teach each other to enjoy music in its purest form, often on stages built by nature itself.