Showcase Festival and Music Conference ESNS 2024 Kicks Off in Groningen


ESNS (Eurosonic Noorderslag), the platform for emerging European music talent, opens its 38th edition today. The annual festivals Eurosonic and Noorderslag are once again drawing thousands of music enthusiasts to Groningen. Alongside fans, approximately 4,000 professionals from across Europe are converging on the city for the festivals and the accompanying music conference. ESNS runs until Saturday, January 20.

The Vices performed their first show at ESNS24 on Tuesday evening at Popgala Noord in Grand Theater. Photo: Niels Knelis

Showcase Festival Spotlights New European Talent on the International Stage

During ESNS, over 260 new European acts will perform at 30 locations in the city centre of Groningen. The festival provides a platform for Europe's most urgent new acts to showcase their talent to a diverse audience of music lovers and industry professionals.

Under the theme Focus on Poland, ESNS, in collaboration with Music Export Poland and other Polish partners, has selected twelve acts from the country this year. The conference program will also cover various current and music-related topics from Poland.

Renowned international media outlets have recommended CMAT (ie), Arny Margret (is), Berry Galazka (pl), Izzy and the Black Trees (pl), and yunè pinku (ie) as the standout acts for ESNS24.

Festival tickets for the ESNS24 showcase festivals are nearly sold out, with only regular tickets available for the Wednesday evening program. The official reselling platform, in partnership with SeeTickets, ensures a secure transfer of tickets.

Key Topics at the Music Conference

With over 500 speakers participating in over 150 panel discussions, interviews, keynotes, workshops, speed meetings, and podcasts, the ESNS music conference provides a comprehensive overview of the most pressing issues, themes, and innovations in the national and international music sector. The programme addresses topics such as diversity, inclusion, mental health, AI, the latest developments in media, and the live industry.

The conference program features keynotes from Amy Thomson (formerly Hipgnosis, ATM Artists) and Mark Mulligan (MIDiA Research). In a keynote interview, John Mulder (MOJO Concerts / Live Nation) reflects on his versatile career. The panel discussion 'The Art of Curation' explores music selection, algorithms, and playlists with influential figures from the music and media industries. In a session with the Music Industry Therapists Collective, Justin Lockey of the English rock band Editors will share insights into mental health based on his touring experiences.

ESNS Young is a diverse program focused on young music professionals, while ESNS Science sets out to catalyse agents of change. Conference delegates can sign up for a variety of workshops and networking events. Additionally, there are speed meetings, including mental health sessions in English, German, and French.

European music projects ESNS Exchange and Music Moves Europe Awards celebrate their 20th anniversary this year at ESNS.


Several awards are traditionally presented at ESNS. The winners of the Music Moves Europe Awards, the music prize of the European Union, will be revealed tomorrow night (Thursday, January 18) in a grand award ceremony at the Groningen Stadsschouwburg.

The European Festival Awards, Popprijs, IJzeren Podiumdieren, Pop Media Prijs, Popgala Noord, and Pop Stipendium are also on the program during ESNS24.

Improved Facilities for Artists

Today, on the first day of the festival, ESNS unveils a modern Artist Village at a new location behind the station area in Groningen. The Artist Village serves as the backstage festival hub for artists, where they check in for the festival, receive their accreditation and access all the information and assistance they need for their performances. The enhanced Artist Village includes a restaurant for artists and their crew to dine and a music store for instrument repairs and additions.

The choice of the new location for the improved Artist Village is strategic. In a few years, a new city district will emerge behind the station area in Groningen, and the Artist Village location may become the site of the music centre De Nieuwe Poort, the successor to SPOT/De Oosterpoort.

Noorderslag Begins in the Afternoon

Noorderslag, the festival on Saturday focusing on Dutch talent, has been expanded this year with an afternoon program. Festival-goers are welcome from 3:00 PM at De Oosterpoort, where the first acts will take the stage from 4:00 PM onwards. Throughout the evening, new Dutch acts will showcase their talent on nine different stages, culminating in the annual highlight of the Popprijs award presentation.

Official ESNS App, Live Broadcast, and ESNS Extra

The latest program changes can be found in the official ESNS app. Festival-goers and conference delegates can use the app to create their personalised ESNS schedule. The official ESNS app is essential for visitors and delegates looking to make the most out of their festival experience. Download the app from the App Store or Google Play.

On Saturday, January 20, 2024, 3FM DJs Vera Siemons and Justin Verkijk will host a live television program, Eurosonic Noorderslag 2024, from the Oosterpoort in Groningen. The ninety-minute show will feature interviews, reports, and performances by new talent from the Netherlands and Europe. It will be broadcast on NPO3 starting at 22:00 (CET).

At ESNS, not only ticket holders can enjoy the program, but there is also much to explore for non-ticket holders, including ESNS Air, ESNS Art, and Hit the North showcases.