Chipping Away At The Old Eastern Bloc

The first staging of the Central Eastern European Talent Exchange Program looks to have been a success, judging by a press conference at Hungary’s Sziget Festival Aug. 9.

“We are building cultural bridges and the first real foundations were laid down this year,” said Sziget representative Fruzsina Szep, a point that was born out by 13 of the former Soviet countries choosing to get involved.

Szep says the plan is to grow “from building bridges to building a cultural highway” that will enable Eastern European bands to get festival slots in their neighbouring territories.

“Young artists are responding with such energy to the project that their enthusiasm is the best possible incentive to work even harder on this,” said Ivan Milivojev from Serbia’s Exit Festival, who has also bee instrumental in launching CEETEP.

CEETEP is an offshoot of the European Talent Exchange Programme (ETEP), which takes place every year at Eurosonic-Noorderslag in The Netherlands, and was a key plank of the Dutch event’s successful bid for $3 million of European Union funding.

The acts to do best from the first CEETEP are Grimus from Romania and Instrumenti from Latvia, which have picked up three festival slots apiece.

Sixteen acts from nine countries will share 24 shows between them.

Although the final ETEP results have yet to be announced, Ewert & The Two Dragons (Estonia) appears to have an unassailable lead with 12 shows. Dope D.O.D. from The Netherlands, Spector and The Computers – both from the UK – have nine shows each.