In 1986 Peter Smidt, initially through Stichting Pop Groningen and later as a programmer of the Groningen venue De Oosterpoort, organized a showdown between Dutch and Belgian bands: Holland-Belgium, later renamed to Noorderslag. This event has grown over the years into the European music platform, one of the leading music events, we now know as ESNS.

Peter has always been the driving force behind this development, plotting the creative course and giving the platform an ever increasing significance and scope. ESNS is now a conference and festival where more than 4000 music professionals from all over the world come together every year to discover new European talent.

Peter is also the founder of ETEP (European Talent Exchange Programme), an international partnership between the most prominent festivals, EBU radio stations, export offices and ESNS. Among others, ESNS and ETEP have given Peter the opportunity to become one of the most important promoters of Dutch and European pop music.

The event has kickstarted countless careers and, in addition to many (inter)national prizes, such as EBBA (European Border Breakers Awards) and Music Moves Europe Talent Awards, the prestigious Popprijs has also been awarded since 1991.

On behalf of ESNS, Dago Houben (managing director) and Pierre Ballings (chairman of the Supervisory Board) said: “Peter was unmistakably of the greatest importance for the development of the event. Without his enthusiasm, vision and determination, we would never have been where we are now. We are very, very grateful for everything he has done and we are very happy that he will continue to advise us in the coming years. This allows us to look forward with confidence and we believe that his ideas, his vision,
experience and network will also be sufficiently secured in the future. ”

Robert Meijerink succeeds Peter as Head of Programme. He will be responsible for the creative course of ESNS. Ruud Berends is head of the conference and Joey Ruchtie is responsible for the Dutch acts at ESNS.

Peter Smidt: “Looking back on great years with beautiful results, I am unfortunately forced to say goodbye to my beloved work for ESNS because of the deterioration of my health. I remain available as an advisor while a fantastic team of capable colleagues is ready to take over my duties. I leave ESNS in their hands with confidence “.