Hav­ing paved the way for the likes of Kodaline, Hozier, Pic­ture This and more, Eurosonic has con­sis­tently pro­vided a plat­form for emerg­ing artists. Peter McGo­ran takes a look at the 2018 fes­ti­val.

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Eurosonic has had its fin­ger on the pulse of emerg­ing tal­ent in Europe for over three decades now, bring­ing the best and bright­est to the unique set­ting of Gronin­gen city, and putting them on-stage in front of mu­sic pro­mot­ers, fes­ti­val or­gan­is­ers and record la­bel tal­ent scouts.

Over the years, nu­mer­ous artists have ben­e­fit­ted from the tal­ent pro­gramme, gain­ing in­sight into the in­dus­try, ex­plor­ing the in­ter­na­tional mu­sic scene, and get­ting the chance to meet with pro­fes­sion­als who can set them on a path for their fu­ture.

Tak­ing place from Jan­uary 17-20 2018, the Eurosonic or­gan­is­ers have cast their eye over the bur­geon­ing Ir­ish mu­sic scene and we’re truly spoilt for choice when it comes to the nine artists they’ve selected.

We’re de­lighted that our Break­through Artist of the Year, Sea­mus Fog­a­rty (left), is get­ting the chance to per­form tracks from his truly ex­cep­tional sopho­more al­bum, The Cu­ri­ous Hand. Em­brac­ing ev­ery­thing from krautrock to tra­di­tional bal­ladry, as well as mix­ing con­ven­tional in­stru­men­ta­tion with ‘found sounds’, field record­ings and live elec­tron­ics, Sea­mus’ palate is a broad one, and his on-stage ex­e­cu­tion is sec­ond to none. We’ve no doubt that he’ll im­press.

Else­where, the am­bi­tious Dublin-based pro­duc­tion up-starts known as Dif­fu­sion Lab can boast that from their hum­ble ori­gins, they’ve man­aged to get two artists slot­ted in for the fes­ti­val this win­ter, in the form of highly touted stars, Soulé (right) and Ja­faris.

Soulé’s brand of elec­tronic pop, in­debted to UK garage, 2-step and R&B, has seen ev­ery one of her sin­gles be­come a viral hit. She also bagged her­self a Choice Prize nom­i­na­tion for her first sin­gle, ‘Love No More’, ear­lier this year.

Ja­faris, mean­while, has been con­coct­ing a heady brew of hip-hop and po­etry over the last few years, fus­ing it with a unique Dublin ver­nac­u­lar which is truly a joy to hear. The re­lease of his 2017 EP Vel­vet Cake put him on the map for Ir­ish fes­ti­val book­ers, and he cer­tainly showed us what he can do with in­cred­i­ble per­for­mances at Elec­tric Pic­nic and For­bid­den Fruit.

There’s also a quar­tet of in­cred­i­ble singer-song­writ­ers booked for the fes­ti­val in the New Year. Der­mot Kennedy stunned ev­ery­one with his pow­er­ful sin­gle ‘Glory’ ear­lier this year, which bore the in­flu­ence of folk singers like Ben Howard; David Keenan has mar­ried Ir­ish lit­er­a­ture with the folk mus­ings of Bob Dy­lan and The Dublin­ers on songs like ‘Cob­webs’ and the riv­et­ing ‘James Dean’; Ros­bor­ough ab­so­lutely dis­pelled the no­tion that Derry ac­cents can’t pro­duce great singing with ‘Burn Blue’; and Ryan McMul­lan was rightly recog­nised as one of Belfast’s bright­est stars when he found him­self sup­port­ing the likes of Foy Vance, Snow Pa­trol and Ed Sheeran.

Not to be for­got­ten are Bitch Fal­con, a trio of gritty artists from Dublin who we’ve come to love all the more be­cause they’ve shown time and time again that rock’n’roll is still thriv­ing in this coun­try. We put their lat­est sin­gle, ‘Of Yours’, in our Top 5 tracks from 2017, and we can’t wait for our European coun­ter­parts to get a taste of it live.

It’ll also be worth your while see­ing Belfast-based Robo­co­bra Quar­tet in the flesh. Fea­tur­ing off-beat jazz, post-punk fe­roc­ity and free­as­so­ci­at­ing lyri­cal PSAs, we guar­an­tee there won’t be any­one like them in Gronin­gen.

The fi­nal day of this four-day fes­ti­val will fea­ture per­for­mances from Dutch artists only. This year, we’ll be look­ing for­ward to catch­ing garage­rock band After­par­tees per­form for their fifth year. Orig­i­nat­ing from Horst aan de Maas, and driven by their love for en­er­getic ’70s punk and heart-break­ing power pop, this is a band soaked in the sounds of Iggy Pop, T-Rex and King Tuff.

Get ready for a seriously rock­ing start to 2018!

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