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Independent Festival Awards 2019 winners revealed

Date: 05/11/2019

Awards ceremony follows first day of AIF’s 2019 Festival Congress in Sheffield.

Winners include Standon Calling, Deer Shed Festival, Twisterella and KOKOKO! across eight categories including four new this year 

The Association of Independent Festivals (AIF) has announced the winners of the Independent Festival Awards 2019 at a packed-out event in Sheffield.

Hosted for the first time by actor, writer and comedian Thanyia Moore, the awards ceremony took place at 92 Burton Road this evening (Wednesday 6 November) following the first day of AIF’s annual Festival Congressconference.

This year’s ceremony included eight awards designed to recognise creativity and innovation across the independent festival sector. Winners included Standon Calling (Smart Marketing), Deer Shed Festival (Never Mind the Pollocks – an award for best festival artwork) and Twisterella (In On The Ground Floor – an award for forward-thinking booking).

Former Creative Director of Deer Shed Festival Megan Evans was also honoured with the inaugural Backstage Hero award, designed to give recognition to unsung individuals working hard behind the scenes to deliver festivals.

KOKOKO!, a collective formed in Kinshasa capital of the Democratic Republic of Congo, won the Live Act of the Year sponsored by PRS for Music.

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 2019:

Unique Festival Arena – The Street at Beat-Herder

Live Act of the Year (In association with PRS for Music) – KOKOKO!

Festival Caterer of the Year (In association with NCASS) – Flavors Of Africa

Smart Marketing – Standon Calling

In On The Ground Floor (In association with Marcato) – Twisterella

Never Mind The Pollocks – Deer Shed Festival

Backstage Hero – Megan Evans

European Festival – Pete the Monkey

The awards were given during a spectacular ceremony sharing the Festival Congress theme of ‘Utopia And Dystopia’, including creative production and décor from production company Pink Marmalade, and featuring fire dancers and live performers. It was followed by an aftershow party at Yellow Arch Studios with DJ Katie Owen.

The first day of AIF’s Festival Congress conference took place within the atmospheric surroundings of Abbeydale Picturehouse, a 1920’s cinema, and featured inspiring talks from the likes of Bing Jones (Extinction Rebellion), Owen Kingston (Parabolic Theatre) and Photographer Jill Furmanovsky, alongside a headline panel discussion about the nature of independence.

The second day of the conference will include a live recording of Rob da Bank’s ‘A to Z Of Festivals’ podcast with Deer Shed, and talks from Rebecca Wrigley (Rewilding Britain) Tim Leigh (Stage One) and a closing keynote from Bert Cole (Arcadia Spectacular).

AIF CEO Paul Reed said: “The Independent Festival Awards was a fantastic celebration and the awards ceremony felt like it had stepped up a gear with a new host, new categories and outstanding production that enhanced the overall independent festival feel of the evening.

“Congratulations to all of the winners and nominees, all of whom reiterate that the independent festival sector remains at the forefront of innovation and creativity. We’ll continue pushing forward into 2020.”

Amy Field, Senior Events Manager, PRS for Music: These awards are an important and relevant celebration of the independent festival sector and acknowledge the creativity and hard work that goes into producing some of the finest festivals in Europe. Congratulations to all the nominees and winners, including KOKOKO!, whose ingenuity and innovative sound won them live act of the year.

 

 

Independent Festival Awards 2019 shortlist revealed

Date: 07/10/2019

  • Four new categories including ‘European Festival of the Year’, ‘Backstage Hero’ and ‘In On The Ground floor’
  • Actor, writer and comedian Thanyia Moore to host
  • Final conference speakers announced including keynote from Owen Kingston, Artistic Director of immersive theatre company Parabolic Theatre
  • Tickets on sale now

The Association of Independent Festivals (AIF) has announced the shortlist for the 2019 Independent Festival Awards, which will take place on 6th November in Sheffield as part of its sixth flagship Festival Congress.

