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ESNS 2024 draws 4,000 European execs

The 38th edition of ESNS (Eurosonic Noorderslag) drew 4,000 music professionals from Europe plus delegations from countries such as Canada, India and Mexico, it has been revealed.

The European showcase festival and conference took place between 17–20 January in Groningen, the Netherlands, and featured a total of 40,000 fans and professionals from around the world – around 4,000 less than last year.

More than 500 speakers participated in the conference, including keynote speakers Amy Thomson (formerly Hipgnosis, ATM Artists), John Mulder (MOJO Concerts/Live Nation) and Mark Mulligan (MIDiA Research).

In addition, 280 new European acts showcased their talents, including 12 from the 2024 focus country Poland. ESNS this year expanded its Noorderslag programme this year, showcasing 50 Dutch acts on Saturday.

“ESNS continues to play an indispensable role for the Dutch and European music community”

Elsewhere, the European Festival Awards, which took place on the opening night of ESNS (Wednesday 17 January), honoured executives including Wasserman’s Tom Schroeder, Lowlands promoter Eric van Eerdenburg and Lifetime Achievement honouree Ruud Berends.

“Once again, Groningen was the music capital of Europe and beyond,” says Frans Vreeke, interim director of ESNS.

“Thanks to the dedication and quality of artists, visitors, delegates, and our staff, we had a wonderful week with an amazing atmosphere. ESNS continues to play an indispensable role for the Dutch and European music community, especially for Dutch talent. Eurosonic, Noorderslag, and the conference once again showcased the strength and diversity of European pop culture. We look forward to the year ahead where we will undoubtedly see many acts that have proven themselves at ESNS on the stages of European summer festivals.”

ESNS 2025 will take place from 15–18 January in Groningen, the Netherlands, with Italy as the Focus Country.


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ESNS appoints Anna van Nunen as GM

ESNS (Eurosonic Noorderslag) has appointed Anna van Nunen as the new general manager.

Her appointment is effective from 18 March, succeeding Dago Houben, who announced his departure last June. Frans Vreeke temporarily filled the position in the interim.

Nunen is an experienced executive who places sustainable entrepreneurship at the core of her career. She founded Innofest, a platform where numerous sustainable enterprises can test their innovations at Dutch festivals.

As the commercial director of Greener Power Solutions, a pioneer in clean mobile battery power at events, she was responsible for the startup’s growth into a European scale-up. She is also the founder of the lobbying platform ‘Ikd Lobby’ and actively participates as a keynote speaker, panellist, and moderator at events such as ESNS, Amsterdam Dance Event, and Dutch Design Week.

“ESNS is entering a new phase, one that requires new leadership”

Having grown up frequenting Groningen’s pop venues Vera and Simplon, Anna has ESNS marked in her calendar every year. She eagerly anticipates her new role, stating: “Having grown up in Groningen and with a big heart for the music sector, it is a huge honour to start working as director at Eurosonic Noorderslag. I am eager to strengthen the conference and festival with the team. In the coming years, I want to ensure a future-proof organisation and a rock-solid positioning of ESNS in Europe.”

Jeroen van Erp, Chairman of the Supervisory Board of ESNS adds: “ESNS is entering a new phase, one that requires new leadership. As a Supervisory Board, we are very pleased with the appointment of Anna van Nunen as director. With her background in the festival world, experience in sustainability and the start-up world, she embodies what we stand for: Always looking for new talent, new developments where inclusivity and sustainability are of paramount importance.”

ESNS will take place between 17–20 January 2024 in Groningen, the Netherlands.

 


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Tom Windish, Kim Bloem and more set for ESNS 2024

ESNS (Eurosonic Noorderslag) has announced a second wave of speakers for the forthcoming edition, taking place between 17–20 January 2024 in Groningen, the Netherlands.

Tom Windish (Wasserman Music), Kim Bloem (Mojo Concerts), Bryan Johnson (Spotify) and Gemma Bradley (musician, presenter, DJ) will be discussing The Art of Curation during a session moderated by Boyan Pinter (Believe, Spike Bulgarian Music Showcase, Green Futures Field Glastonbury).

While Beckie Sugden (CAA) and Carlos Abreu (UTA) join Touring in ’24: Are There Bumps in the Road?, moderated by ILMC’s Greg Parmley.

Also lined up for ESNS 2024 are Henrik Bondo Nielsen and Morten Therkildsen (Roskilde Festival), Pascal Viot (Paléo), Sander Teunissen (Crowdcows) and Alexandra von Samson (Rock am Ring), who will be discussing Crowd Communication to Improve Event Safety Management.

Plus, representatives from festivals such as Pinkpop, Way Out West and Positivus share with Lisa Henderson (IQ) how they keep their festivals relevant in the lives of millions of young people, and in popular culture in general.

