ETEP Cracks Another 50

At least 50 acts will get at least one show from this year’s European Talent Exchange Programme (ETEP), the third year in succession that the scheme has benefited so many artists.

It isn’t a record yet, as programme organiser Ruud Berends is still collating bookings, but it’s possible ETEP 2009 could beat the 178 shows shared between 61 European artists in 2008.

So far, this year – which began when more than 200 acts showcased at Eurosonic-Noorderslag in January – has produced 106 confirmed festival shows by 50 artists from 12 countries.

“There are still some huge festivals that haven’t booked their ETEP acts yet, including Belgium’s Pukkelpop – which took 21 last year – and Holland’s Lowlands,” said ETEP organiser Ruud Berends.

What pleases Berends most is that the number of acts benefiting from the scheme has shot up in the last four years, rising from 39 in 2005, 46 in 2006, 56 in 2007, and then the record-breaking 61 in 2008.

“It’s been over 50 acts for the last three years and I think the trend is reflected in festival bills, where a much greater percentage of the acts are from mainland Europe, and also in agents’ rosters,” Berends said. “English agents have more mainland European acts on their rosters than they did five years ago. Recently, when I was at SXSW, I was amazed by the number of U.S. agents that have mainland European acts on their rosters.”

The competition to get the most shows from this year’s ETEP has turned into something of a two-horse race. White Lies, represented by Paul Bolton of Helter Skelter and already with a U.K. No. 1 album under its belt, has 11 shows. It’s one ahead of Baddies, another Brit band, whose live work goes through Tom Taffe at International Talent Booking (ITB).

Bolton already has 32 European outdoors in the diary for White Lies, including a nine-date run with Coldplay that finishes at London’s Wembley Stadium Sept. 19. But Baddies, which has opted for putting out its upcoming and as yet untitled debut album on its own label, still has chance to pull back the one-show deficit.

French DJ / producer Yuksek is in third place with seven shows. Then there’s a further gap back to Naive New Beaters (also from France) and Austria’s Soap & Skin, which have four shows.

The Top 10 is completed by Birdy Nam Nam (France), Buraka Som Sistema (Portugal), Hjaltalín (Iceland), Polarkreis 18 (Germany), and The Asteroids Galaxy Tour (Denmark), all with three shows. The remaining 56 shows are shared between 40 acts.

With Austria and Portugal already represented in the Top 10, Berends was also pleased to see the ETEP network is extending to other countries not known for exporting contemporary music talent.

Innovative Bulgarian band Gravity Co.’s Eurosonic slot has earned it another at Romania’s Bestival. Haydamaky, which has a Ukranian career stretching back to when the country declared its independence from the Soviet Union in 1991, has made the bill for Hungary’s Sziget Festival.