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First Speakers Announced and Tickets On-Sale

Date: 24/07/2017

Making waves earlier this year with their ground-breaking initiative ‘Safer Spaces At Festivals’, the AIF has announced that their annual flagship event will return to Cardiff for its fourth year in October. Selling out every year since its inception, the Festival Congress will play host to an incredible ‘Pseudoscience’ theme, set to play homage to the nonsensical and weird experiments made by scientists and festival promoters alike.

The standout event will be led by a keynote by Artistic Director and CEO of Manchester International Festival, John McGrath, in addition to quick fire talks from renowned author Zoe Cormier about her book Sex, drugs and rock n roll: The science of hedonism and the hedonism of science, and John Kampfner, Chief Executive of the Creative Industries Federation, who will speak about creative industry ‘red lines’ on Brexit. Dr Julia Jones of ‘Found in Music’ will discuss her forthcoming book ’The Rock n Roll guide to staying alive’, exploring the lifelong effects of music on human behaviour and the positive effects that music has on well-being.

There will also be a ‘Question time’ style panel exploring political issues in relation to festivals and featuring some leading lights of the independent festival world, with other key topics at the conference including event security, welfare, booking processes, up scaling small festivals and creative production. Another headline panel discussion will explore the next steps of AIF’s ‘Safer spaces’ campaign, which reiterated the zero-tolerance approach that festivals have to sexual assault with a 24-hour coordinated website ‘black out’ in May.

AIF Co-founder, Rob da Bank, says; “We’re back for a fourth year with Festival Congress, the ultimate conference and festival party for the independents. We’re proud of how essential this event has become and all at AIF HQ are buzzing to be joining the dots between festival promotion and science this year, in what promises to be a packed and extremely fun couple of days in Cardiff”

Held in Cardiff’s Wales Millennium Centre (WMC) between the 30th – 31st October, the Festival Congress is now a major fixture in the festival industry calendar. Every year, the two-day conference attracts over 400 delegates from across the festival and events world to celebrate the independent festival industry, including the Independent Festival Awards taking place at DEPOT.  The event offers unique networking opportunities alongside a platform for industry discussions and its progressive format includes TED x style Talks, interactive workshops and fireside chats with leading industry experts.

Attendees include notable festival organisers from the likes of Glastonbury, Bestival, Boomtown Fair, Kendal Calling, Shambala, End of the Road, Liverpool Sound City and many more. The event also invites speakers from every corner of the music sphere with a speaker alumni of Jude Kelly OBE (Artistic Director, Southbank Centre), Huw Stephens (Radio One and Swn Festival Co-Founder), Simon Parkes (Founder, Brixton Academy), Professor Tim O’Brien (Jodrell Bank observatory), Robert Richards (Commercial Director, Glastonbury) and many more.

The full conference programme will be announced in September.

Tickets to the AIF Festival Congress are on sale now; priced at £100 for AIF members, £135 to Friends of AIF and £200 general sale exclusively through headline event ‘Gold’ sponsor The TicketSellers. Please visit www.festivalcongress.com for tickets.

Core Programme, More Speakers & New Venue Announced

Date: 12/09/2017

The Association of Independent Festivals (AIF) has announced further details of its flagship event in Cardiff, featuring a two-day conference and Independent Festival Awards.

Confirmed for the 30th and 31st October, the fourth annual Festival Congress will play host to over 400 delegates and is expected to be the final year in Cardiff.   Extending the ‘Pseudoscience’ theme of this year, the first day of the conference will take place within the spectacular surroundings of National Museum Cardiff, with the second day at the Wales Millennium Centre (WMC) featuring a packed day of smaller scale panels and workshops entitled ‘Festivals Under the Microscope’.

Festival Congress is a ‘must attend’ date in the festival and live music calendar, renowned for debating key industry wide issues, providing enlightening workshops and hosting illuminating speakers.

The first day of the conference will see a headline panel discussion on AIF’s ‘Safer Spaces’ campaign featuring Kate Lloyd (Features Editor, Time Out), Rebecca Hitchen (Rape Crisis South London), Tracey Wise (Safe Gigs for Women) and Ami Lord (Standon Calling) in addition to a ‘Question time’ style political debate that will include UK Music CEO Michael Dugher and YouRope General Secretary Christof Huber.

