From January 18 to 21, 2023, the Eurosonic Noorderslag (ESNS) festival returns to Groningen in its traditional form after two editions online due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Tickets are already on sale, and with a final line-up of 290 emerging European artists from 38 countries, ESNS confirms it is the place to be for exploring and discovering breakthrough acts before they become popular.
European artists perform across 40 locations in Groningen from Wednesday to Friday, while Saturday will feature upcoming Dutch artists at De Oosterpoort. The festival will also host panels, interviews, and keynotes on the state of the music industry and its latest developments. The sessions will be dedicated mostly to music-related topics, including the business of the industry, sustainability, innovation, and mental health.
Founded in 1986, ESNS aims to discover and promote new European and Dutch music. The combination of emerging music performances and innovation-driven conferences attracts over 4,000 industry professionals and 40,000 music lovers every year.
Acts that played at the Eurosonic Noorderslag become part of the ESNS Exchange programme, an initiative to facilitate bookings of European acts on festivals outside their home countries and expand their media exposure. In 2022, ESNS Exchange supported around 200 festival gigs of ESNS acts.
Focus on Spain
Each edition has a “focus” on a European country: this year, ESNS, in collaboration with the talent export project The Spanish Wave, chose Spain. “Focus on Spain” features performances from diverse Spanish acts from different regions. Among them are Ghouljaboy (Andalucia), Kokoshca (Navarra), Lava Fizz (Balearics), Maestro Espada (Murcia), Marta Knight (Catalonia), Shanghai Baby (Madrid), Tanxugueiras (Galicia), Yo Diablo (Valencia), and Zetak (Basque Country). The focus theme also reflects on the conference program, with talks and panels dedicated to the Spanish music industry.
Explaining the decision to choose Spain, ESNS head of programme Robert Meijerink mentioned the growing interest in music in the Spanish language, in Europe and beyond. Meijerink said the festival wants to highlight Spain’s multifaceted music landscape, “from emerging electronic acts to the new wave of indie bands hailing from the big cities, the islands and everything in between.”
ESNS is also the host of two major European music awards ceremonies: the European Festivals Award and the Music Moves Europe Award (MME).
The European Festivals Award – the annual celebration of the continent’s most renowned festivals – is scheduled on ESNS opening day (January 18) and bestows 16 accolades, some decided by public vote and others by a jury and experts.
MME is a European Union award for emerging artists, presented on January 19. 15 nominees compete for the Grand Jury Award worth €10,000 plus a touring voucher of €5,000. There are also five more €10,000 prizes and the Public Choice Award worth €5,000 to be won. MME Awards is designed to accelerate new talents’ international careers. Former winners include hit-makers like Dua Lipa, Stromae, and Rosalía.