(CelebrityAccess) — Music festival and conference Eurosonic Noorderslag announced that after 33 years at the helm, founder Peter Smidt will step down due to health reasons.
Originally conceived in 1986 as a showdown between Dutch and Belgian bands: Holland-Belgium, later renamed to Noorderslag, has grown to become one of the preeminent conferences and music festivals in the European scene.
Smidt also launched the ETEP (European Talent Exchange Programme), an international partnership between festivals, EBU radio stations, export offices, and ESNS.
The event has kickstarted countless careers and, in addition to many (inter)national prizes, such as EBBA (European Border Breakers Awards) and Music Moves Europe Talent Awards, the Popprijs has also been awarded since 1991.
Earlier this week, it was announced that Smidt would be presented with a Lifetime Achievement Award at the European Festival Awards, which take place later this month.
The nature of Smidt’s malady was not disclosed.
“Peter was unmistakably of the greatest importance for the development of the event. Without his enthusiasm, vision, and determination, we would never have been where we are now. We are very, very grateful for everything he has done and we are very happy that he will continue to advise us in the coming years. This allows us to look forward with confidence and we believe that his ideas, his vision, experience and network will also be sufficiently secured in the future,” ESNS Managing Director Dago Houben and Board Chairman Pierre Ballings said in a joint statement.
“Looking back on great years with beautiful results, I am unfortunately forced to say goodbye to my beloved work for ESNS because of the deterioration of my health. I remain available as an advisor while a fantastic team of capable colleagues is ready to take over my duties. I leave ESNS in their hands with confidence,” Smidt added.