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Top dogs: Fat Dog lead ESNS Exchange bookings

UK and Ireland acts are leading the way on Eurosonic Noorderslag’s (ESNS) European talent exchange programme in 2024, securing festival slots across the continent this summer.

British band Fat Dog top the ESNS Exchange chart with 15 bookings for festivals outside their home country including Winterthurer Musikwochen (DE), Poplar Festival (IT) , Electric Castle (RO), Siren’s Call (LU), Bad Bonn Kilbi (CH), Lowlands (NL), Pukkelpop (BE), Eurockéennes de Belfort (FR) and Colours of Ostrava (CZ).

Next is English Teacher (ENG) with 10 bookings, Kingfishr (IRE) and Lambrini Girls (ENG), with eight each, and Chalk (IRE) and Picture Parlour (ENG), both with seven. The top 10 is completed by Leila (CH), Nusantara Beat (NL) and Freekind (SI) on six bookings each, while Ireland’s CMAT and Yunè Pinku are tied on five alongside Loverman (BE), UTO (FR) and YĪN YĪN (NL).

The festivals to have booked the most ESNS artists in 2024, meanwhile, are the UK’s The Great Escape (23), Germany’s Halden Pop Festival and Reeperbahn (12 each), Hungary’s Sziget (11), Slovenia’s MENT Ljubljana (9), Estonia’s Tallinn Music Week (7), the Netherlands’ Best Kept Secret, Iceland Airwaves, France’s Le Printemps De Bourges and Festival Europavox Clermont-Ferrand, and Germany’s Winterthurer Musikwochen (all 6).

Helen Sildna, founder of Shiftworks Company and Tallinn Music Week (TMW) says: “ESNS Exchange is an important building-block of TMW’s music programme, offering an opportunity to book the most exciting talent that Europe has on offer in a given year. ESNS programme choices provide a high-quality guarantee that is valued by promoters, also reflecting the wide geographical diversity of the EU and giving a spotlight to artists that otherwise might not end up on bookers’ radars.

“We hope the programme can continue – it’s a smart tool for both the artist and the bookers”

“The combination of high-standard pre-selection and a support mechanism, helping to cover part of the costs – is a smart incentive to make sure fresh European talent has more opportunities to break borders and enhance their international careers. We hope the programme can continue – it’s a smart tool for both the artist and the bookers.”

Co-funded by the European Union’s Creative Europe programme, ESNS Exchange facilitates the booking of European acts at festivals outside their home countries and works with the EBU, Yourope export offices and local media to generate media exposure for those artists.

For more than two decades, ESNS Exchange and its partners have supported 2,159 European artists from 37 countries in performing 5,336 shows across 192 partner festivals in 44 countries. Artists to have benefited from the scheme via formative festival slots include Editors, The xx, Iceage, Anna Calvi, AURORA, Kae Tempest, Phoenix, Shame, Fontaines DC, Sigrid and Priya Ragu.

“Making circulation of new European artists on festivals easier. That’s what it is all about,” adds Andraž Kajzer, artistic director and festival manager at MENT Ljubljana. “ESNS Exchange is an important pillar for new talent supporting our cause and making it viable.”


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ESNS Exchange celebrates 20th anniversary

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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