Blood Red Shoes A Step Ahead

Blood Red Shoes has edged a step ahead in the race to fare best of the acts from this year’s European Talent Exchange Programme, having already secured firm offers from such high-profile outdoors as Holland’s Pinkpop, Sweden’s Hultsfred and Switzerland’s Paleo Nyon.

With about two-thirds of the 60 festivals already booking at least one act, the U.K. grunge duo has seven shows. Two of the appearances are within the next month.

Close on the heels of Blood Red Shoes with six shows each are the U.K.’s Does It Offend You, Yeah? and France’s Yelle.

So far ETEP 2008 has produced 102 shows, after last year’s clocked a record-breaking 182.

A new record isn’t out of the question. At press time, major festivals including the U.K.’s Glastonbury, Holland’s Lowlands, Belgium’s Rock Werchter and Pukkelpop, Scotland’s T In The Park, Denmark’s Roskilde, Hungary’s Sziget, Finland’s Ruisrock, Austria’s Frequency and Serbia’s Exit still hadn’t shown their hands. And some of the festivals that have booked only one ETEP act could add more.

Whatever the final figure, several bands are close enough to the pace to have every chance of being involved in what could turn out to be a blanket finish.

The U.K. challenge is predictably strong, with Lightspeed Champion on five shows and Calvin Harris and Friendly Fires on four each. I’m From Barcelona (five shows) is upholding Sweden’s excellent ETEP record, but the most noticeable trend so far is the number of French acts among the frontrunners.

Apart from Yelle in second place, The Do and Soko have four shows each and their country has three bands in the leading 10. They’ve already at least equaled France’s previous ETEP records.

Only a handful of French acts have made as much as a blip on the ETEP radar in the five years the programme’s been running.

Yelle’s six shows beats the five Rhesus scored in 2006. The only other French acts to get four were Gomm and Vitalic (’05), Hush Puppies (’06) and Sebastian (’07), so Yelle, The Do and Soko have already shredded the form book.

"The current wave of French acts seems to be relevant for the European festival landscape this year," says ETEP organiser Ruud Berends, a view backed by Jules Frutos of Paris-based Alias Production.

"We have a new crop of bands coming through in the last two to three years that are more influenced by English and American bands, which is making them more accessible to the rest of Europe as well," said Frutos, whose company arranges Yelle’s live work throughout France.

Surkin is the fourth French act to appear in the top 10. It has three shows so far and is tied with Germany’s Miss Platnum, Holland’s Pete Philly & Perquisite, Sweden’s Lykke Lim, and the U.K.’s The Futureheads and The Heavy.