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Ruud Berends exits Eurosonic Noorderslag

The long-term international face of the Dutch showcase festival is departing the event due to a "difference of opinion"

By Lisa Henderson on 03 May 2023

Ruud Berends, recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award for ESNS 2024

Ruud Berends, head of conference for Eurosonic Nooderslag (ESNS), has departed from the Dutch showcase festival and conference after a 21-year tenure.

A short statement agreed by both parties reads: “After years of cooperation, ESNS and Ruud Berends have decided, due to a difference of opinion, to end the collaboration earlier than planned.”

Berends joined the Groningen-based event in 2002 where the conference grew under his leadership. Among the projects he led for ESNS was the European band promotion program ETEP (now ESNS Exchange) which facilitates the bookings of European acts on festivals outside their home countries.

The Dutch executive said his exit from ESNS marked the “end of an era” but told IQ he was “looking forward to working on new interesting projects in our great music industry and to continue building the existing ones”.

“ESNS and Ruud Berends have decided, due to a difference of opinion, to end the collaboration earlier than planned”

Berends continues to run his own consultancy agency, Networking Music, which he founded in 2011. He is also currently head of agenda at the International Festival Forum (IFF), which he co-founded in 2015, and a consultant to Portugal’s Westway Lab and Romania’s East European Music Conference (EEMC).

Berends first roles in the live music industry were as co-founder of music venue Debarak in Zutphen (1979–1988) and cultural worker at youth club ‘De Steile Trap’ in Deventer (1984 – 1986) – both in the Netherlands.

In 1981, he co-founded Paperclip Agency, whose clients included Soundgarden, Mudhoney, Tad, Nirvana, The Flaming Lips and more. He left the Nijmegen-based agency in 2001 and set up Networking Music the following year.

Eurosonic Nooderslag 2024 will take place in Groningen, the Netherlands, between 17–20 January with Poland as the lead country.


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