The 24th annual Eurosonic music conference and festival concluded over the weekend with Noorderslag, an evening (Jan. 16) of showcases by some of the most promising new Dutch acts.

It followed the final day of the conference, which was hampered by the cancellation of keynote speaker Bob Lefsetz due to ill health. The outspoken music industry commentator and author of the "Lefsetz Letter" was due to headline the day's proceedings in a Q&A session.

Also taking place on the final day was a Music Managers Forum meeting, panels on environmental sustainability at festivals, international funding for music events and the first selection meeting for the European Talent Exchange Program (ETEP).

This year's Eurosonic sold out its conference, which increased capacity to its highest yet at 2,800 (last year 2,650). The number of territories represented by delegates grew from 34 to 43, while organizers also report a rise in international media attending. The festival element also saw its quickest sell-out to date, with tickets snapped up in about two hours.

The 2010 event hosted the first annual European Festival Awards as well as the seventh annual European Border Breaker Awards, which honor artists from the EU that have had success outside their home territories. Justin Timberlake's protégé Esmee Denters was among this year's recipients.

Peter Smidt, founder and creative director of Eurosonic, tells the growth is promising but he has no plans on trying to compete with bigger conferences such as Berlin's Popkomm and Cannes' Midem. "This year, by using more rooms at De Oosterpoort, we could increase [conference] capacity to 2,800 and sold out just a bit before Christmas," he says. "We may get a little bigger next year due to demand but we want to make sure we have the right people there, so we don't really want to grow too much."

Smidt is looking forward to further developing both awards shows and gaining greater cross-media coverage around the world for next year's production. At present, Eurosonic is broadcast across the 25-strong EBU network of radio stations in territories including Holland, Belgium, France and Ireland.