Countdown To Mega Eurosonic

The countdown for January’s Eurosonic-Noorderslag has begun with the naming of the first acts confirmed for the European Talent Exchange Programme showcases.

Six of the 17 are from Norway, which is the featured country for 2010, while the others hoping to secure as many as the record-breaking 14 festival bookings that the UK’s White Lies earned at ETEP 2009 include Denmark’s Choir Of Young Believers, Estonia’s fiery Balkan folk group Svjata Vatra – a big hit at this year’s Tallinn Music Week – and the UK’s Manchester-based pop act Everything Everything.

While the festivals are picking over the acts, fans will have a chance to pick over the festivals, as next year’s Eurosonic-Noorderslag opens with the first staging of the European Festival Awards.

ETEP organiser Ruud Berends believes the combination of the annual showcase and the arrival of the UK’s Virtual Festivals’ first European awards will be enough to draw at least 100 European festivals to Groningen Jan. 13-16.

This year’s ETEP set a new record by helping 75 acts from 18 countries secure a total of 214 shows spread across 54 festivals.

The scheme has grown steadily each year as more festivals have joined, having secured 346 shows for breaking European artists since 2003, although lack of funding means Berends can’t allow any more festivals to join.

Eurosonic creative director Peter Smidt has run the annual gathering on a shoestring since it lost its EU funding after one pilot year in 2006.

With around 2,650 delegates, more than 100 panels, presentations and meetings at its conference and 250 showcases from some of Europe’s best emerging talent, few in the live music industry can dispute Eurosonic-Noorderslag’s claim to be “the prime discussion and network platform and showcase festival” for the European music industry.

Delegates can still save euro 20 ($30) on the euro 275 registration fee by booking before Dec. 16. The deadline for the cheaper euro 195 “early bird” registrations passed June 16.