Updated: Feb 22
Four days, 347 musical acts, 33 countries, 150 panels and hundreds of music industry delegates, from agent to booker, to manager and marketer - the European showcase festival and conference Eurosonic 2020 was an event of diversity galore. Held annually in the northern Dutch city of Groningen, the event started on Wednesday the 16th of January with a focus on bringing young European music professionals together and ended on the following Saturday. Its final day was, like every year, mainly dedicated to the Dutch music scene.
While non-music geeks might not be able to recognize many of the names among the festival’s rich line-up, previous editions of Eurosonic have proven to be meaningful milestones for many artists at the top of the music industry today. Among the list of female talent that broke through quickly after taking part in the festival are now-acclaimed artists like Lykke Li, Selah Sue, Melanie de Biasio, Aurora and Anne-Marie - all fierce females shaping the music world of today and tomorrow.
"Among the list of female talent that broke through quickly after taking part in the festival are: Lykke Li, Selah Sue, Melanie de Biasio, a.o"
In its 34 years of history, Eurosonic has truly come a long way. Since the then-called "Holland-Belgium festival" was first organized in January of 1986 at Groningen’s De Oosterpoort as a battle between Dutch and Belgian pop bands, the festival has not only become more diverse in regards to artists’ origin but also gender-representation. When looking at this year’s line-up, there is no noticeable imbalance between female and male artists. There are countless fierce females listed among the solo artists, as well as all-female bands.
While we’d love to mention every single one of the wonderful women that graced one or multiple (!) of the 40 stages and venues over the course of the festival, we must admit to having found a couple of favorites. Are you ready for the female future of European music?
JOY CROOKES (@joycrookes)
The Bangladeshi-Irish singer with a soulful voice, witty humor and iconic style is the musical embodiment of mixed-roots, urban zeitgeist and a lust for life. Joy “Crooksie” Crooks, combines a voice that reminds us of early Amy Winehouse-releases with Kendrick Lamar-inspired beats and a fresh light-hearted approach on urban life, love and vulnerability.
♡ Her female factor: 100% “big clit energy”
♡ Her favorite tune: London Mine
CHARLOTTE ADIGÉRY (@adigerwww)
Charlotte Adigéry is both chocolate and vanilla, light-hearted and dark-minded, soft and forceful. With a smoothly soothing voice and hypnotizing synth-pop melodies, the Belgian artist with Caribbean roots makes “counting my brains all over your face” sound like the most relatable and joyful punch-line ever delivered in a song. Only two EPs out, and already a force to be reckoned with.
♡ Her female factor: effortlessly fierce
♡ Her favorite tune: 1,618
Attending one of Finnish electronic musician Detalji’s gigs is both taking a deep-dive into a cyberpunk-esque dystopia and attending a religious service at the church of techno. The Femma Award-winning producer, sound designer and singer dedicates her music to the beautifully dark sound of club culture.
♡ Her female factor: Queen of the Darkness
♡ Her favorite tune: Hot Problems
Emerging from the melancholic e-girl scene and a culturally rich background as an Ibiza-born, Antigua-raised German, Au/Ra serves a hauntingly beautiful sound that aims to provide comfort for outsiders, misfits and introverts. With the soft voice of a pop-songbird and trappy beats, the green-haired girl’s sounds reminds us of Billie Eilish, Melanie Martinez and Allie X.
♡ Her female factor: soft & strong
♡ Her favorite tune: Panic Room
Viah’s stage presence blends fascinatingly bizarre performance art in bulky vintage outfits with dreamy synth-ballads and vibrating beats. The Czech-Vietnamese singer explores fragility and soul-searching adventures in her music, accompanied by two female band members.
♡ Her female factor: 100% all-female band!
♡ Her favorite tune: Gasoline feat. Niro Baits
Of course, next to the exhilarating showcases at night, Eurosonic also offers an educating and brain-exercising array of panel talks and keynotes during the day. In regards to diversity, the event’s 150 panels generally provided a platform for a variety of music professionals of all backgrounds and gender identities. Most panels hosted both female and male music professionals, which we were excited to see. Female bookers, agents, artists, and delegates of all kind appeared to have been given equal opportunity to make their voices heard as their male counterparts. With this in mind, perhaps the only aspect of the festival and congress leaving room for improvement was the gender-balance among the event attendees themselves. Just by looking around, one got the impression that roughly 65% of the music professionals at Eurosonic trade fair were white males in their thirties. Next year, we’d love to see some more music companies sending out their boss-ladies to do some networking. You heard us, music industry?
All in all, we were excited to see an international, genre-blending festival celebrate diversity so effortlessly and successfully. We discovered our new favorite female acts of tomorrow, had enlightening conversations with like-minded music lovers and learned about the future of European music. Our overall verdict of the #equalityempowerment factor of all ESNS-organized events? Groningen did great!