Beckie Sugden (CAA) and Carlos Abreu (UTA) join Touring in ’24: Are There Bumps in the Road?

In a panel discussion moderated by Katharina Webe (BN*PD YOUROPE), Mika Christoffersen (Roskilde Festival), Artur Mendes (Boom Festival), and Marta Pallarès (Primavera Sound) equip delegates with a Diversity & Inclusion Toolbox.

Other speakers include Márk Bóna (Sziget Festival), Claire O’Neill (A Greener Future), Helen Sildna (Tallinn Music Week), Tessaly Felida (MOJO Concerts) and Jess Partridge (EMMA).

The new additions join previously announced keynote speakers Amy Thomson (formerly Hipgnosis, ATM Artists), John Mulder (MOJO Concerts/Live Nation) and Mark Mulligan (MIDiA Research).

Live acts for the European Festival Awards (EFA) on 17 January have also been announced, with Polish pop sensation Berry Galazka, Limerick folk trio Kingfishr and British indie band Picture Parlour due to take to the stage.

As previously announced, Ruud Berends will be honoured with the Lifetime Achievement Award at EFA. See the shortlists for 12 of the ceremony’s categories here.

 


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ESNS unveils conference programme, EFA nominees

ESNS (Eurosonic Noorderslag) has revealed details about next year’s conference programme, as well as the 13th edition of the European Festival Awards (EFA).

The showcase festival and conference will return to Groningen in the Netherlands between 17–20 January 2024 with thousands of delegates from the international live music industry.

The conference programme is starting to take shape, with sessions including Common Ground: Boutique & Major Festivals, moderated by IQ‘s Gordon Masson, which invites organisers from across Europe to discuss shared obstacles faced by the sector as a whole.

Elsewhere, How to Keep Your Festival Relevant, presented by Yourope and moderated by IQs Lisa Henderson, explores how tomorrow’s festivals ensure that they continue to play an important role in popular culture and the lives of millions of young people.

And Touring in ’24: Are There Bumps in the Road? will see ILMC’s Greg Parmley lead a discussion on the challenges promoters and agents are facing, with costs and fan expectations increasing year on year.

As previously announced, keynote speakers for the conference include John Mulder (MOJO Concerts/Live Nation), Amy Thomson (formerly Hipgnosis, ATM Artists) and Mark Mulligan (MIDiA Research). See the full conference programme here.

“It means a lot to get this award from this part of the music industry”

Meanwhile, the EFAs, set to take place on 17 January, has announced Ruud Berends as the recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award.

Berends is the co-founder and head of agenda of IFF in London (GB) and advisor for Westway Lab in Guimaraes (PT), Canadian Music Week in Toronto (CA), and SoAlive Music Conference in Sofia (BG).

From 2002 till 2018, he was project manager of the various Dutch Music Export organisations and executive producer of the Dutch Impact Parties for Buma Cultuur. From 2002 to March 2023, he worked for Buma Cultuur & ESNS as head of conference, ETEP & CEETEP, international marketing and sales.

In this position, Berends was crucial for the networking and interconnection of European artists and promoters alike and the European Talent Exchange Programme (ETEP) was his brainchild.

Earlier in his career, he co-founded Paperclip Agency (est. 1981), 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.

“Life is full of surprises. I did not know that I was up for an award,” says Berends. “I am deeply honoured, humbled and grateful to have won the Lifetime Achievement Award. Especially, as it is at the European Festival Awards, an event close to my heart. It means a lot to get this award from this part of the music industry with many friends and music industry family in the room.”

ESNS has also announced the shortlists for 12 of the ceremony’s categories, which can be seen here.

 


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ESNS announces keynote speakers for 2024

ESNS (Eurosonic Noorderslag) has announced the first keynote and featured speakers for next year’s edition, taking place between 17–20 January 2024 in Groningen, the Netherlands.

Amy Thomson (formerly Hipgnosis, ATM Artists), John Mulder (MOJO Concerts/Live Nation) and Mark Mulligan (MIDiA Research) are among the keynotes for the European showcase festival and conference.

Mulder will appear at ESNS 2024 mere weeks after leaving his post as CEO of Mojo Concerts, the Dutch Live Nation subsidiary, on 1 January.

During the keynote interview, the Dutch exec will reflect on his versatile career which includes roles as tour manager of Metallica and co-initiator of AFAS Live and the Ziggo Dome.

Elsewhere, Thomson, former chief catalogue officer at Hipgnosis Songs Fund and CEO and founder of ATM Artists, will address the music industry’s challenges regarding finding, tracking, and tracing metadata across different platforms.

Thomson has executed record releases, marketing campaigns, touring, legal rights and copyright for clients including Kanye West, DJ Snake, Swedish House Mafia, Gorillaz, and Seal. Her passion for catalogue management led her to develop an online application that helps artists manage their metadata.