Taking place again at 92 Burton Road in Sheffield, this year’s winners will be announced during an awards ceremony hosted for the first time by actor, writer and comedian Thanyia Moore.

In 2017, Moore joined the likes of Katherine Ryan, Andi Osho, Sarah Millican, Miss London Hughes and Desiree Birch when she was crowned Funny Women Champion, beating over 400 women in the process and also reaching the semi-finals of the BBC New Comedy Award in 2018.

In a shake-up for the Independent Festival Awards, there are nine awards categories in total this year, designed to recognise success and innovation across the independent festival industry. These include, ‘Unique Festival Arena’, ‘Smart Marketing Campaign’, ‘Live Act of the Year’ and four new categories: European Festival of the Year’, ‘Backstage Hero’, ‘In On The Ground Floor’ (forward thinking artist booking) and ‘Never Mind The Pollocks’ (best festival artwork).

The Smirnoff Arctic Disco at Snowbombing Austria, The Seaside Stage at Victorious, The Street at Beat-Herder, Elephant’s Grave at Nozstock and The Roadhouse at Black Deer Festival are all up for Unique Festival Arena this year.

The contenders for Live Act of the Year, presented in association with PRS for Music, are KOKOKO!, Yola, The Murder Capital, Black Futures, and Bloxx.

Elsewhere, Pete The Monkey (France), Snowbombing (Austria), Let It Roll (Czech Republic), Dunk! Festival (Belgium) and Blue Balls Festival (Switzerland) are all in the running for the inaugural European Festival of the Year award.

Nominees across other categories include Standon Calling, Barn On The Farm, Twisterella, Deer Shed and The Mighty Hoopla.

AIF CEO Paul Reed said: “We’re refreshing the Independent Festival Awards this year, with a new host and four new categories. The awards were set up as an irreverent alternative to other award shows, and the ultimate end of season celebration for the independent sector – so it’s important to keep moving. We’re delighted with the shortlist after receiving a record number of nominations from our members, proving there is no shortage of creativity and innovation in the independent festival sector. We’re doing even more with the production and theme of the awards this year to emphasise that festival feel – and we’ve introduced a European Festival of the Year category to demonstrate that, no matter what, the UK industry will remain a Europe-wide market and community.”

DJ/producer Bear Growls – dubbed ‘the purveyor of the cosmic boogie’ – will DJ at the awards, which will be followed by an after-show party at Yellow Arch Studios with DJ Katie Owen.

AIF has also announced the final Festival Congress schedule including an opening keynote from Owen Kingston, Artistic Director of immersive theatre company Parabolic Theatre, whose productions include ‘For King And Country’ and ‘Land Of Nod’.

Kingston joins over 45 speakers including previously announced Bing Jones (Extinction Rebellion), rock ‘n’ roll photographer Jill Furmanovsky, Bert Cole (Arcadia Spectacular), Rebecca Wrigley (Rewilding Britain), Chris Sheldrick (what3words) and many more, with panels and workshops on topics including sustainability, the nature of independence, volunteer management, festival apps and data, licensing, contingency planning and more.

The theme of the event is ‘Utopia And Dystopia’, and the two-day conference will take place at Abbeydale Picturehouse – a 1920’s cinema in Sheffield.

The Independent Festival Awards shortlist 2019:

Unique Festival Arena



Smirnoff Arctic Disco – Snowbombing Austria

The Street – Beat-Hearder

Elephant’s Grave – Nozstock: The Hidden Valley

The Roadhouse – Black Deer Festival

Seaside Stage – Victorious

Live Act of The Year (in association with PRS for Music)

KOKOKO!

