Every week our colleagues over in Amsterdam report on the current developments in the music scene of Northwest Europe.
By Jasper van der Put
So you’re a young, talented act. So you’ve got a couple of half-decent songs in the back-catalogue. Where to find an audience? Filling support slots for bigger artists requires is an honorable way to earn your chops…and go broke in the process. Participating in music competitions is another option, but many consider it ‘selling out’ or ‘phoney’, not to mention you probably forfeited your copyright by entering the contest.
Well, in the Netherlands we’ve got the answer.
The Dutch festival Popronde, pronounce as ‘pop-rohndah’, (www.popronde.nl) started back in 1994 as a side event for a local festival in the student city of Nijmegen. From there on, it grew into a traveling festival, visiting as many as twenty-five cities this year. In this way, bands that are only well known in their own city can get to know a new audience in other Dutch cities. Popronde has also gained acclaim as a platform that supports a broad range of artists without comprising their integrity. Last week the festival came to a conclusion at it’s traditional last stop in Eindhoven, ending up in a frantic, drunken live jam between some of this year’s top participants.
So what’s the recipe for this ingenious festival? Every year a special committee hand-picks 100 artists from a total of about 700 applicants stretching every conceivable genre. This selection is then programmed in varying combinations of about thirty acts per city. The programming is based solely on the capacity and taste of the venues and local promoters of Popronde – there’s no influence from big commercial sponsors or major record labels.
It’s a close-knit community of artists, pop promoters, booking agents and national media that have created a platform which has proven itself to be a fertile breeding ground for tomorrow’s leading artists. Whether the artists are singer-songwriters, rock bands or hip-hop outfits; they all took as a touring band at this festival. The involvement in recent years of a large range of national Dutch media only adds to Popronde’s status as a leading institution for talent development in the Netherlands.
Here are some of 2010’s noteworthy Popronde artists:
- Singer-songwriter Case Mayfield (http://casemayfield.com) proved he could (and would) impress literally anywhere, playing squares, toilets, riverboats and anywhere in between. Acoustic or plugged in–it didn’t matter.
- Bombay Show Pig (http://www.myspace.com/bombayshowpig) proved a winning number for afterparties and loud rock venues. An interesting mix of stoner, garage and electro influences.
- I Am Oak (www.myspace.com/iamoak) hypnotised audiences left and right with their soft-spoken folk songs.
- Eins, Zwei Orchestra (www.myspace.com/einszweiorchestra) and Marlon Penn (http://marlonpenn.bandcamp.com) added some top-of-the-bill alternative sounds to the mix.
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