There will be 15 separate workshops on the second day, with topics ranging from counter terrorism training, crisis communications, digital marketing trends and staff welfare to direct licensing, festival growing pains, Instagram for Live Events delivered by Music Ally, and top tips for contingency planning delivered by the Event safety Shop.

AIF is also partnering with Musicians Union for a discussion of gender and line-ups at festivals featuring MU artists and AIF promoters.

The ‘Building new worlds’ panel will explore how creative production, visual arts, décor, interactive experiences and installations contribute to a festival’s identity with some of the most creative brains in the industry including House of Bestival. There will be a ‘Sustainability focus’ session curated by Shambala festival in addition to new quick fire talks on booking artists by Ian Evans (IME Music), upscaling events and managing growth by Nick Morgan (The Fair) and the progress of the Fanfair Alliance on secondary ticketing by Annabella Coldrick (CEO of the Music Managers Forum).

Previously announced speakers include a keynote from John McGrath (Artistic Director, Manchester International Festival), Zoe Cormier (Author of ‘Sex, Drugs & Rock N Roll: The Science of Hedonism and the Hedonism of Science’) and John Kampfner (Chief Executive, Creative Industries Federation).

AIF General Manager Paul Reed said: “Following an eventful season, Festival Congress is an invaluable forum to debate the issues, challenges and opportunities facing the festival sector. We’re pleased to announce our most eclectic group of speakers and topics yet. From a day at the museum to the awards party and a packed day of festivals under the microscope, the event promises be a fun and informative couple of days”.    

The Independent Festival Awards takes place on the evening of the 30th October at DEPOT, Cardiff, followed by a dedicated after party at The Big Top venue. Awards nominees will be announced in October.

Tickets to the AIF Festival Congress are on sale now; priced at £100 for AIF members, £135 to Friends of AIF and £200 general sale exclusively through headline event ‘Gold’ sponsor The TicketSellers. Please visit www.festivalcongress.com for tickets.

PlayPass are the exclusive RFID partner for the Congress and BIMM will again be the educational partner.


Attendees have previously included notable festival organisers from the likes of Glastonbury, Bestival, Boomtown Fair, Kendal Calling, Shambala, End of the Road, Liverpool Sound City and many more. The event also invites speakers from every corner of the music sphere with a speaker alumni of of Jude Kelly OBE (Artistic Director, Southbank Centre), Huw Stephens (Radio One and Swn Festival Co-Founder), Simon Parkes (Founder, Brixton Academy), Professor Tim O’Brien (Jodrell Bank observatory), Robert Richards (Commercial Director, Glastonbury) and many more.

AIF’s Independent Festival Awards Shortlist Announced

Date: 09/10/2017

Gearing up for it’s fourth annual Festival Congress, the Association of Independent Festivals (AIF) has announced its Independent Festival Awards shortlist.

Taking place on Monday 30th October at DEPOT in Cardiff, this year’s winners will be announced during a sparkling awards ceremony hosted by Glastonbury Festival’s Ben Challis, as part of the AIF’s yearly flagship event.

This year, there are eight awards categories, designed to recognise the hard work and success of the very best events in the industry, including ‘New Festival on the Block’, ‘Unique Festival Arena’, ‘Mind Blowing Spectacle’ and ‘Live Act of the Year’.

The Festival Congress will be introducing a new Pioneer award for 2017, in order to recognise and celebrate the work of an individual in the festival world who has pushed the medium forward, creating new frontiers through their event.

The inaugural Pioneer award will be given to Secret Garden Party’s Founder and Head Gardener Freddie Fellowes. Fellowes is a founding AIF member whose event drew to a close this year after inspiring the UK festival scene with its multi-arts, participatory approach for 15 years.

The Act of Independence award will this year go to Greenbelt Festival for their work with Amal and their new Muslim artistry venue and programme, as well as their focus on Palestinian festival programming to mark the key anniversaries in Israel-Palestine this year. This is an extension of the festival’s long-term commitment to highlighting human rights issues in the Middle East conflict through artistry, ideas and activism.

