No Room At The Inns

The Eurosonic-Noorderslag weekend showed no sign of suffering from the economic downturn, as every hotel room in Groningen, The Netherlands, was booked a couple of weeks in advance.

Creative director Peter Smidt, who has spent three years trying to secure regular EU funding for the event, was hopeful of at least matching the roughly 2,400 delegates who showed in 2008.

The Eurosonic and Noorderslag festivals (Jan. 15-17), which are in local venues and bars and provide the platform for the European Talent Exchange Programme (ETEP), sold out a couple of months ago in record time.

Noorderslag Festival, which is for Dutch acts and takes place across seven stages, needed just six days to sell out. EuroSonic, which is for acts from all over Europe and staged in venues within easy walking distance of the university city’s main market square, took just a few days more to sell its last ticket.

The conference has added extra sessions to the opening Thursday, including a panel examining the role of music in boosting Europe’s creative potential.

The opening session, which introduces Belgium as the subject of this year’s country focus, was to include a keynote speech from local Live Nation chief Herman Schueremans, creator of the multiple award-winning Rock Werchter Festival.
The conference schedule bills Werchter as “the best festival in the world.” Schueremans, who started the event 35 years ago, is recognized throughout Europe as an expert on festival development.

The first day of this year’s ETEP features several of the acts expected to do well from this year’s programme.

Just before the event, Hamburg’s Reeperbahn Festival announced it will stage a one-day showcase at Eurosonic-Noorderslag.

The north German city, which claims to be “the music capital” of the country, will present a Reeperbahn Festival at Vindicat, at Grote Markt, Jan. 15.

The bill included Vincent Van Go Go, Wallis Bird, Esser and Deichkind. The city, which backs the event in cahoots with the Colorline Arena, made its marketing point by handing out free hamburgers all night.

Groningen may have a regular Reeperbahn Festival if the visiting Hamburg politicians can agree on ways that the two cities can give each other cultural support.

Reinhard Stuth, Hamburg’s secretary of culture, media and sports, and Jaap Dijkstra from Groningen council are to discuss the project at Eurosonic-Noorderslag.

Reeperbahn Festival, which was started by Hamburg-based promoters Karsten Jahnke and Alexander Schulz from Inferno Events in 2006, will also stage a one-dayer at SXSW in March.