Jim Carroll

Music, Life and everything else

Why more Irish bands need to put Eurosonic on their radar

In the growing ecosystem of new band showcases, Groningen’s Eurosonic produces visible results

Eurosonic winners: Girl Band

Thu, Jun 5, 2014, 09:41


Every couple of weeks, an email arrives from Eurosonic Noorderslag with “ETEP figures update” in the subject line. Every few weeks, there are also emails from many of the other new music showcases out there around Europe pimping their wares, but none of them can back up their boasts with the same results and metrics as Eurosonic.

I’ve written here many times before about the Dutch festival and ETEP, but the latest email has prompted a re-up to remind bands about the event’s usefulness when it comes to their future plans. Eurosonic is an annual festival which takes place every January in the lovely city of Groningen in the north of the Netherlands. ETEP stands for the European Talent Exchange Programme which, to quote themselves, is “an initiative of Eurosonic Noorderslag to stimulate the circulation of European repertoire on festivals, radio and media in Europe”.

What this means in a nutshell is that the bands who play at Eurosonic who are spotted by and impress the programmers and bookers from the 81 main European festivals who are in Groningen looking for bands for their events may get to spend some of the summer on the European festival circuit. When the bands play these festivals away from their home country, they also get support in the shape of airplay and features from the 25 European Broadcasting Union radio stations who are also part of the scheme.

There you have it, live gigs and radio support, the two gimmes of every band (all the more important due to the great music industry power shift), delivered on the back of an appearance in Groningen. The scheme has been running since 2003 and has been responsible to date for 1970 shows by 708 European artists from 26 countries at 81 festivals. There is now also a sub-programme called CEETEP (Central Eastern European Talent Exchange Programme), which brings in eight festivals from Central Eastern Europe, and the plan is to increase the number of participating festivals to 100 next year. Body & Soul is the Irish festival on the list and its ETEP bookings for this year are Ballet School, East India Youth and Hermigervill.

The latest email gives the metrics for the class of 2014 and it’s a fairly good summing up of what new acts are getting traction around Europe this summer with 234 confirmed shows for 88 artists from 19 different European countries. The seven Irish acts who played at Eurosonic 2014 have all got European bookings on the back of their January visit to the Netherlands, which is a fairly good return on the investment of time and money: the acts were Kodaline (six festival bookings so far), Hozier (five bookings), The Strypes (four bookings), Girl Band (three bookings), Hudson Taylor (three bookings), Kid Karate (two bookings) and Le Galaxie (one booking).

Aside from the above, other acts who have benefited from Eurosonic and ETEP this year include Royal Blood (13 bookings so far), Jungle (12), (eight), George Ezra (seven), Milky Chance (seven), Mighty Oaks, Pional and Birth of Joy (all six).

Naturally, not every one of the 337 acts who played at Groningen in January got bookings and, indeed, not every act who applied to play at Eurosonic got the invitation in the mail. But if you’re not in, you can’t win and it’s well worth your time to apply. They’re accepting applications at the moment and you have until September 1 to get it together.