Mulder will reflect on his versatile career which includes roles as tour manager of Metallica and co-initiator of AFAS Live and the Ziggo Dome

The third keynote announced today is Mark Mulligan, managing director of MIDiA Research. As a long-term media and technology analyst, he is considered a leading thinker on the music industry’s digital transition.

At ESNS 2024, Mulligan will explore the rise of the next music business, explaining that we’re already entering the post-streaming era. He will present a vision for what this new world will look like and who will be the key players.

Joining the Music Industry Therapists Collective, Justin Lockey of English rock band Editors will share his insights on mental health on the road, shining a light on touring with Editors. Additionally, George Musgrave (Goldsmiths, University of London) will join two sessions about mental health.

European Parliament MEP Ibán García Del Blanco joins a panel moderated by Helienne Lindvall (ECSA) to discuss the European Parliament draft report on Cultural diversity and the conditions for authors in the European music streaming market.

ESNS Tech is a series of panel discussions curated by innovation specialist and community builder Turo Pekari (Music Finland). Experts in the intersection of music and technology will address topics such as tomorrow’s business model. ESNS Tech will tune into challenges, opportunities and the transformative potential of Artificial Intelligence within the music industry.

Discover the full conference programme here. More panels and speakers will be announced in the coming weeks.

 


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Ruud Berends exits Eurosonic Noorderslag

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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Sold-out ESNS draws 44,000 visitors

The 37th edition of ESNS boasted 44,000 visitors, 315 emerging European artists and more than 150 panels, keynotes and networking opportunities, according to organisers.

The showcase festival and conference returned to Groningen, the Netherlands, last week for the first in-person edition since 2020.

The conference programme included keynotes from Scott Cohen, Dugi and Dua Lipa, Jonathan Poneman and Bruce Everrett (Sub Pop), as well as panels on hotly debated topics including diversity and sustainability in the music industry.

During the festival, 40 awards were presented, including the Popprijs 2022 which went to Goldband and Dua Lipa receiving The ESNS Excellence Award, celebrating her success as an ESNS Exchange artist. The MME Awards were presented to Schmyt, July Jones, Oska, Kids Return, and Queralt Lahoz are the winners of the Music Moves Europe Awards 2023. The prestigious MME Grand Jury Prize was awarded to Sans Soucis and the MME Public Choice award was won by Jerry Heil. At European Festival Awards, The Lifetime Achievement Award went to Atlas Festival & Music Saves UA.

“This edition addressed so many related topics and presented such a diverse and outstanding line-up of European talent”

This year also saw ESNS take significant steps towards increasing sustainability, diversity and inclusion, such as introducing an advisory board for diversity and inclusion, launching ESNS Green Touring support and a partnership with green travelling start-up Choo Choo.

“The past week has been exceptional,” says Dago Houben, director of ESNS. “The sector has been struggling and is still recovering from the pandemic, and we see our role as the platform for the European music sector as more important than ever. This edition addressed so many related topics and presented such a diverse and outstanding line-up of European talent. We came back stronger than ever with so many first-time visitors and a sold-out edition of the festival and conference.”

Robert Meijerink, head of programme, on ESNS Exchange, adds: “Looking at the first bookings results of ESNS Exchange, the European Talent Exchange Programme, we are seeing a beautiful country spread. With most mentions for artists like Bolis Pupul, Deki Alem, Heartworms, Aime Simone, Club Makumba, eee gee, Monikaze, Alina Pash, Gurriers, Duo Ruut and Marina Herlop. We look forward to seeing how emerging European acts show up in the coming festival summer.”

 


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ESNS detail long-awaited in-person return

The final touches are being added to this year’s Eurosonic Noorderslag (ESNS), which will be the first in-person edition since 2019.

The showcase festival and conference returns to Groningen, the Netherlands, from 18 to 21 January, with a line-up of 290 emerging European artists.

“After staring at cold glassed screens for the last two editions of ESNS it is like a dream come true to finally organise an irl edition and to welcome delegates from all over the world to beautiful Groningen to celebrate our return with great European music and fantastic networking,” says Ruud Berends, head of conference & ESNS Exchange.

“I am looking forward to many essential panel discussions and keynotes about the complex issues we and our world are facing.”

The ILMC and IQ teams will be present at ESNS and lead several of the conference’s main sessions.

ILMC head Greg Parmley will moderate the ever-popular Festival Panel on Thursday (19 January), during which Thomas Sonderby Jepsen (Roskilde, DK), Fruzsina Szép (Superbloom, DE), Kem Lalot (Eurockéennes) and Pavla Slivova (Colours of Ostrava) will outline just what makes their festival so unique and how they weathered the last few years.

The following day, Parmley will steer The Agents Panel, featuring Adele Slater (Wasserman Music), Jess Kinn (One Finiix Live), Summer Marshall (CAA) and Andy Duggan (WME).