Yola

The Murder Capital

Black Futures

Bloxx

Smart Marketing

Lewis Cowpaldi – Standon Calling

Potato Lineup – Truck Festival

2000 Palm Trees – 2000trees

Dinosaurs April Fools – Kendal Calling

Pre-event videos – The Mighty Hoopla

Backstage Hero

Megan Evans – Deer Shed Festival

David Peverly – Shambala and Boomtown

Nathan Stephenson – Nathan Stephenson Audio Production

Jean Lennihan – Black Deer Festival

Rob Nosworthy – Nozstock: The Hidden Valley

Alex Barton – Elderflower Fields

European Festival

Pete The Monkey

Snowbombing

Let It Roll

Dunk! Festival

Blue Balls festival

In On The Ground Floor (In association with Marcato)

Barn On The Farm

End Of The Road

Twisterella

Standon Calling

Hanwell Hootie

Never Mind The Pollocks

Pete The Monkey

Standon Calling

ArcTanGent

Deer Shed Festival

End Of The Road

Caterer of the Year (In association with NCASS)

Ghetto Grillz

Flavours Of Africa

Manjula Catering

Open Sesame

Eat Like A Greek

AIF announces full conference programme for Festival Congress 2019

Date: 02/09/2019

  • Legendary rock photographer Jill Furmanovsky, Rob da Bank’s A-Z Of Festivals podcast with Deershed, Arcadia Spectacular, Sensoria, Rewilding Britain, Extinction Rebellion and more.
  • In partnership with Energy Revolution, Festival Congress set to be first travel carbon-neutral events industry conference.

 

We are pleased to announce further details for the 2019 edition of flagship Festival Congress in Sheffield on November 6- 7, featuring a two-day conference and the Independent Festival Awards.

The sixth annual Festival Congress, following five consecutive sold-out events, is expected to attract over 350 delegates. The conference will take place at Abbeydale Picturehouse, a stunning, Grade II listed, 1920’s cinema.

The Independent Festival Awards will again take place at 92 Burton Road – a warehouse venue that is well known for its ‘Peddler Night Market’ events – and will feature décor and theatrical elements inspired by this year’s theme of ‘Utopia And Dystopia’.

Confirmed speakers include legendary rock photographer Jill Furmanovsky in conversation with ILMC MD Greg Parmley. Furmanovsky has photographed the likes of Oasis, Pink Floyd, Bob Dylan and Blondie across a 40-year career, in addition to extensively covering Glastonbury festival, and will be talking through some of her defining images.

Also confirmed is Rob da Bank’s A-Z Of Festivals podcast, which will be recorded live, featuring AIF member Deershed. In addition, Bert Cole of performance art collective Arcadia Spectacular will deliver a closing keynote documenting the transition from their Spider structure to their Pangea installation at Glastonbury this year and the ‘Arcadia Reach’ project.

Elsewhere, Rebecca Wrigley, Chief Executive of Rewilding Britain, will deliver a quick-fire talk about her organisation’s mission and the importance of rewilding; and Jo Wingate, Founder of Sensoria Festival, will talk about their immersive screening of Fritz Lang’s ‘Metropolis’ with a live score from Factory Floor on the site of a former steel mill. Chris Bailey (Boy in the Corner) will deliver a quick-fire talk about the power of radio and podcasting for festivals; and Tim Leigh of Stage One, which has delivered productions for the Special Olympics opening ceremony in Abu Dhabi and Mercury Music Prize, will talk about creating spectaculars and the curse of innovation.

They join previous announced quick-fire talks from Bing Jones (Extinction Rebellion), Dr Jennifer Otter Bickerdike (author and cultural historian), Chris Sheldrick (What3Words) and Jack Wiliamson (Music & You).

Panel and workshop sessions at Festival Congress this year include a headline debate around what ‘independence’ means in the current festival climate, a vision for a sustainable industry, festival funding, apps and the ethics of data collection, digital marketing impact, licensing, cashless technology, managing volunteers and more.

Festival Congress is also set to be the first travel carbon neutral events industry conference, working with Energy Revolution to balance the carbon emissions from travel for all speakers and staff with investment in projects that create clean renewable energy. Delegates will also be offered the option to balance their travel emissions with a donation at point of ticket sale – with 100% of all donations going directly to renewable energy projects.

