The 30th anniversary of the European emerging talent festival Eurosonic Noorderslag occurred from January 13 – 16 in Groningen, The Netherlands. It stayed true to its ethos of stimulating the circulation of European music by showcasing 345 European acts, among which 34 were from the 14 countries within the CEE focus region. During the day, 124 international professionals from 40 countries participated in the Eurosonic Noorderslag conference and European Production Innovation Conference (EPIC) in order to network and discuss all the latest developments in the European music industry.
The 7th edition of the European Festival Awards took place on the opening night of the event, which presented accolades across 15 categories to festivals such as Sziget (Best Line-Up), Untold (Best Major Festival), and Lollapalooza Berlin (Best New Festival). The full list of winners can be found on the EFA’s official website.
For the second time, Insights was onsite at Eurosonic Noorderslag to speak to some key innovators in the festival industry. One of said innovators was PlayPass, the European RFID solutions provider and a sponsor of the Festival Awards. Insights spoke to PlayPass CEO David de Wever about the organisation’s plans for 2016. “One of the recent developments with PlayPass is the certification and integration of our solutions with PayPal,” said Wever. “We’re now looking at opening the platform more through APIs so we can connect more easily with ticketing companies, payment gateways, and hardware.
“2016 is also about us expanding internationally. We recently opened a UK office and we’re shortly opening another in Barcelona. We’re aiming at having four independent deployment teams; there’s a lot of development on the roadmap.”
The Canadian festival management software outfit Marcato was also around to discuss its immediate future. Marcato CEO Darren Gallop said the following on the firm’s plans for 2016: “We have quite a lot on our plate for 2016, a lot of festivals this summer. We’ve recently made significant performance improvements to the platform, and in the near future we’ll be incorporating some really cool workflow and automation features into it.
“We have a lot of plans in the US and Canada for the remainder of the year, and we’re also looking to further penetrate European and UK markets.”
Elsewhere, Insights spoke to Charlie Presburg, Sales Manager for VIP Booking. The subscription-based B2B service provides an online database for people working within the international live music industry. “Most of our clients are artists, agents, managers, promoters, venues, and festivals,” said Presburg. “We essentially connect people. We put the information up on the website, subscribers can then access and upload information, create electronic press kits and send HTML emails. There’s also a data-finding service to check artists’ availability.”
VIP Booking also publishes a physical directory every January, which includes a fraction of the information present on the service’s online database. Supplementing this is the twice-yearly print publication VIP Magazine, plus an electronic newsletter entitled VIP News that they send to around 20,000 industry professionals worldwide.
Coming straight from the company’s Europe 2016 conference, the Head Pilot of Intellitix, Serge Grimaux, told us about the rapid growth of the organisation and his changing role within it:
“For me 2016 will be a fantastic year because I am no longer needed in the operations side of the company,” said Grimaux. “It’s grown enough so that I can take a vantage point over the race and see if we’re heading in the right direction.
“I always say that we create an environment, one that is technology driven. Right now it is focussed on RFID but there’s so much more we can bring into that environment. It is my mission in the company now to ensure that I gather all the necessary resources for our rapidly growing team so that they can implement our vision. On the one hand, not being involved in the operation any more is a blessing because it gives me so much freedom. On the other hand, it’s a slight shame because I love it. But as far as dilemmas go it isn’t a bad one.
“Intellitix has now entered its teen phase, and as a teen not only do you ride motorbikes at 200km an hour, you decide what you really want for the future. You make big choices, structure yourself and eventually become something more mature. Giving this company a chance to define itself and continuing to strive towards its vision is what 2016 is all about. It’s extremely exciting for me to be in this position.”