European Festival Awards Announce Shortlists and Lifetime Achievement Award

With its 13th edition set to take place on January 17th in Groningen, The Netherlands the European Festival Awards has announced that this year’s Lifetime Achievement Award will go to Ruud Berends, the co-founder and Head of Agenda of IFF in London (GB) and advisor for Westway Lab in Guimaraes (PT), Canadian Music Week in Toronto (CA), and SoAlive Music Conference in Sofia (BG). From 2002 till 2018 Ruud was project manager of the various Dutch Music Export organisations and executive producer of the Dutch Impact Parties for Buma Cultuur. From 2002 to March 2023, he worked for Buma Cultuur & ESNS as Head of Conference, ETEP & CEETEP, international marketing and sales. In this position, Ruud Berends was crucial for the networking and interconnection of European artists and promoters alike – especially the European Talent Exchange Programme (ETEP) at Eurosonic was his brainchild.

In a previous life, Ruud also was co-founder, dj, cook, promoter and toilet cleaner of youth Centre Débarak in Zutphen and co-founder and co-owner of International Booking Agency Paperclip who broke the new and alternative scene into the eye of the mainstream throughout the 80’s and early 90’s. The agency took loads of bands on tour all over Europe, too many to mention – but Soundgarden, Nirvana and Mudhoney and their contemporaries were all part of the hustle.

“Life is full of surprises. I did not know that I was up for an award. I am deeply honoured, humbled and grateful to have won the Lifetime Achievement Award. Especially, as it is at the European Festival Awards, an event close to my heart. It means a lot to get this award from this part of the misic industry with many friends and music industry family in the room.” says Ruud Berends.

Congratulations to Ruud Berends and thank you for dedicating your professional life and beyond to connecting artists and the music industry in general!

The shortlists for 12 of the ceremony’s categories are available at