AIF CEO Paul Reed said: “Following an exciting inaugural year in Sheffield, Festival Congress has firmly settled into its new home and is back with our most ambitious and varied programme to date. We’ll be debating the key issues currently facing the independent festival sector and, as ever, looking outside of the industry for inspiration. With Abbeydale Picturehouse, we’ve found a conference venue that is aligned with the content and Independent Festival Awards in terms of creativity and atmosphere. In addition, as part of our commitment to environmental change, and following our Drastic On Plastic and Take Your Tent Home campaigns, I’m delighted that AIF is working closey with Energy Revolution to walk the walk and be the first transport carbon neutral event industry conference.”

Previous AIF Festival Congress attendees include notable organisers from the likes of Glastonbury, Boomtown Fair, Shambala Kendal Calling, Shambala, End Of The Road and more.

Previous speakers and keynotes include Fabien Riggall (Secret Cinema) Jude Kelly OBE (Artistic Director, Southbank Centre), John McGrath (Manchester International Festival), Professor Tim O’Brien (Jodrell Bank observatory), Simon Parkes (Founder, Brixton Academy) and Huw Stephens (Radio One).

Festival Congress is again supported this year by Sheffield City Council, with tickets on-sale now, priced at £100 for AIF members, £135 to Friends of AIF, £185 to non-member organisations and £235 to non-member suppliers through headline event sponsor Eventbrite. Click here to purchase.

First speakers announced for AIF Festival Congress 2019

Date: 03/07/2019

Initial speakers and details have been revealed for the 2019 edition of the Association of Independent Festivals’ flagship Festival Congress.

The conference, along with The Independent Festival Awards, will return to Sheffield for a second consecutive year on November 6 – 7.

Tickets are on sale now via FestivalCongress.com

The theme of this year’s Festival Congress is ‘Utopia And Dystopia’. Initial confirmed speakers include Bing Jones of socio-political campaigning group Extinction Rebellion, and Rock ‘n’ Roll cultural historian Jen Otter Bickerdike.

Jones will speak about Extinction Rebellion’s tactics and the planning process behind their campaigns, and Bickerdike will deliver a quick-fire talk about fan communities.

Jack Williamson, founder of mental health and wellness company Music & You, will talk about supporting attendee’s mental health and well-being at music events, including the ‘LiveLive’ initiative his organisation launched in partnership with Lewis Capaldi for the star’s 2020 arena tour.

Chris Sheldrick will also attend to talk about how his frustrations in the live music industry with suppliers and artists struggling to find the correct venue entrances resulted in the foundation of What3Words, which divides the world into a grid of 3m x 3m squares and assigns each one a unique three-word address.

Other sessions will include ‘Festival Hacks’, with quick fire tips from festival organisers, a panel discussion on the meaning of independence in the current festival climate and a wide-ranging sustainability session that will cover innovative green initiatives from the 2019 season.

A full programme will be announced in September.

The Congress will move to a new Sheffield venue, The Abbeydale Picturehouse and Picturehouse Social, a stunning 1920’s art deco cinema, in 2019.

The Independent Festival Awards will again take place at 92 Burton Road, a warehouse venue that is well known for its ‘Peddler night market’ street food events. This year’s awards programme will be refreshed with new categories.

AIF CEO Paul Reed said: “We’re delighted to announce initial details of AIF’s Festival Congress 2019, our second in Sheffield. The theme of ‘Utopia And Dystopia’ feels very timely and we’re very excited about the conference moving to Abbeydale Picturehouse, which is an incredibly atmospheric 1920’s cinema. As ever, we aim to reflect the creativity, innovation and hard work at the heart of the independent festival sector as well as seeking outside inspiration. That is what makes Festival Congress a unique event in the festival industry calendar.”

The AIF’s annual Congress has become a major fixture in the festival world’s calendar, attracting between 350-400 delegates annually, with five consecutive sold-out events.

The event offers unique networking opportunities alongside a platform for industry discussions. Its progressive format includes quick fire 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.

