Bishop Briggs, Blackwave Among Winners of Inaugural Music Moves Europe Awards

Honors were handed out at Holland's Eurosonic Noorderslag (ESNS) conference.

Bishop Briggs
Courtesy of Eurosonic Noorderslag/Joorn Baars

Emergent artists from across the EU are in Groningen this week to play showcases for music festival bookers, and several award shows took place Wednesday evening to toast top talent. Accordingly, bands were on hand from all corners of the European Union to collect prizes (and grant money) that will further careers.

The Music Moves Europe Talent Awards replaces the long-running European Border Breakers Awards (EBBAs), and is given to “emerging artists who represent the European sound of today and tomorrow,” as chosen by a jury featuring names such as Huw Stephens (presenter, BBC Radio 1), Julia Gudzent (festival programmer, Melt!) and Wilbert Mutsaers (head of content, Spotify Benelux).

Winners such as Bishop Briggs (pop) and Belgium’s Blackwave (hip-hop) were previously announced in November, but were awarded the prizes Wednesday evening (Jan. 16) in Groningen, along with the newly-announced audience award winners, which were revealed at the event this week.

“We’re really just starting to think about moving our music career abroad, so this is the perfect stepping stone for us,” producer/singer Willem Ardui of Belgian urban duo Blackwave, told Variety of their win. “We’re really honored that the moves we’re making in our home country are being noticed and even awarded internationally.”

Other winners Wednesday evening were Pale Waves (UK) and Pip Blom (NL) in the rock category, Smerz (NO) and Stelartronic (AT) in the electronic category, Rosalía (ES) and Aya Nakamura (FR) in the R&B/Urban field, Reykjavíkurdætur (IS) in the rap genre, Avec (AT) and Albin Lee Meldau (SE) in the singer/songwriter slot.

A separate awards ceremony for European festivals (European Festival Awards 2018), also took place Wednesday evening at Eurosonic, with Germany’s Wacken Open Air winning ‘Best Major Festival’ and Denmark’s Roskilde Festival taking home two awards: ‘Line-up of the Year’ and ‘The Health & Safety Innovation Award.’