Online Edition ESNS Exceeds Ambitious Expectations

The first online edition of ESNS has exceeded all expectations; both the festival and conference platform have been visited en masse by music lovers and professionals worldwide with almost 4000 from 124 different countries.  In line with the current safety measures in The Netherlands, the thirty-fifth edition of ESNS took place digitally. Despite the acts, audience, and industry professionals being unable to meet each other in Groningen, they still managed to make the most of the virtual experience with daily live streamed panels and performances and online networking opportunities for professionals to meet each other in a virtual environment.

The online edition also brought new possibilities for networking, while artists gained a much greater reach for their showcases via ESNS channels and media partners. With this, the mission of ESNS was more than secured; promoting and circulating new Dutch and European music.

Robert Meijerink, head of programme of ESNS looks back on a successful edition: “We are truly overwhelmed by the positive feedback, with many saying a new standard has been set, which is amazing and the digital edition has exceeded our wildest expectations. The ESNS platform is focused on new emerging acts from Europe and to bring together music professionals from all corners of the world to discuss the current and future of the music sector and its industry.  Thanks to NPO 3FM and members of EBU, ESNS was able to reach an even bigger audience in Europe and beyond. We really hope we can organise a physical edition in 2022 and be together once again, but we will also expand our online ventures next year.”

Showcase festival
The digital platform of the ESNS showcase festival, built-in collaboration with NPO 3FM, hosted exclusive live sets from 189 acts from 36 European countries. The shows, broadcast daily on four channels, were highly praised by media, music lovers, and professionals. The showcase festival has been covered extensively by media partner NPO 3FM and European radio stations, united in the EBU (European Broadcasting Union). Dutch broadcaster NTR guided the viewer on Saturday evening in a two-hour program on NPO 3 with the Noorderslag festival with all Dutch showcases. All ESNS showcases are now available to watch at

The sets were recorded by the acts in a short period of time throughout Europe, in collaboration with the EBU, export agencies, venues, and festivals.  A unique achievement; as 34 European countries were in a lockdown at the time. Many of the Dutch acts were able to record their performances at some of the much-loved venues in Groningen, whilst following Covid Secure protocols, making it the first cultural event in the Netherlands with all crew, artists, and suppliers tested for COVID-19.

The consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic have been an unprecedented blow to the music sector and as a result, the need to get together seemed greater than ever. Almost 4,000 delegates took part in the conference, themed ‘The Road to Recovery’ aiming to regain confidence, facing the current crisis, and making a constructive contribution to a new future for Dutch and European music industry.

In 66 panels, featuring 274 speakers, industry professionals looked ahead and discussed the reopening of the live music sector, with conference attendees also scheduling more than 10.000 one on one meetings using the digital platform. The most viewed panels included ‘Successful Covid Festival Formats’, ‘Streaming is here to stay!’ and ‘Platform Workshops with Bandcamp & Spotify’, and also keynote interviews with Wendy Ong (manager Dua Lipa), Scott Cohen (Warner Music), and Neil Warnock (UTA).

Music Moves Europe Talent Awards
On Friday, January 15, the winners of the Music Moves Europe Talent Awards 2021 were announced on the ESNS digital platform and the NITE Hotel, presented by Melanie C. The 8 winners are Inhaler (ie), Julia Bardo (it ), Lous and the Yakuza (be), Melenas (es), Rimon (nl), Sassy 009 (no), Vildá (fi) and Alyona Alyona (ua), with the latter also winning the Public Choice Award 2021. This was publicly announced by the European Commissioner for Culture, Mariya Gabriel. This annual European prize for popular and contemporary music, co-financed by the Creative Europe program, the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science, and the province and municipality of Groningen, highlights emerging artists who represent the European sound of today and tomorrow.

ESNS Kickstart
ESNS presented a new incentive prize for new Dutch talent at Noorderslag, in collaboration with Buma Cultuur and Dutch Music Export. With ESNS Kickstart, the initiators want to give emerging talents an impulse to the development of their careers. The prizes were presented in the NTR TV broadcast by the media partners of ESNS to talents Froukje (NPO 3FM), Joya Mooi (NPO Radio 2 Soul & Jazz) and Yssi SB (FunX). A cheque for € 5,000 has been handed to each act.

ESNS 2022
ESNS will return next year; ESNS 2022 will take place from 19 – 22 January 2022, preferably as physical edition in Groningen, the Netherlands.

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