Previous speakers and keynotes include Jude Kelly OBE (former Artistic Director, Southbank Centre), John McGrath (CEO and Artistic Director, Manchester International Festival), Huw Stephens (BBC Radio 1 and Swn Festival Co-Founder), Simon Parkes (Founder, Brixton Academy), Fabien Rigall (Founder, Secret Cinema) and many more.

Tickets to Festival Congress are on sale now, priced at £100 for AIF members; £135 for Friends of AIF; £185 for non-member festivals, educational establishments and other organisations; and £235 for non-friend of AIF suppliers.

The event is on-sale exclusively through headline event sponsor Eventbrite. Festival Congress will again be supported this year by Sheffield City Council.

Please visit festivalcongress.com for tickets.

AIF Announces winners of Independent Festival Awards 2018

Date: 06/11/2018

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

Henge

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.”

AIF announces Independent Festival Awards shortlist, Sarah Nulty of Tramlines awarded Outstanding Contribution

Date: 08/10/2018

  • Sarah Nulty of Tramlines to posthumously receive Outstanding Contribution award.
  • Meltdown awarded ‘Act of Independence’ for addressing mental health in the music industry.
  • Seven awards categories including New Festival on The Block, Unique Festival Arena, Smart Marketing Campaign and Live Act of the Year
  • Other nominees include Black Deer, Arcadia London, Elrow Town, Shame, Lost Village and the Forest Sessions at 2000Trees

 

Gearing up for it’s fifth annual Festival Congress, the Association of Independent Festivals (AIF) has announced the shortlist for the 2018 Independent Festival Awards.

Taking place on Tuesday 6th November at 92 Burton Road in Sheffield, this year’s winners will be announced during an awards ceremony hosted by Glastonbury Festival’s Ben Challis, as part of the AIF’s annual flagship event.

The Outstanding Contribution Award will be posthumously given to Tramlines Festival Director Sarah Nulty, who tragically passed away after a short illness aged 36 earlier this year.

There are seven awards categories in total, designed to recognise the hard work and success of the most innovative events in the industry, including ‘New Festival On The Block’, ‘Unique Festival Arena’, ‘Smart Marketing Campaign’ and ‘Live Act of the Year’.

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

The Forest Sessions at 2000 Trees, the Main Stage at Elrow Town, Abandoned Chapel at Lost Village, Paradise Heights at Boomtown and the Data Mine at Shambala are all up for the Unique Festival Arena award this year.

Magical Festival, El Dorado, Black Deer, Houghton and Arcadia London are all in the running for New Festival on The Block, while Dream Wife, Henge, The Blue Planet In Concert With The Halle Orchestra, Shame and Barney Artist are nominated for the Live Act of the Year award.

Nominees across other categories include Lost Village, Kendal Calling and 2000trees. See below for a complete list of nominees.

AIF CEO Paul Reed said: “The Independent Festival Awards are now an annual fixture and a true celebration of the creativity and innovation taking place across the independent festival industry”

“It feels fitting in our first year in Sheffield to honour Sarah Nulty with the Outstanding Contribution award, not only for her tireless work ethic and incredible achievements with Tramlines but the wider contribution that she made to the independent festival world and what Sarah meant to our community. See you in Sheffield”.

Tramlines Operations Director Timm Cleasby said: “We are all so proud that Sarah has received this award and never was it more deserved. To be recognised by her peers for all her hard work, drive and determination, is a true honour to her memory, and to the legacy she’s left behind in Tramlines”.

Commenting on the Act of Independence award, Bengi Ünsal, Senior Contemporary Music Programmer at Southbank Centre, said: “We are incredibly honoured and humbled to receive this award. After hearing the news of Scott Hutchison’s death, instead of leaving the Queen Elizabeth Hall un-programmed and keeping the issue in the dark, we wanted to use the space and the platform of Meltdown festival to bring people together and shine a light on the worryingly common issues of mental health across the music industry. I am grateful to this year’s curator Robert Smith and to the wider Southbank Centre team for making it happen, and to the bravely candid panellists for sharing their experiences.”