The Cineramageddon area at Glastonbury, ‘Happy Kanye’ micro venue at Bestival, Mirracocco Luminarium at Bluedot, Cinderella’s Motel at Standon Calling, Womb With A View at Shambala and The Outlands at End of The Road are all up for Unique Festival Arena award this year.

Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes, Yonaka, IDLES, Oh My God! It’s The Church and Loyle Carner are all nominated for Live Act of the Year award.

Those in the running for other categories this year include the likes of Victorious Festival, Boomtown Fair’s ‘Sector 6’ area, Beyond the Tracks and Samphire Festival.

See below for a complete list of nominees.

AIF General Manager Paul Reed said: “The Independent Festival Awards will celebrate the energy and creativity coursing through the independent festival sector. We’re also extremely proud to this year acknowledge Freddie Fellowes as a truly inspirational pioneer who has contributed to the evolution of independent festivals on numerous levels with Secret Garden Party. We look forward to another memorable awards and party in Cardiff”.

Secret Garden Party Founder, Freddie Fellowes said: “It is fantastic to be chosen as the first pioneer. Thank you AIF. SGP has been one massive adventure for all of us involved and it is on their behalf that I accept it. It has been one hell of a roller-coaster ride that has shown me more love (and sometimes tears) than I ever thought possible. But every ride should know when to stop: it is a great privilege to be able to wrap up this project, letting it remain unspoilt in our memories and hopefully inspire other people to pioneer as well. The frontier always moves, so let’s keep it moving”.

The Awards will be followed by a dedicated aftershow party at The Big Top Venue, 10 Feet Tall in Cardiff.

This year the Festival Congress is expected to play host to over 400 delegates, and will be centred around the theme of ‘Pseudoscience’. The first day of events will take place within the spectacular surroundings of National Museum Cardiff, while the second day will be hosted at the Wales Millennium Centre (WMC), featuring a packed day of panels and workshops entitled ‘Festivals Under the Microscope’.

The event offers unique networking opportunities alongside a platform for industry discussions and its progressive format includes quick fire talks, training workshops and fireside chats with leading industry experts, with over 60 speakers confirmed for this year- including a keynote from Artistic Director and CEO of Manchester International Festival John McGrath, author Zoe Cormier and Creative Industries Federation Chief Executive John Kampfer. The second day will feature 15 smaller scale panels and workshops, with topics ranging from creative production to crisis management and contingency planning, digital marketing and counterterrorism.

Attendees include notable festival organisers from the likes of Glastonbury, Bestival, Boomtown Fair, Kendal Calling, Shambala, End of the Road, Liverpool Sound City and many more.

 

Ticket Information

Tickets for the two-day conference and awards are now on sale, priced at £100 for AIF members, £135 to Friends of AIF and £200 general sale exclusively through headline event sponsor The TicketSellers.

 

PlayPass are the exclusive RFID partner for the Congress and BIMM will again be the lead educational partner, with Help Musicians UK the exclusive charity partner.

 

For further information and tickets visit www.festivalcongress.com

 

The Independent Festival Awards shortlist: 

 

Unique Festival Arena

Cineramageddon at Glastonbury

The Mirracocco Luminarium at Bluedot

Cinderella’s Motel at Standon Calling

Happy Kanye at Bestival

Womb With A View at Shambala

The Outlands at End of The Road

 

Best Smart Marketing

Secret Garden Party’s VIP/Celebrity Obsession Theme

Bluedot Festival Sends Orbital into Orbit

Victorious Festival’s Madness Announcement

End of the Road’s Lineup Announcement Video

 

Live Act of the Year

Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes

Yonaka

IDLES

Oh My God! It’s The Church

Loyle Carner

 

Mind Blowing Spectacle

Secret Garden Party’s Saturday Night Spectacular

Bestival’s Temple & World’s Biggest Confetti Cannon

BoomTown Fair’s Sector 6

Nozstock The Hidden Valley’s Closing Festival Fire Show

Murmuration at Greenbelt

 

Festival Caterer of the Year (in association with NCASS) 

Happy Maki

Wingmans

Strumpets With Crumpets

Piecaramba

Nonno Luigi

 

New Festival on the Block

Aespia

Samphire Festival

Beyond the Tracks

Houghton Festival

Grinagog Festival

Act of Independence: Greenbelt Festival

Pioneer Award: Freddie Fellowes – Secret Garden Party