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Eurosonic Noorderslag 2018 goes down a storm

More than 4,000 delegates made the traditional pilgrimage to Groningen last week for another varied and healthily attended ESNS

By IQ on 22 Jan 2018

Tamino performs at the Stadsschouwburg

Tamino performs at the Stadsschouwburg

image © Bart Heemskerk

Despite the best efforts of Storm Friederike, whose 125mph winds grounded flights at Amsterdam’s Schipol airport and forced the cancellation of Groningen-bound trains on Thursday, Eurosonic Noorderslag (ESNS) 2018 marked another successful year for the long-running Dutch conference and showcase festival.

More than 300 European acts – 22 of them from focus country Denmark – performed across the three days of 17–19 January, while 4,092 delegates from 42 countries participated in the conference programme, the highlights of which included panels on the ‘gender gap’, Brexit, mental health, the festival market and secondary ticketing; keynotes from agent Emma Banks, manager Paul Craig, ESNS founder Peter Smidt, Ticketmaster head of music David Marcus and promoter Harvey Goldsmith; and the traditional European Border Breakers Awards (EBBA) and European Festival Awards on Wednesday night.

EPIC (the European Production Innovation Conference), meanwhile, tackled topics such as safety, sustainability, volunteering and event technology, while Buma Music Meets Tech focused on blockchain, streaming services, bots and other technological innovations.

4,092 delegates from 42 countries participated in the conference programme

ESNS 2018 kicked off with the EBBAs, hosted by Jools Holland and recognising ten European acts who “broke borders” with their music over the past 12 months. The head of Creative Europe, Barbara Gessler, handed out the public choice award to the Bulgarian singer Kristian Kostov, with other winners including Germany’s Alice Merton, Finland’s Alma, the UK’s Youngr and Norway’s Sigrid.

Playing across ESNS’s 62 venues were 352 acts vying for success in the European Talent Exchange Programme (ETEP), whose member festivals presented their first selection of acts booked for the summer ahead. The most-booked were IAMDDB (UK), Zeal & Ardor (Ch), Meute (De), Superorganism (UK), Jacob Banks (UK), Tamino (Be), Agar Agar (Fr) and Altin Gun (NL).

In total, 40,288 people attended the event, while many more listened on the radio, including to 41 hours’ worth of live broadcasts.

ESNS will return on 16–19 January 2019.


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