Musicians are walking on the Vismarkt carrying their instruments, TV crews are trying to capture the mesmerizing atmosphere and construction workers are building a massive stage on the Grote Markt – Eurosonic Noorderslag is about to begin! Eurosonic Noorderslag is Groningen’s biggest festival with 33.000 visitors and over 300 shows in four days. It seems like Groningen is at its best during these dark winter days in January.
Once you’re in the center of the city – at the Poelestraat or the Grote Markt – there’s music all around. People are walking around with a guide in which all the performing artists are listed, practically every bar has a poster with a line-up, and the Coffee Company and CD store Plato are a platform for some artists to show previews of the shows later that evening.
From Wednesday the 15th ‘till Saturday the 18th Groningen turns into a market for musicians like Selah Sue, a Belgium singer-songwriter, James Vincent McMorrow, an Irish revelation and Dutch rock band Di-Rect. They all strive to perform at their very best in order to persuade labels and other professionals in the business. One of the most special aspects of Eurosonic Noorderslag is that one of the artists will be paid for playing in Groningen, because it’s such a big chance for them to show how good they are!
Formerly the festivals ‘Eurosonic’ and ‘Noorderslag’ were separated. Eurosonic was an international event for English speaking artists and Noorderslag was a Dutch festival. Nowadays these two are combined into one festival. The first two days, Wednesday and Thursday, are the international days and on Friday and Saturday only Dutch artists will perform. Unfortunately, it isn’t possible to buy a ticket for the complete festival, but don’t worry! It is possible to see artists perform in the Coffee Company and Plato and of course, there is the main stage on the Grote Markt where you can enjoy lots of shows during the festival! And yes, they’re all for free…
So are you worrying about what to do in the dark days after Christmas and New Year’s Eve? No worries! The best is yet to come in Groningen. Go to one of the free shows of Eurosonic Noorderslag and find out who is the next big thing in music!
By Benjamin de Bruijn