Ahead of the 13th edition of the European Festival Awards next month, organisers ESNS (Eurosonic Noorderslag) has announced that its Lifetime Achievement Award will go to Ruud Berends, owner and CEO of Networking Music.

The shortlist of 12 European Festival Awards categories have also been announced, following more than 50,000 votes cast. The event takes place on 17 January in Groningen, The Netherlands.

Elsewhere, ESNS has completed its full music line-up of 256 acts from 36 European countries to perform from 17-20 January. These include newly announced Dutch acts CHARLOT, Hiqpy, Karsu, Noor, Numidia and Sophie Straat.

Lifetime achievement 

Berends, who stepped down from Dutch music showcase festival ESNS in May, is the co-founder and Head of Agenda of IFF in London and advisor for Westway Lab in Guimaraes, Portugal, Canadian Music Week in Toronto, California, and SoAlive Music Conference in Sofia, Bulgaria.

From 2002 to March 2023, he worked for Buma Cultuur and ESNS as Head of Conference, ETEP & CEETEP, international marketing and sales. ESNS’ European Talent Exchange Programme (ETEP) is the brainchild of Berends.

From 2002 until 2018 Berends was project manager of the various Dutch Music Export organisations and executive producer of the Dutch Impact Parties for Buma Cultuur.

Before that, Berends was co-founder and co-owner of international booking agency Paperclip. The agency took bands such as Soundgarden, Nirvana and Mudhoney on tour across Europe.

Berends said, “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.”

The full European Festival Awards shortlist:

The Brand Activation Award
Heroes & Hype Festivals & Unilever Axe, DE
Montreux Jazz Festival & Audemars Piguet, CH
Rock for People & Komerční Banka, CZ
Ruisrock Festival & UFF, FI
Superbloom Festival & FC Bayern München x adidas, DE
Untold & Regina Maria, RO

The Take a Stand Award
Provinssi, FI
Pohoda Festival, SK
Roskilde Festival, DK
Sonraìz, ES
Sziget Festival, HU

The Green Operations Award
Boom Festival, PT
Department Festival, SE
Roskilde Festival, DK
The Green Gathering, GB
We love Green, FR

The Event Safety Award
Happiness Festival, DE
OpenAir St.Gallen, CH
Pohoda Festival, SK
Pol’and’Rock Festival, PL
Rocco del Schlacko Festival, DE

Promoter of the Year
Alias, FR
Alter Art, PL
Artmania, RO
FKP Scorpio, DE
Gadget abc Entertainment, CH
Mad Cool, ES
Oya Festivalen, NO
Primavera Sound, ES
Roskilde Festival, DK
Sziget Cultural Management, HU

Agent of the Year
Anne Bewers – Wasserman Music
Chalie Myatt – 13 Artists
David Bradley – WME
Etienne Ziller – Astérios Spectacles
James Whitting – Wasserman Music
Jon Ollier – One Fiinix
Jules De Lattre – UTA
Steve Zapp – ITB
Summer Marshall – ITB
Tom Schroeder – Wasserman Music

The Award for Excellence and Passion
Alexander Schulz, DE
Anders Wahren, DK
Claire O’Neill, GB
Eric van Eerdenburg, NL
Maiju Talvisto, FI
Michal Thomes, CZ
Nika Brunet Milunovic, SI
Nikos Loris, GR
Stephan Thanscheidt, DE
Vlad Yaremchuk, UA

Newcomer of the Year
Balming Tiger, KR
Boygenius, US
Cat Burns, GB
David Kushner, US
Skaar, NO
Son Mieux, NL
Talk, CA
The Haunted Youth, BE
Wizkid, NG
Yard Act, GB

Line-Up of the Year
Glastonbury, GB
Lowlands, NL
Mad Cool, ES
Open’er Festival, PL
Øya Festivalen, NO
Primavera Sound, ES
Rock en Seine, FR
Rock Werchter, BE
Roskilde Festival, DK
Sziget Festival, HU

Best Small Festival
Flash Festival Tuscany, IT
Focus in the Park, RO
Inota Festival, HU
Jazz in der Park, RO
Le Guess Who? Festival, NL
Maifeld Derby, DE
Noches del Botânico, ES
Sharpe Festival & Conference, SK
Sofia Live Festival, BG

Stars in Town, CH

Best Medium-Sized Festival
Bilbao BBK Live, ES
Clout Festival, PL
Codru Festival, RO
Heineken Balaton Sound, HU
Lovefest, RS
Montreux Jazz Festival, CH
Nostalgia Retro/Disco/Duture, RO
Orange Warsaw Festival, PL
Pohoda Festival, SK
Rock for People, CZ

Best Major Festival
Beats for Love, CZ
Colours of Ostrava, CZ
Electric Castle, RO
Hurricane Festival, DE
Nature One, DE
Neversea Festival, RO
Open’er Festival, PL
Primavera Sound, ES
Sònar, ES
Ultra Europe, HR

The Lifetime Achievement Award
Ruud Berends, NL