gf awards



Each year, globalFEST presents a series of awards that celebrate those that excel in the small but crucial global music field in the USA, too often with little recognition. 

The annual awards are presented to artists, professionals, and organizations in the performing arts industry who have been instrumental in making significant, longstanding contributions to the landscape in the States through: risk taking; addressing cultural diversity and diplomacy; activism; helping to keep, transmit, and extend the world’s ancient traditions; commitment to working with local communities; and making a difference to the greater American performing arts landscape as well as other areas.

Through an open nomination process, performing arts professionals and artists can nominate colleagues, organizations, and artists/groups who meet the award criteria. A jury decides on the final recipients.

The TROUBLE WORLDWIDE AWARD (given posthumously in 2018 to Alexandra Nova, for whom it was named) is presented to an industry professional who exemplifies Alex’s spirit, which was artist-centered, innovative, risk-taking, and generous. The ARTIST AWARD for sustained achievement is presented to an artist or group who has made an indelible mark with their music and message; The IMPACT AWARD is presented to an artist, group or professional, or organization for their outstanding commitment to the field.

The awards aim to promote the global music field as a whole, and to highlight the significance of extraordinary work being done each and every day, season by season, show by show. It also hopes to encourage future generations of artists and arts leaders who will improve upon, develop, and grow cultural programming in the United States.

globalFEST believes that music can be a driving force toward a society that values cultural diversity as a source of unity rather than division. By moving international music to the center of the performing arts field, globalFEST fosters a robust and sustainable ecosystem for world music in the U.S. globalFEST’s programs catalyze creative and artistic networks that break down cultural and social boundaries to support and share the world’s music through performance, touring, and media. This award is aligned with this mission.

Trouble Worldwide Award
This award goes to a non-performing professional living or working substantially in the US who has made an indisputable impact on the global music field through risk taking, innovation and tireless commitment.

Named after Alex Nova, who through her tireless, joyful efforts on behalf of bringing people together through music left an indelible mark on the global music field. Her huge open heart will be missed beyond words, and this annual award in her honor and memory will help us always remember what a force she was.

Artist Award
This award for sustained achievement will go to an artist or group living or working substantially in the US who has made a lasting impression with their music in the US, their homeland or around the world. Whether through innovation, activism, dynamism, or commitment to preparing the next generation, this award acknowledges the impact artists have at home and abroad.

Impact Award
This award goes to a professional (artist, group, organization, theater/venue/festival or any member of the world music community) living or working substantially in the US at any stage in their career, who has earned respect and praise from the global music community for their outstanding commitment to the field.

Pioneer Award
The Pioneer Award goes to a member of the world music community (including performing arts professionals, artists, groups, organizations, or theater/venue/festival) living or working substantially in the US who is considered a pioneer or elder whose work has been deeply felt and has had a significant impact in the field.


Nominees will be accepted between October 6 and November 12, 2021. Current, past, or retired artists and professionals in the performing arts, recorded music, media and related fields can submit up to three nominations per category, providing each nomination is complete (incomplete nominations WERE NOT considered).

You can nominate yourself if you fit the criteria. Nominees need to be appropriate for the category in which you are applying.

An awards committee will select the honorees.

2021 globalFEST Awards Winners

  • Ismael Ahmed (Pioneer Award)
  • Serdar Ilhan and Mehmet Dede, DROM NYC (Impact Award)
  • Meklit (Artist Award)
  • Alison Loerke (Trouble Worldwide Award)
2020 Award Recipients
  • Lisa Stafford (Trouble Worldwide Award)
  • Tom Schnabel (Impact Award)
  • Kayhan Kalhor (Artist Award)

2019 Award Recipients

  • Matthew Covey and Tamizdat (Trouble Worldwide Award)
  • Leigh Ann Hahn (Impact Award)
  • Mighty Sparrow / Slinger Francisco (Artist Award)
  • Lee Williams (Pioneer Award)

2018 Award Recipients

  • Alexandra Nova (Trouble Worldwide Award)
  • Michael Orlove (Impact Award)
  • Thomas Mapfumo (Artist Award)

These annual awards aim to raise awareness about the pioneers and risk-takers as well as the next generations’ stewards and innovators of our beloved yet under the radar field that are nominated within and by the community itself.

Current, past or retired artists and professionals in the performing arts, recorded music, media and related fields can submit up to two nominations per category providing each nomination is complete (incomplete nominations will not be considered). You can nominate yourself if you fit this criteria. Nominees must be appropriate for the category in which they are applying, so please follow the directions carefully.

Award Committee
Initial nominations will be narrowed to a shortlist of 10 nominees by globalFEST. An awards committee will be brought together from a broad cross-section of professionals and artists in the field and will be the sole deciders on the final awardees.

globalFEST presents 4 awards to honor the global music movers and shakers that bring the world's sounds to the United States!

Nomination period:
October 6 - November 12
Eligibility & Criteria

Nominees will have made significant contributions to the United States’ world music ecosystem from artists to industry. You must be able to articulate why you believe your nominees are deserving of this award by explaining their contributions through their actions and accomplishments so the award committee can see how significant their work has been. You cannot nominate the same person for more than one award. All nominees must be living or working substantially in the United States, either currently or during a substantial portion of their career.

Eligible nominees and nominators may fall into some of the following categories:

- Performing Artists
- Touring Artists
- Composers
- Producers
- Media / Press / Journalists / Critics 
- Academics
- Agents / Managers
- Curators / Artistic Directors / Programmers
- Performing Arts Centers / Presenting Organizations
- Theaters / Venues / Festivals
- Community Organizations
- Philanthropists and Funding Entities 
- Festivals 
- Advocates
- Record Labels
- DJs 

Please put effort into making a real case for your nominations and why they should be considered. The jury will discuss and vote based on the information you provide. Nominees must be made online through this form (link HERE). Incomplete submissions will not be considered. Each professional and/or artist (see above) may submit up to two nominees per appropriate category. You cannot nominate the same person for more than one award category. We will not accept anonymous submissions however your name will not be released to the award committee.