AIF’s Festival Congress: First Speakers Announced & Tickets On-Sale

24 Jul 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 for tickets.