The Awards will be followed by an aftershow silent disco at Yellow Arch Studios.

This year, AIF’s Festival Congress is expected to play host to over 400 delegates and will be centred around an ‘Under the sea’ theme as a follow up to AIF’s Drastic on Plastic campaign earlier in the year. The first day of the conference will take place at The Crucible Theatre, with the second day hosted at Showroom Cinema.

Over 40 speakers are confirmed for the conference this year- including keynotes from Secret Cinema Founder Fabien Riggall, Shangri-la Creative Director Kaye Dunnings, author Rob Chapman and marine biologist Dr. Kerry Howell.

Final speakers for the programme are now confirmed, including Snowbombing Event Manager Joanna Leljevahl and Liverpool Sound City MD Rebecca Ayres. Click to see the complete schedule and list of speakers.

Attendees of the Congress include notable festival organisers from the likes of Glastonbury, Boomtown Fair, Kendal Calling, Shambala, End of the Road 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 £185 general sale exclusively through headline event sponsor Eventbrite.

The Independent Festival Awards shortlist 2018:

Outstanding Contribution: Sarah Nulty (Tramlines)

Act of Independence: Southbank Centre’s Meltdown Festival – Mental health panel in replacement of Frightened Rabbit performance

New Festival on the Block (In Association with Marcato)

Magical Festival

El Dorado

Black Deer

Houghton

Arcadia London

Unique Festival Arena

Forest Sessions at 2000 Trees

Main Stage at Elrow Town

Abandoned Chapel at Lost Village

The Data Mine at Shambala

Paradise Heights at Boomtown Fair

Live Act of the Year

Dream Wife

Henge

The Blue Planet in Concert with the Halle Orchestra

Shame

Barney Artist

Festival Caterer of the Year (In Association with NCASS)

Smokin’ Hot Tamales

The Peckish Peacock

The Lambassadors

Le Bao

Barbeque Dreamz

Smart Marketing Campaign

The Red Stars – Kendal Calling

‘Making Waves’ video game – Deer Shed

20th Birthday ‘Nozstalgia’ theme – Nozstock

Promotional videos- Lost Village

Renaming the event the ‘Gareth Southgate’ festival- Truck.

AIF Reveals Core Festival Congress Programme and Speakers

Date: 03/09/2018

Tickets on sale now.

The Association of Independent Festivals (AIF) has announced further details for its flagship Festival Congress event in Sheffield on 6th and 7th November, featuring a two-day conference and the Independent Festival Awards.

The fifth annual Festival Congress is expected to attract over 400 delegates. The first day of the conference will take place at Sheffield’s Crucible Theatre with the second day held the Showroom Cinema. The Independent Festival Awards will take place at 92 Burton Road – a warehouse venue that is well known for its ‘Peddler Night Market’ events, with an aftershow party featuring a festival style silent disco taking place at Yellow Arch Studios.

Confirmed speakers include Founder and Creative Director of Secret Cinema Fabien Riggall, who will deliver a keynote charting 10 years of the hugely successful and ground breaking immersive event. Rigall’s session is part of a series of quick fire keynotes featuring previously announced Shangri-La Creative Director Kaye Dunnings, author Rob Chapman and Dr Kerry Howell, who will talk about technology and deep-sea exploration- expanding on the spectacular ‘Under The Sea’ theme of this year’s event.

Joining them will be Daniel Webb of ‘Everyday Plastic’, who will talk about the project and what his objectives were in saving a year’s worth of plastic and transforming it into a mural; and influencer and blogger Zoe London who will talk about the ‘Instagrammable Festival’ and how organisers can harness the potential of the platform.

Professor Fiona Measham of The Loop will give an update on Multi Agency Safety Testing (MAST) as the harm reduction service is rolled out across more independent festivals and Dan Wood (UKIE) will give an overview of the rise of e-sports as a live entertainment trend and the parallels with festivals.

