Jim Carroll

Music, Life and everything else

Eurosonic 2011 – we have lift-off

Greetings from Groningen, the lovely Dutch city which has become a January must-visit for OTR thanks to the annual Eurosonic festival and its showcase of new European acts. For the next few nights, festival bookers, radio programmers, agents, promoters, media …

Thu, Jan 13, 2011, 10:53

   

Greetings from Groningen, the lovely Dutch city which has become a January must-visit for OTR thanks to the annual Eurosonic festival and its showcase of new European acts. For the next few nights, festival bookers, radio programmers, agents, promoters, media folk and your ordinary decent music fan have the keys of the city.

It’s Eurosonic’s 25th anniversary and it looks like the organisers are in expansionist mode. There seems to be a plethora of new temporary venues and big open-air stages (yeah, I know, January and open-air stages don’t quite go together) so they’re obviously expecting a whole lot more people than usual. The festival usually runs on Thursday and Friday nights – with the Noorderslag showcase of Dutch rock and pop on Saturday – but they got proceedings underway last night with a small smattering of acts playing in various rooms around the place.

Acts seen on last night’s run include Delorean (electrorave juggernaut grooves from the Basque country via Barcelona), Ben Howard (dude with a very striking blues voice who can you see some label pitching as the new Jack Johnson), Olof Arnalds (the Icelandic folkie looked and sounded like a poor lost soul on that huge stage in the Grand Theatre), Dry the River (ear-grabbing folky-pop melodies and strong would-be radio-friendly songs from a band who’re a browse by a record label stylist through the Boden catalogue away from Mumford & Sons’ comparisons), Annasaid (Danish rockers who need to listen to more than the first Bloc Party album or develop some new angles) and Crystal Fighters (headspinning funkfolkrave with slightly more hippie angles than one necessarily feels comfortable with).

But it’s not just live bands. There’s also a lively conference – I’ll definitely be in the audience for the keynote from Bob Lefsetz, there are panels which could be interesting on everything from the future of labels to copyright and old-school MTV ringmaster Ray Cokes will be doing his thing – and a couple of ceremonies where they hand out gongs. Last night, it was Festival Awards Europe who were on the red carpet and three Irish festivals (Oxegen, Electric Picnic and the Temple House festival) took home something for the mantelpiece.

More reports tomorrow. You’ll find a full list of acts playing here and if you want to recommend some non-Irish and UK acts (I’m up to speed on those ones), please do so below.

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