ESNS Steps Up Its Game

Eurosonic Noorderslag is shaping up for its 32nd edition, Jan. 17-20, in Groningen, Netherlands. Organizers of the European music conference took last year’s delegate feedback to heart. 

Eurosonic Noorderslag 2017
Jorn Baars
– Eurosonic Noorderslag 2017

Conference coordinator Ruud Berends told Pollstar, “We more than doubled the networking spaces in [conference headquarter] De Oosterpoort by restructuring the conference, the use of the rooms and spaces.

We will use the ‘Grote Zaal’ as a network café, the outside panel room is gone and will be replaced by a covered large luxurious networking tent.” Berends said, “both new network spaces will have table service.

In addition, where possible, we freed up room for more tables and chairs. Our visitors made it clear in our survey after ESNS 17 that networking is now their No. 1 priority at ESNS.” ESNS’s food offering also received an upgrade.

“We will offer warm breakfast and warm lunch and a higher level of food and service throughout the building,” Berends revealed. Traditionally, Allan McGowan interviews a merited promoter at ESNS. Last year it was Wizpro’s Ossy Hoppe; in 2018 it’s going to be Harvey Goldsmith. In a second keynote interview, renowned German promoter and founder of MCT, Scumeck Sabottka, will answer questions from CAA’s Emma Banks.

David Marcus, head of music at Ticketmaster U.S., has also been confirmed to speak. His keynote will address all things ticketing, from planning a sales campaign, the economics of a tour to fan identification and engagement using technology.

Besides being a conference, ESNS showcases close to 400 acts each year in Groningen’s many venues and pubs. In 2018, the European Talent Exchange Program (ETEP) returns, a collaboration of 110 European festivals, the radio stations united under the European Broadcasting Union international press partners.

Each year at ESNS, partner festivals choose from the acts performing at ESNS for their upcoming editions. Acoustic Lakeside Festival (Austria), BUSH (Hungary), Immergut Festival (Germany), Metronome Festival (Czech Republic), Revolution Festival (Romania), Rock in Rio, Tremor (both Portugal), TRNSMT (UK), Woodstock Festival (Poland) and Zermatt Unplugged (Switzerland) have joined the list of participating festivals in 2018.

In 2017, ETEP recorded a record number of festival bookings, with London post-punk band Shame leading the list with 17 bookings in total

 Last year, Pollstar reached out to a couple of artists and festival promoters taking part in ETEP to find out what they thought of the program.

Aurora said: “I think what ETEP does is brilliant! Helping artists get booked at festivals all around Europe, and also on radio and media. Especially in the start-up-phase when artists need it the most.”

The European Festival Awards ceremony will take place on the first day of ESNS, as usual.

The same is true for the European Border Breaker Awards, which traditionally run in parallel to the EFAs. ESNS also shines a spotlight on one particular country each year. In 2018, the focus will be on Denmark.

This year, ESNS welcomed 40,300 visitors in total, of which 4,200 attended the conference, including representatives of 424 international festivals. 42 nationalities were present at the event, with 382 acts playing a total number of 442 performances.

Check out our video recap of the event: