European Talent Exchange Programme: Still boosting international careers 30 Nov 2021
With the current combined challenges of Brexit and Covid, the outlook for European artists wanting to tour internationally often feels bleak, so it’s heart-warming to be reminded of an initiative that promises to improve live prospects for emerging artists.
The European Talent Exchange Programme (ETEP) has been creating live opportunities for European artists for nearly twenty years now, raising profiles and boosting international careers across the continent and beyond. An initiative of Eurosonic Noorderslag festival (ESNS), ETEP facilitates the bookings of European acts on festival bills outside their home countries and generates extensive media coverage thanks to an established partnership with the European Broadcasting Union (EBU).
ESNS is an annual four day showcase festival and conference event in Groningen, Netherlands that attracts over 4000 industry executives. The organisers are passionate about helping emerging artists kickstart their careers and giving them as much momentum as possible. Dua Lipa described the festival as “a massive step in [her] career” and Fontaines DC said that “Eurosonic was a highlight”. As previously reported in Record of the Day, due to Covid restrictions, the first ever online edition of ESNS took place earlier this year.
Usually, acts selected for ETEP have the opportunity to perform live in front of countless industry executives at Eurosonic Noorderslag, including promoters for festivals. Those promoters receive incentives from ESNS to book ETEP acts for their own festivals and events. The global pandemic last year created challenges for the programme, which relies not only on festivals taking place, but also on artists being able to travel to the different festivals in order to perform. ETEP had to adapt: and so it was decided that participating festivals could promote artists on their digital platforms if the live events could not take place. This resulted in 102 different emerging artists from 31 European countries supported by bookings or promotions - quite a feat considering the industry had been brought to a near-standstill.
In 2021, festivals could select artists from the 2020 or 2021 cohorts. Artists such as Altin Gün, Holly Humberstone and Faux Real were all promoted, as well as artists featured in last year’s chart, including Black Country, New Road, Georgia and Arlo Parks.
130 international festivals are now members of ETEP - including The Great Escape and Glastonbury. The reach of the programme goes beyond European borders, with Coachella in the US and Clockenflap Festival in Hong Kong also participating.
The list of artists that have benefitted from the European Talent Exchange Programme speaks for itself: Calvin Harris, Christine and the Queens, Dua Lipa, MØ, girl in red and Sigrid all played some of their first international shows with the support of the programme. When Shame played in 2017, they were subsequently booked for 17 further shows and said “we wouldn’t have done anywhere near as many festivals if it weren’t for ESNS”.
Since the start of ETEP, organisers have facilitated over 4,000 shows by 1,600 acts in 38 countries. All this would not be possible without European Union funding; ETEP was one of the first EU programmes to support popular music on a European level.
ESNS is currently preparing its 2022 edition, which will take place in Groningen from 19-22 January and focus on Spain. Acts already confirmed to perform include hotly tipped favourites Alewya, Wet Leg and Mimi Webb.
For further information about ETEP, see etep.nl.
Find out more about ESNS 2022 visit esns.nl.
Words by Yasmin Lajoie
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