Elsewhere, there will be a discussion of how non-music experiences are shaping festivals featuring Lauren Down (End Of The Road festival MD), Sally Griffyn (Yoga Connects), Elle Castle (Kerb) and Sam McGregor (Signature Brew).

Other panels and workshops include ‘Desert Island Risks’, featuring advice from business affairs experts; a discussion about developing and using effective event management systems; a session presented by Festival Congress partner PRS for Music; a panel featuring some younger and older festival audiences comparing experiences and expectations; and the ‘Digital Marketing Data Treasure Chest’ curated by Deviate Digital MD Sammy Andrews. The second day of the conference will be rounded off with ‘Choppy Waters’, a light-hearted panel discussion featuring prominent festival organisers exploring the strangest and most challenging things they have found themselves doing to deliver their shows.

AIF will also launch a ten-year report at the Congress documenting key trends and how the sector has changed in the association’s lifetime.

AIF CEO Paul Reed said: “The Festival Congress has rapidly become an invaluable forum to debate the key issues, challenges and opportunities facing the independent festival sector. We are also well known for dropping in various speakers from outside of the festival world each year to inspire our audience and deliver unique insights, and this year is no exception. We have curated a truly unique line-up of speakers and topics, and we can’t wait to bring them to our new home in Sheffield this November to celebrate five years of Festival Congress and ten years of AIF.”

Previous AIF Festival Congress attendees include notable organisers from the likes of Glastonbury, Bestival, Boomtown Fair, Kendal Calling, Shambala, End Of The Road, Liverpool Sound City and many more.

Previous speakers and keynotes include Jude Kelly OBE (Artistic Director, Southbank Centre), John McGrath (Manchester International Festival), Zoe Cormier (Author of The Science of Hedonism), Huw Stephens (Radio One and Swn Festival Co-Founder), Simon Parkes (Founder, Brixton Academy), Professor Tim O’Brien (Jodrell Bank observatory) and many more.

Festival Congress is this year supported by Sheffield City Council, with tickets on-sale now, priced at £100 for AIF members, £135 to Friends of AIF and £185 general sale exclusively through new headline event sponsor Eventbrite.

Please visit www.festivalcongress.com for tickets, full line up and more information.

AIF Festival Congress 2018 hits Sheffield on 6 – 7 November

Date: 11/07/2018

Tickets on sale now.

AIF’s annual flagship Festival Congress will take place in Sheffield on November 6 and 7 this year. The move to Sheffield follows four consecutive sold-out years in Cardiff.

The Congress, which has become a major fixture in the festival industry calendar, attracting over 400 delegates each year, will be held at Sheffield’s Crucible Theatre. The Independent Festival Awards will take place at 92 Burton Road – a warehouse venue that is well known for its Peddler Night Market events.

The Festival Congress offers unique networking opportunities and a platform for industry discussion via a progressive format, including TEDx style talks, interactive workshops and fireside chats with leading industry experts.

With plenty more announcements on the horizon, the Congress programme already features notable industry names including Kaye Dunnings (Creative Director, Shangri-La, Glastonbury), who will talk about the history of creative direction at festivals and how immersive design has evolved.

Other speakers confirmed so far include founding member of Cabaret Voltaire, Dr Stephen Mallinder, who will talk about his musical journey, Sheffield post punk and the connections between the city and Cabaret Voltaire’s industrial music.

Author Rob Chapman (Psychedelia and Other Colours) will also be in attendance to deliver a condensed history of festivals and psychedelia.

Building on AIF’s recent Drastic On Plastic campaign, the event will have an ‘Under The Sea’ theme, reflecting the global single-use plastic crisis and the prediction that there will be more plastic than fish in the ocean by 2050.

Reflecting the theme, Dr Kerry Howell, Associate Professor in Marine Ecology at the University of Plymouth will deliver a talk about how technology is enabling unprecedented access in exploring the deep sea, and Daniel Webb of the Everyday Plastic project will talk about why he turned a year’s worth of plastic into a giant mural.

