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Peter Smidt steps down as ESNS creative director

After 33 years, Peter Smidt has stepped down as creative director of Eurosonic Noorderslag (ESNS) for health reasons.

Smidt, who will receive the lifetime achievement award at next week’s European Festival Awards 2018, originally founded the event that became ESNS in 1986. Initially through Stichting Pop Groningen, and later as a programmer of the Groningen venue de Oosterpoort (the home of ESNS), Smidt organised a battle of the bands between Dutch and Belgian acts, dubbed Holland-Belgium.

Holland-Belgium was later named Noorderslag, then Eurosonic Noorderslag, and has over the past four decades grown into one of Europe’s most important music industry events.

Smidt is also the founder of the European Talent Exchange Programme (Etep), an international partnership between ESNS and European festivals, radio stations and export offices, while ESNS is also home to the European Festival Awards and the new Music Moves Europe Talent Awards (formerly the European Border Breakers Awards, or EBBA).

Robert Meijerink succeeds Smidt as ESNS’s head of programme, while Ruud Berends remains head of the conference and Joey Ruchtie responsible for the conference’s Dutch acts. Smidt will stay on in an advisory capacity.

“Without Peter’s enthusiasm, vision and determination, we would never have been where we are now”

Thanking Smidt on behalf of ESNS, Dago Houben, managing director, and Pierre Ballings, chairman of the supervisory board, say in a joint statement: “Peter was unmistakably of the greatest importance for the development of the event. Without his enthusiasm, vision and determination, we would never have been where we are now.

“We are very, very grateful for everything he has done and we are very happy that he will continue to advise us in the coming years.

“This allows us to look forward with confidence, and we believe that his ideas, his vision, experience and network will also be sufficiently secured in the future. ”

“Looking back on great years with beautiful results, I am unfortunately forced to say goodbye to my beloved work for ESNS because of the deterioration of my health,” comments Smidt. “I remain available as an advisor while a fantastic team of capable colleagues is ready to take over my duties.

“I leave ESNS in their hands with confidence.”

 


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Peter Smidt to receive lifetime achievement award at EFAs

Peter Smidt, founder and creative director of Eurosonic Noorderslag, will receive the Lifetime Achievement Award at the European Festival Awards (EFA) later this month.

The award will be presented to Smidt at the 2018 EFAs, which once again celebrate achievements in the festival industry across 15 categories. The EFA says it is proud to honour Smidt with the award, in recognition of all his work for the music industry.

The awards be co-hosted by IQ editor Gordon Masson and take place on 16 January 2019 in Groningen, the Netherlands, in conjunction with the opening of Eurosonic Noorderslag (ESNS).

Throughout his career, Smidt has served as a bastion of European music. He has worked closely with the European Music Office to develop strategies for protecting and promoting European artists, and has created initiatives to enable the expansion of artists across Europe.

The EFA says it is proud to honour Smidt with the award, in recognition of all his work for the music industry

Smidt was integral to the launching of the European Talent Exchange Programme which works with member festivals to promote the spread of European artists across the world. Last year, the initiative enjoyed a record-breaking summer, making 457 shows possible across the festival season.

Having organised the European Border Breakers Awards (EBBAs) for 15 years, Smidt this year initiated the Music Moves Europe Talent Awards to replace them. This EU-backed prize aims to celebrate and support up-and-coming European artists. The inaugural awards ceremony will take place at this year’s ESNS.

Kicking off with the European Festival Awards ceremony, this year’s ESNS will go on to play host to over 4,000 music industry experts and 350 artists across four days of panel discussions, expert talks and live music events.

Last year’s award for lifetime achievement went to Daniel Rossellat, founder and president of Swiss rock festival, Paléo festival Nyon.

 


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