“I am looking forward to many essential panel discussions and keynotes about the complex issues we are facing”

The assembled agents will discuss how they have survived Covid-19, what strategies they’re putting in place for their artists in 2023 and beyond, and how they’re continuing to grow their client’s live careers.

Elsewhere, IQ Magazine editor Gordon Masson will conduct a keynote interview with Robert Grima, president of Live Nation Spain, on Thursday.

The conversation will delve into Grima’s 30 years’ worth of experience in the industry, discovering what still drives his passion for live music; his unfaltering determination to care for his artists; and his unique vision that has helped Live Nation Madrid become a powerhouse promoter in the global business.

Masson has also been enlisted for a keynote conversation with global superstar Dua Lipa and her manager and father, Dugi on Saturday 21 January. The pair will discuss their philanthropic efforts with Sunny Hill festival in their native Kosovo, as well as Dua’s style, culture, and society editorial platform, Service95, and accompanying podcast Dua Lipa: At Your Service.

Meanwhile, IQ‘s deputy news editor Lisa Henderson will chair Grassroots touring is fucked, what are you going to do about it? on Thursday with Mark Davyd (Music Venue Trust), Rev. Moose, Marauder (NIVA), Audrey Guerre (LiveDMA) and Max van Bossé (Melkweg).

Henderson will also moderate Future Fit Festival, presented by Yourope/3F, on Friday. This panel will see Christof Huber (Gadget abc Entertainment Group AG, Yourope), Pavla Slivova (Colours of Ostrava), Stephan Thanscheidt (FKP Scorpio) and Maiju Talvisto (Flow Festival) discuss what makes European festivals resilient to meet the challenges of the future.

For more information on ESNS 2023 or to buy tickets, click here.

 


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European Festival Awards returns, entries open

The European Festival Awards is slated to return at next year’s Eurosonic Noorderslag (ESNS) in the Netherlands, after a pandemic-induced hiatus.

Taking place on 18 January 2023, in De Oosterpoort, Groningen, the 12th edition will honor the best major, medium-sized, and small festivals; best indoor festival; and best new festival.

Self-registration for the awards is now open, with other awards including line-up of the year, newcomer of the year, the lifetime achievement award, agent of the year and promoter of the year.

The 12th edition will honor the best major, medium-sized, and small festivals; best indoor festival; and best new festival

Established in 2009 by Festival Awards, Yourope and ESNS, the last European Festival Awards ceremony took place on January 15, 2020 in Groningen.

The 2020 awards saw Wacken Open Air and Roskilde Festival pick up the biggest prizes of the night – best major festival and best line-up respectively. The Netherlands’ Mojo (Pinkpop, North Sea Jazz, Down the Rabbit Hole, Lowlands) won best promoter, with CAA’s Mike Greek earning the agent of the year award.

 


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ESNS 2021 to go ahead in hybrid format

Dutch conference and showcase festival Eurosonic Noorderslag (ESNS) will go ahead in a part-virtual, part-physical format next January.

Taking place in Groningen from 13 to 16 January, the in-person aspect of ESNS 2021 – the event’s 35th edition – will be “widely supported in a digital form”, including both the conference programming and showcases, say organisers.

All parts of the programme will be “organised with the safety of visitors, delegates and artists as the highest priority”, they add.

Eurosonic creative director Robert Meijerink comments: “There’s all the more reason to get together again in Groningen in January 2021 and to review and anticipate the future. It is precisely these uncertain times that call for an opportunity to open the dialogue, to support and inspire, to learn from each other and, ultimately, to regain trust for hopeful times ahead.

“Last but not least, ESNS wants to organise an event that does justice to its mission: stimulating and promoting the circulation of new European music. The necessity has never been so great.”

“There’s all the more reason to get together again in Groningen in January 2021”

ESNS 2021 will be preceded by European Music Week, a new digital platform showcasing the best new European music. Whereas ESNS has previous chosen focus countries, the 2021 event will focus on Europe as a whole.

“The music sector has been hit hard. But we feel strengthened by the hundreds of music professionals from home and abroad who have still bought a registration for ESNS 2021 in recent months, despite the restrictions imposed by the pandemic,” says ESNS director Dago Houben. “We feel that as a call from the sector”

Tickets for Eurosonic Noorderslag 2021 will go on sale “as soon as possible”, say organisers, and will available at a substantial discount compared to previous years: €195 for a full conference ticket, or €50 for digital only.

“[W]e receive tremendous support from a large number of partners, not to mention the authorities who indirectly supported us to let us do what we are good at: stimulate the circulation of European music. This extra support gives us the opportunity to drastically reduce the price of our event to make it as accessible as possible for everyone,” continues Houben.

“We are developing an accessible digital edition for people who are not yet allowed, or who are otherwise not able, to travel.”

 


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