"The radio equivalent of the Eurovision Song Contest". Sounds about as attractive as pulling teeth, doesn't it? Well, even though this annual new music showcase is organised by the European Broadcasting Union - the ones responsible for the car crash TV of the Eurovision Song Contest every spring - Eurosonic is in fact in a league of its own.
For one thing, John Peel used to love coming, for another Karate have sung about the town where it takes place - Groningen, in the north of The Netherlands. Like The Great Escape in Brighton, SXSW in Texas, Transmusicales in France and ByLarm in Norway, Eurosonic is one of those events that John Niven described with such toe-curling accuracy in the satirical music industry novel Kill Your Friends. There's A&Rs embarking on bidding wars for the hottest new talent, festival bookers from across the continent looking to fill their summer bills and disgusting journos (I'm putting my hands up here) sniffing out the next hot thing to flog to the folks back home. But there's also 50,000 Dutch students going nuts as their university town (the equivalent of Cambridge or St Andrews) turns into the rock 'n' roll centre of Europe for three days a year.
At Eurosonic, each national public service broadcaster offers up a band that they think will do the business this year. Then a few more get thrown in. There's 250 acts in total.
British offerings include Errors, Esser, Kid British, White Lies, Frank Turner, Filthy Dukes and Emmy The Great. From Norway there's Casiokids, from France, John and Jehn, from Portugal, Buraka Som Sistema.
This year there's also a special feature on rising Belgian bands to big-up the bubbling scene in Ghent and Antwerp which is following on from the success of 2ManyDJs. Malibu Stacey and Zita Swoon head up the new wave of Belgian talent at this intriguing little festival.
Intrigued? here's all the details:
Jan 15th-17th 2009