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ESNS Exchange celebrates 20th anniversary

Since 2003, the talent exchange programme has supported over 2,000 European artists including Dua Lipa, Ellie Goulding and Sigrid

By James Hanley on 27 Oct 2023

Sigrid at ESNS 2018

image © Ben Houdijk

ESNS Exchange, the European Talent Exchange Programme formerly known as ETEP, is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year.

The scheme, which facilitates the international distribution of European music, artists, and productions, is funded by the Creative Europe programme of the European Commission and is organised in collaboration with Yourope, the export offices and the media partner EBU.

Since 2003, ESNS Exchange has supported 2,145 European artists from 35 countries, enabling them to perform at 5,288 shows across 187 partner festivals in 44 countries. Successful acts through the years have included Dua Lipa, Ellie Goulding, Sigrid, Editors, Blood Red Shoes, The XX, Iceage, Anna Calvi, Katzenjammer, Aurora, Kae Tempest, Phoenix, Shame, Buraka Som Sistema, Fontaines DC, Sigrid, Flohio, Marina Satti & Fonés, Altin Gün, Priya Ragu and Royal Blood.

“It is an honour to support and present the diversity of the live music scene in Europe by kickstarting the careers of many new artists for 20 years by Exchange, the European Talent Exchange Programme,” says Robert Meijerink, head of programme at ESNS and booker for ESNS Exchange.

To commemorate the 20th anniversary, ESNS Exchange hosted a panel at this week’s BIME festival in Bilbao, alongside several events and panels held during ESNS in January.

ESNS Exchange has presented 315 shows by 134 acts at 82 festivals so far in 2023. The most booked act is The Haunted Youth with 13 bookings, followed by Deki Alem with nine bookings and Avalanche Kaito with eight. In addition, Sprints, Tramhaus and UCHE YARA all have seven bookings.

“With Exchange, the role of the ESNS conference and festival has been put to the next level”

The bookings of the last five festivals of the season in October-November will be included in the final results at the end of the year.

“With Exchange, the role of the ESNS conference and festival has been put to the next level,” adds Meijerink. “Exchange as a project connects all parts of Europe and helps artists grow beyond local, cross European borders and around the world.

“This is impossible without the strong cooperation with Yourope, our great partner festivals, the export offices, the partners of the European Broadcasting Union, the European Commission and of course all the amazing artists from Europe. We’re looking forward to building the future of the European music scene and ESNS Exchange’s role in it.”

CEETEP was also part of the Exchange programme with the aim to promote the circulation of artists and repertoire of Central East European countries across Europe. During the five-year project, which ran from 2012 to 2015, ESNS and co-organisers Sziget and Exit Festival created a plan to encourage the circulation of CEE artists and repertoire in Central and Eastern Europe with the support of 18 festivals and selected media partners in the CEE region.

The ESNS showcase festival and conference returns to Groningen, the Netherlands, from 17-20 January 2024.


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