Festivals VLURE, CMAT & more: the unmissable acts playing ESNS 2023

Ahead of the Groningen new music festival taking place next week, we run through a handful of the acts everyone should be watching.

It’s no secret that festivals have been forced to look a little different over the past few years, so it’s brilliant to confirm that - after two years of having to shape shift into more online-focussed events - ESNS, aka Eurosonic Noorderslag, will be back in full swing for 2023; what’s even better is DIY will be heading back there too.

As of next week, the city of Groningen in the Netherlands will be transformed into a music industry hub, with hundreds of new artists travelling across Europe to take over its venues each evening. And while there’s plenty of other activities to delve in across its three days - a full blown conference! The Music Moves Europe Awards! - it’s the live music that we’re most excited to get stuck into.

Ahead of the 2023 edition of ESNS, here are just a few of DIY’s favourite new acts, who’ll be appearing across the line-up…


Fresh from headlining our recent Hello 2023 live show at London’s Old Blue Last - read our report from the night here - Scottish quintet VLURE will be packing their scowls and synths, and heading to Groningen for what’s sure to be a blistering performance. Expect mosh pits, heady dance breakdowns and a good dose of euphoria in amongst their darkly delicious offerings.

VLURE play VERA on Wednesday 18th January at 11:45pm.

Big Joanie

Admittedly, Big Joanie aren’t exactly a new band anymore, having already released two brilliant albums, but they are one of modern punk’s most vital acts. With their most recent full-length - last year’s ‘Back Home’ - the trio have continued to offer up a dynamic take on their heartland genre, pushing their own boundaries in the process. “While they’re still recognisably punk to their core,” DIY’s review said, of the record, “elsewhere, they’re making astronomical leaps.”

Big Joanie play Blauwe Hemel on Saturday 21st January at 12am.

Personal Trainer

Marking one of their first shows of the new year - and kicking off a Dutch tour to boot - Amsterdam’s own Personal Trainer are sure to be a real highlight of this year’s festival. Having previously been forced to play the digital-only version of the event back in 2021, this year they’ll be bringing their fuzzy, Pavement-esque musings - as well as debut album ‘Big Love Blanket’ - to the stage for what’s sure to be a real full circle moment.

Personal Trainer play Fri 20 JAN - Huize Maas on Friday 20th January at 10.15pm, and Oosterpoort (Foyer Grote Zaal) on Saturday 21st January at 11:45pm.


ESNS always prides itself on showcasing talent from across all of Europe, but Brighton-based trio CIEL manage to do just that within their own line-up. With their members hailing from The Netherlands, Spain and the UK, it’s not just their geography that’s far-reaching; their offerings so far - which include recent EP ‘Not In The Sun, Nor In The Dark’ - have emerged from a glorious melding pot of scuzzy guitars, gothy synths and pop hooks.

CIEL play Werkman College on Wednesday 18th January at 11.45pm.


Ever since Ciara Mary-Alice Thompson - aka Ireland’s own CMAT - entered our lives with her wonderfully witty musical musings just a few years ago, we’ve been utterly hooked. Now, with the release of last year’s debut ‘If My Wife New I’d Be Dead’ and a hefty run of shows under her belt, we can’t wait to catch her live this year to see how many more camp cowboy capers will unfold.

CMAT plays Stadsschouwberg on Thursday 19th January at 11pm.

Marta Knight

As this year’s festival “focus country”, Spain will be bringing a slew of new acts to showcase at this year’s edition of ESNS, including Barcelona-based singer Marta Knight. Fresh from releasing her debut album ‘Strange Times Forever’ last year, her brand of confessional songwriting may be inspired by the likes of Bob Dylan and Johnny Cash, but its pop lilt is still very much rooted in the present day.

Marta Knight plays Stadsschouwburg on Friday 20th January at 8pm.

ESNS 2023 takes place in various venues across Groningen in The Netherlands from Wednesday 18th to Saturday 21st January. For more info, head to their website.

Your subscription could not be saved. Please try again.
Your subscription has been successful.

Stay updated!

Get the best of DIY to your inbox each week.

Get your copy of the latest issue