Dago Houben, the longtime general manager of the ESNS showcase festival and conference has announced plans to step down from his leadership role at the long-running event.

The sold-out, 37th edition of ESNS saw more than 40,000 festivalgoers and 4,250 industry professionals from more than 50 countries gather at the event in Groningen, the Netherlands.

ESNS said that following Houben’s departure, Frans Vreeke will serve as the organisation’s interim director and Daniële Streep will act as deputy director while the event’s Supervisory Board conducts a search for a permanent replacement.

According to ESNS, Houben’s departure comes amid a difference of opinion within the ESNS leadership over the organisation’s development of the event.

Houben joined ESNS in 2009 and oversaw the growth of the event to a globally respected platform for European pop music.

His accomplishments while at the helm of ESNS include securing multi-year European project grants, solid partnerships and a place in the basic cultural infrastructure (BIS) of the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science.

“Dago was director since 2009, a very successful period for ESNS in which it has grown into a globally respected platform for European pop music. We thank him for his commitment,” stated ESNS Advisory Board chairman Antje Diertens.

“It is with pride, but certainly also with sentiment, that I bid farewell to a great event and a wonderful organisation with great cultural relevance. I thank everyone who has supported and assisted me and ESNS over the past years. It was a privilege to be able to lead this organisation,” said Houben.