A Euro(super)sonic

This year’s Eurosonic-Noorderslag seemed to make an even louder bang than usual, which is quite a feat considering its track record for growing success.

Photo: Sander Baks
Sofie Winterson performs during one of the many artist showcases.

The Jan. 15-18 conference was sold out with 3,275 delegates, and the festival also sold out with 38,500 visitors, who had a choice of seeing 337 acts.

Delegates wanting time away from deciding whether they’d rather see a discussion on “25 Years Of Dance Music In The Netherlands” or former IQ editor Greg Parmley interviewing ITB agent Lucy Dickins would soon have realized that Eurosonics’s publicity onslaught – or the e-communications of other delegates – would just reach out and grab them.

The IT barrage included Eurosonic emails, Facebook and Twitter posts and a chip in the conference wristband that was happy to let you know pretty well anything you might need to know.

Cashless payment systems were a regular topic of conversation in and around the various beverage outlets.

The argument usually comes between those who believe they’re convenient and a financial help to the event and those who think they’re slow at the point of sale and morally bankrupt.

One Swiss festival promoter claimed the amount of money “left behind” at his festival was as little as 1.5 percent of the total amount of credit purchased by fans.

That 1.5 percent came out of euro 8 million, which meant euro 120,000 got “left behind,” or unused by concertgoers.

The official conference panel discussing the subject included representatives from Dutch event expert Loc7000, which services Lowlands Festival and concerts in Nijmegen’s Goffertpark, Belgium-based Playpass – which has the U.S. Air Force among its clients – and Eurosonic provider Intellitix.

It also had Ivan Milivojev, a director of Serbia’s Exit Festival. Any hopes the cashless experts had of getting any endorsement of their products from Milivojev were quickly dashed.

Exit does use a cashless system, but it’s found a company to create the necessary software and built its own. It’s been developed by Revolution Payment Systems, which in 2014 will also service Croatia’s InMusic Festival, and fans have three months to collect the money they left behind or use them at other events produced by Exit.

Milivojev admitted a lot of money was left behind after Exit 2013, but “not enough to buy a headliner,” and – apart from that – the festival can’t touch it.

The 160 or so sessions included a hilarious one with veteran artist manager Simon Napier-Bell, whose acts included Wham and Ultravox. VIP news editor Allan McGowan interviewed FKP Scorpio chief Folkert Koopmans, who had just been voted “Promoter Of The Year” at the European Festival Awards.

Greg Cochrane from New Musical Express headed a panel on how coverage of music has changed.

Two days before Eurosonic, royalty collection society Buma announced that Amsterdam Dance Event – the other major showcase festival it sponsors – will be Oct. 15-19.