The 2023 European Festival Awards (EFAs) officially opened proceedings at Eurosonic Noorderslag last night, with hundreds of festival organisers and staff attending the ceremony in Groningen’s Oosterport venue in the Netherlands.
Hosted by A Greener Festival’s Claire O’Neill and IQ Magazine editor Gordon Masson, the 13th EFAs saw festivals from more than 30 countries participating and 300,000 votes cast by the public.
With live performances from Berry Galazka (PL), Kingfishr (IE) and Picture Parlour (UK), the event crowned Wasserman Music’s Tom Schroeder and Poland’s Alter Art as Agent and Promoter of the Year, respectively, while Lowlands promoter Eric van Eerdenburg collected the award for Excellence and Passion.
FKP Scorpio’s Hurricane Festival was named Best Major Festival, Slovakia’s Pohoda awarded Best Medium-Sized Festival and Germany’s Maifield Derby taking Best Small Festival. Other festivals recognised included Hungary’s Sziget (Take a Stand Award), the UK’s Glastonbury (Line-Up of the Year), Switzerland’s OpenAir St.Gallen (Event Safety Award) and Portugal’s Boom Festival (Green Operations Award).
However, the biggest cheer of the night was reserved for former Eurosonic conference chief Ruud Berends who was given the Lifetime Achievement award. Referring to his exit from the event, he noted, “Life is full of surprises,” before delivering an emotional speech to the festival awards audience.
“In our more and more money-driven industry and world, where shareholders rule, it is important not to forget who we are”
“Receiving a lifetime achievement award sort of sounds like the end of a career, but it is not for me. I am not done playing and I love what I do,” he said. “I do love working with and for my current clients and friends; especially IFF and Greg Parmley in London… Neill [Dixon] from Canadian Music Week in Toronto; Nuno & Rui from the lovely West Waylab in Guimaraes Portugal; and Ruth from the new So Alive Music Conference in Sofia. Thank you for your trust and let’s build something great together.”
He added: “In our more and more money-driven industry and world, where shareholders rule, it is important not to forget who we are, where we come from, how we started, our love for music, the artists and especially the emerging artists who really need our support… I am happy, proud and grateful receiving this life time achievement award, especially as it comes from the festival family.”
Organised by Yourope, the European festival association, the ceremony’s presenting partner was See Tickets, sponsors included EPS and 3F, and the media partner was IQ Magazine.
The full list of winners was as follows:
Take a Stand Award (Presented by Take a Stand): Sziget Festival, HU
Line-Up of the Year (Presented by IQ Magazine): Glastonbury, GB
Event Safety Award (Presented by YES Group): OpenAir St.Gallen, CH
Agent of the Year: Tom Schroeder, Wasserman Music
Best Small Festival: Maifeld Derby, DE
Newcomer of the Year (Presented by ESNS): Balming Tiger, KR
Brand Activation Award: Heroes & Hype Festivals & Unilever Axe, DE
Best Medium-Sized Festival: Pohoda Festival, SK
Green Operations Award (Presented by GO Group): Boom Festival, PT
Best Major Festival (Presented by See Tickets): Hurricane Festival, DE
Award for Excellence and Passion: Eric van Eerdenburg, NL
Promoter of the Year: Alter Art, PL
Lifetime Achievement Award: Ruud Berends, NL
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