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  • Writer's pictureAlexandra Theodorou

Biggest travelling music festival in the Netherlands comes to Groningen Tomorrow

Updated: Oct 6, 2023

Popronde Event with Ioana Iorgu © Veerle de Vos

The Popronde festival is taking over the city of Groningen, providing a platform for up-and-coming musicians to showcase their talent.

On October 5th, the event will feature numerous free performances by a staggering 43 artists. The activities take place in 18 different settings including pubs, bars, and performance venues including Vera, the Grand Theater, or De Drie Gezusters bar.

Each locale has its own unique atmosphere and the artists performing will try to reflect it while bringing their own energy to the table.

A bit about the festival

Popronde is a travelling festival which means that artists tour from city to city in a span of three months. It was launched in Nijmegen in 1994 and has since taken place every autumn. As more and more locations have been added to the tour, it now includes a total of 42 cities.

As is tradition, Popronde kicked off in its home city and still continues until the end of November. This includes cities like Amsterdam, Alkmaar, and of course Groningen.

A total of 100 artists are selected from over a 1.000 applicants to tour the Netherlands. People with greater performing experience are often chosen based on their professional merit. However, Popronde primarily aims to provide lesser-known talent with limited reach, with the chance to broaden their audience and network.

According to Groningen’s coordinator Daan Noordhoek, Popronde is “a stepping stone towards the professionalization of new musicians.” Participants take on responsibilities such as organizing transportation, communicating with the venues, and managing their team and their social media which are necessary skills for the profession.

What do the artists have to say?

Abel is a young musician from Arnhem who makes hip-hop music with some inspiration from jazz. His biggest motivation for participating in Popronde was to gain a bigger audience.

Even though he took part last year, Abel got to have another shot this fall. This is rare, considering artists only get to participate once.

He believes he wasn’t ready the first time around. Still, the experience he gained last year allowed him to develop and confidently perform his art.

“I didn’t have a live show that I was proud of,” he says. “Now I do.”

© Abel Mellema

Other artists also feel that the festival helps them grow both personally and professionally. That is the case for Ioana Iorgu, who’s only touring for a month and already feels she’s learned a great deal. She’s gained skills in staying organized, setting up stages in different types of venues, and adapting the feel of her music to her audience, leaning into either an intimate or energetic vibe.

“I think it’s such an amazing thing to do. When I came to Groningen in 2018 and I heard of Popronde I thought ‘damn that’s so sick!’ It was a big dream of mine.”

Ioana Iorgu © Veerle de Vos

Ioana feels this is a big step in her career. It’s not only a great opportunity to grow but also because many bands that she looks up to, such as The Staad or Gold, also took off from the Popronde.

She wholeheartedly recommends that fellow young artists apply for the festival, despite potential challenges.

“Just last week, my string broke in the middle of the song and I had to quickly switch my guitar. It was chaotic but a lovely gig in the end. Everyone was moshing and dancing around so that was fun despite the trouble.”

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