Conference news: Saxon, Wacken, SeaWatch, FunX, Money and More

First of all, best wishes and happy holidays to you and yours!  Just before Christmas we would like to share some more conference updates with you. 

The delegates database for registered delegates is available via If you have not registered for the conference yet, you can do so at Please note that there’s a special Saturday-only conference registration available as well. 

Biff Byford (Saxon) and Thomas Jensen (Wacken Open Air) in conversation with Gordon Masson (IQ Magazine)
‘Saxon’ released their self-titled debut album in 1979 and became part of what was known as the New Wave Of British Heavy Metal. With some considerable succes in the 80’s, charting eight consecutive UK Top 40 albums and five Top 40 singles, the band continued to forge their own style of Heavy Metal through the elusive 90’s where grunge was king. The last decade has seen the bands popularity increase to a new generation of fans, with a constant stream of new releases.

The band’s 40th anniversary in 2019 was marked with a series of larger venue concerts, but the tour got interrupted due to Biff having to undergo emergency triple bypass heart surgery. With the operation completed successfuly, and an upcoming impending 70th birthday in early 2020, Biff shows no signs of slowing down: he finished his first ever Solo Album (scheduled for release February 21st 2020) and a series of solo shows starting in April. This together with another Saxon World Tour on the cards for later in 2020 / 2021 which will coincide with the release of Saxon’s 23rd studio album.

Thomas Jensen founded Wacken Open Air and Stone Castle Rock with Holger Hübner, as well as the Wacken Foundation, which is a non-profit foundation dedicated to support young bands and funding projects such as albums or tours. The ICS network was formed a few years later, which now covers all areas of live entertainment – from the record label to a music publisher, Internet TV, radios, music management, event promotion and artist bookings. Thomas will, together with Holger Hübner, receive the Lifetime Achievement Award during the European Festival Awards on the Wednesday of ESNS.

An Hour with SeaWatch on Life, Responsibility and Human Rights
We love to provide an escape from reality. Music, concerts and festivals are a major part of the huge entertainment machine of dreams with millions of happy faces, spotlights, confetti and beer. But while we fight for our right to party someone else is fighting for the values we want to stand for. And they need our support.

Let’s hear the story of those who defend the words of our constitutions and promises of our elected governments on a voluntary basis at the deadliest border of the world – the mediterranean sea between Europe and Africa. We spend an hour with SeaWatch, because lives matter!

The European Festival Awards
The European Festival Awards (EFA) is the annual celebration of the European continent’s most esteemed festivals and the organisers behind them. Taking place on January 15th in Groningen, in conjunction with the opening of ESNS, The ceremony comprises 15 awards and performances from the continent’s hottest emerging talent. Last tickets on sale now.

FunX – Talent Development
In two FunX Presents-panels it’s all about the positive power coming from the urban scene and how young urban artists appear on the radar via the programme FunX Talent. Led by Pim Lauwerier, Bart van Houten (Van Klasse), FunX-dj and music programmer Patrick Coelho and artists YannO and Sarita Lorena, will explain how FunX Talent has boosted careers for young urban talents.

IMMF Presents: Show Me the Money
The old business model for artists – getting signed to secure funding for recording, manufacturing, distribution, marketing and touring – is nowadays more and more replaced by new ways for artists to fund and create their art. Tim Quirk – Zedge (US), Takuya Yamazak – Field R (JP) and Jake Beaumont-Nesbitt – IMMF (GB) will explore the future of music monetisation and offer key insights for creating a new investment model for those revenue streams and for future art and artists.

Meet the Belgians – Speed Meetings
As part of a mini Dutch x Belgian focus on the Saturday of ESNS, Dutch delegates get the chance to sit down for 10 minute speed meetings with important Belgian promoters, agents, labels and managers. A unique opportunity to do business, get feedback on a project or expand your network and knowledge. Dutch delegates can sign up here.

EU Copyright Directive
Before last summer, the EU adopted the Copyright Directive. But what does it mean? Will it lead to filtering and what is the the role of stakeholder dialogues? Moderator Helienne Lindvall will ask Tobias Holzmuller – GEMA (DE), Marc Sundermann – Bertelsmann (DE), Nicole Schulze – Aepo-Artis (DE), Anna Mazgal – Wikimedia (PL) what will change and how the music sector can profit.

The Festival Marketing Update
Yourope’s European Marketing and Communication Group (EMAC) will present some interesting cases drawn from the hottest topics of what was going on last year in the world of festival marketing. The main topics of this panel include: how to go international, social responsibilities and sponsorship projects.

Security and Crowd Management
The world of health, safety, security and crowd management is often seen as poorly paid, and the last area thought about for an event or a festival. In this panel, presented by Yourope’s YES Group, all-seasoned professionals will be providing key insights into what is wrong and worrying about this, how to fix it and why it is crucial to tackle these issues now.

The ESNS 2020 festival timetables are now available online, as well as the ESNS 2020 app for iOS and Android. Download the app in the App Store or Google Play.