The latest industry news to your inbox.


I'd like to hear about marketing opportunities


I accept IQ Magazine's Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy


All-digital ESNS 2021 attracts 4,000 visitors

Eurosonic Noorderslag's first all-online conference beat expectations and earned positive feedback from delegates, organisers report

By IQ on 20 Jan 2021

Dutch artist Blackbird performs in one of ESNS 2021's digital showcases

Dutch artist Blackbird performs in one of the digital showcases

image © NPO 3FM/Ben Houdijk

The first edition of Eurosonic Noorderslag (ESNS) to be held entirely online “exceeded all expectations”, say organisers, welcoming nearly 4,000 people from 124 countries to its digital conference and festival platforms.

ESNS 2021 – originally announced as a hybrid event, retaining an in-person component in Groningen, but later forced fully online – took place from 13–16 January, marking  the 35th edition of the Dutch conference and showcase festival.

“We are truly overwhelmed by the positive feedback, with many saying a new standard has been set, which is amazing,” says Robert Meijerink, ESNS’s head of programme, “and the digital edition has exceeded our wildest expectations.

“The ESNS platform is focused on new emerging acts from Europe, and to bring together music professionals from all corners of the world to discuss the current and future of the music sector and its industry. Thanks to NPO 3FM and members of the EBU, ESNS was able to reach an even bigger audience in Europe and beyond. We really hope we can organise a physical edition in 2022 and be together once again, but we will also expand our online ventures next year.”

“We really hope we can organise a physical edition in 2022 and be together once again”

Built in partnership with NPO 3FM, the festival platform hosted live sets from 189 acts across 36 European countries, broadcast daily on four channels. All ESNS showcases, many of which saw Dutch acts performing at (empty) venues in Groningen, are still available to watch back at

The conference’s 66 panels, meanwhile, featured 274 speakers, with the most viewed including ‘Successful Covid festival formats’, ‘Streaming is here to stay!’ and ‘Platform workshops with Bandcamp & Spotify’. Keynote interviews included Wendy Ong (a manager of Dua Lipa), Scott Cohen (Warner Music) and Neil Warnock (UTA).

On Friday 15 January, the winners of the Music Moves Europe Talent Awards 2021 were revealed on the ESNS digital platform and the NITE Hotel, presented by Melanie C. The eight winners are Inhaler (IE), Julia Bardo (IT), Lous and the Yakuza (BE), Melenas (ES), Rimon (NL), Sassy 009 (NO), Vildá (FI) and Alyona Alyona (UA), with Alyona also winning the Public Choice Award 2021. This was publicly announced by the European commissioner for culture, Mariya Gabriel.

Eurosonic Noorderslag will return next year, with ESNS 2022 taking place 19–22 January 2022 – “preferably as a physical edition” in Groningen, the Netherlands, say organisers.


Get more stories like this in your inbox by signing up for IQ Index, IQ’s free email digest of essential live music industry news.

Comments are closed.