Arriving to Groningen via Amsterdam by plane and train, you get a sense of why The Netherlands is an attractive place to hold a summit like Eurosonic. There are thousands of people making the same trip to the northern city in a bid to see what is new in the live music circuit, but also to have a lot face to face meetings that would normally be done by email or phone. But what makes people come back every year or even make their first trip?
Well speaking to a number of delegates, who are the main type of people attending, you hear the story of trying to find something special amongst the countless gigs and people. A number of artist liaisons that I spoke to in passing seemed to find that informing people of what you doing is key, if you are making some give their point of view back, then your job is done to understand how labels and managers work together.
Yet, the live aspect is the main focus at night, but the gigs seem to fill and empty every few minutes. One Danish delegate told me that people are there to catch a lot of these bands in one place, if it does not work, they leave and try to catch someone else performing. A point well made considering Eurosonic is largely a showcase, not a stand alone set of gigs. Attending a jammed Hooton Tennis Club gig in De Spieghel’s main room on the opening night of the festival, near impossible to see the band from the beginning, a few people turned away after a few songs to leave, soon the room was breathable and a new set of faces was evident every 15 minutes.
There is this appeal of connecting with people who are in the venues and interviews, as you share the space with those who have the same interests as you. For media, talking about shows your magazine is putting on or an interview did with a performing artsis can be a great insight to other people’s experiences.
Learning that there is more than just artists, bookers, and media is another point. You would be hard-pushed not to bump into a label executive or artist liaison here, who leave most of the advocating within the panel room walls than in the social spaces of the Heineken Foyer or Tromp De Oosterport.
Returning after the hectic and eclectic haze of Groningen, a chance meeting with Dublin band Otherkin occurred at Amsterdam Schipol Airport. Interested to hear what their experience was, they seemed at ease with what a short trip could do for them in the coming months; “We’re a plug n’play band” says frontman Luke, before explaining they traveled the considerable distance to build on success at home and in the UK. The band did more than a handful of interviews with Eurosonic accredited media including the supportive 3voor12 station, who also had a host of acts in the VERA venue over the four days. The end result probably won’t be evident for about six to eight months, but the groundwork will have been done over 500 miles away.