AIF Announces winners of Independent Festival Awards 2018

06 Nov 2018

Awards ceremony follows first day of this year’s Festival Congress in Sheffield

 The Association of Independent Festivals has announced the winners of the Independent Festival Awards 2018 at a packed-out event in Sheffield.

Hosted by Glastonbury Festival’s Ben Challis, the awards ceremony took place at 92 Burton Road this evening (Tuesday 6 November) following the first day of AIF’s acclaimed annual Festival Congress.

This year’s ceremony included seven awards designed to recognise the creativity and hard work across the industry. Winners included Black Deer Festival (New Festival on the Block), Henge (Live Act of the Year), The Data Mine at Shambala (Unique Festival Arena) and Truck Festival (Smart Marketing Campaign).

In addition, Director of Sheffield’s Tramlines Festival Sarah Nulty was posthumously honored with the Outstanding Contribution award. Nulty tragically passed away after a short illness earlier this year, aged 36.

Donations were collected on the evening for Weston Park Cancer Charity and Cavendish Cancer Care, two charities that provided care and support for Sarah during her illness.

The Act of Independence award was handed to Southbank Centre’s Meltdown Festival for replacing Frightened Rabbit’s set at the event with a panel on mental health awareness and the music industry, following the death of singer Scott Hutchison earlier this year.

Nominations were put forward to AIF’s 65 member festivals and then determined by a Festival Congress steering group vote.

The Independent Festival Awards Winners 2018:

Outstanding Contribution

Sarah Nulty (Tramlines)

Act of Independence

Southbank Centre’s Meltdown Festival

New Festival on the Block

Black Deer Festival

Unique Festival Arena

The Data Mine at Shambala

Live Act of the Year


Festival Caterer of the Year

The Peckish Peacock

 Smart Marketing Campaign

Truck Festival

 Following the ceremony, delegates enjoyed an ‘Under the Sea’ themed party and Silent Disco aftershow at Yellow Arch Studios.

The first day of the Festival Congress conference took place within the spectacular surroundings of Sheffield’s Crucible Theatre with inspiring keynotes from Fabien Riggall (Founder, Secret Cinema), Rob Chapman (author) and Dr. Kerry Howell (University of Plymouth).

The second day of the conference will feature a series of quick-fire talks and panels featuring the likes of Daniel Webb (Everyday Plastic), Zoe London (influencer and blogger), Dan Wood (UKIE), Ben Robinson (From The Fields), Becky Ayres (Sound City) and Joanna Leljevahl (Snowbombing).

 AIF CEO Paul Reed said: “The Independent Festival Awards was an outstanding celebrationand an emotional evening.Congratulations to all of the winners and nominees, who help reaffirm that the independent festival sector is in an incredibly strong place.

“I’m especially grateful to the Tramlines team and the family of Sarah Nulty for working with us to honour her incredible achievements and convey the admiration for Sarah that runs throughout the festival community.”