AIF CEO Paul Reed said: “The AIF team is excited to bring its Festival Congress to Sheffield this year, as it’s a fantastic festival city. The event is now a firm fixture for the independent festival community and these initial announcements are just the beginning for what will be an action packed and inspiring couple of days. This is the fifth year of the Festival Congress and the 10thanniversary of AIF – It promises to be a memorable one.”

Emma France, Marketing Manager- Business Tourism and Trade at Marketing Sheffield, said: “We’re delighted to welcome the Festival Congress to the Sheffield. With an extensive offering of festivals all year round, including the likes of Tramlines, Doc/Fest and Sensoria to name just a few, the city has a buzzing festival scene so it’s a perfect fit for the event, but it’s also a fantastic opportunity to showcase Sheffield to major industry players from the festival sector”.

Previous AIF Festival Congress attendees include notable organisers from the likes of Glastonbury, Bestival, Boomtown Fair, Kendal Calling, Shambala, End of the Road, Liverpool Sound City and many more.

Previous speakers and keynotes include Jude Kelly OBE (Artistic Director, Southbank Centre), John McGrath (Manchester International Festival), Zoe Cormier (Author of The Science of Hedonism), Huw Stephens (Radio One and Swn Festival Co-Founder), Simon Parkes (Founder, Brixton Academy), Professor Tim O’Brien (Jodrell Bank observatory) and many more.

Festival Congress is this year supported by Sheffield City Council, with tickets on-sale now priced at £100 for AIF members, £135 to Friends of AIF and £185 general sale exclusively through new headline event sponsor Eventbrite. Click here to buy tickets.

Please visit www.festivalcongress.com for more information.

AIF announces winners of 2017 Independent Festival Awards

Date: 31/10/2017

The Association of Independent Festivals (AIF) has announced the winners of the 2017 Independent Festival Awards at a packed-out ceremony at DEPOT in Cardiff.

Hosted by Glastonbury Festival’s Ben Challis, the sparkling awards ceremony took place on the evening of the first day of AIF’s highly-praised annual Festival Congress (Monday 30th October).

This year, there were eight awards categories designed to recognise the hard work and success of the industry’s best events. Winners included Womb with a view at Shambala (Unique Festival Arena), Secret Garden Party (Best Smart Marketing), Aespia (New Festival on the block), IDLES (Live Act of the Year) and Nozstock The Hidden Valley (mind blowing spectacle).

In addition to the coveted awards, Secret Garden Party Founder Freddie Fellowes was the recipient of the inaugural Pioneer Award following his dedication to inspiring the UK festival scene with its participatory approach for 13 years. Greenbelt Festival handed the second Act of Independence’ award for Amal and their new Muslim artistry venue and programme and their focus on Palestinian festival programming.

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

The Independent Festival Awards Winners 2017:

Unique Festival Arena
Womb With A View at Shambala

Best Smart Marketing
Secret Garden Party’s VIP/Celebrity Obsession Theme

Live Act of the Year
IDLES

Mind Blowing Spectacle
Nozstock The Hidden Valley’s Closing Festival Fire Show

Festival Caterer of the Year (in association with NCASS)
Happy Maki

New Festival on the Block
Aespia

Act of Independence: Greenbelt Festival

Pioneer Award: Freddie Fellowes – Secret Garden Party

Following the ceremony, congress delegates enjoyed a unique science-themed party, with street food catering, a ‘secret lab’ bar and an aftershow at The Big Top, 10 Feet Tall. The first day of events took 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’.

AIF also revealed that the flagship event will move from Cardiff and take place in Sheffield in 2018 after a tender process earlier in the year.

Paul Reed, General Manager of the AIF said: “The Independent Festival Awards was an outstanding celebration. It is always a tough call with such a strong shortlist and this reflects the abundance of creativity and imagination fuelling this inspiring and growing sector. Congratulations to all of the winners and nominees. As we look towards the next phase of the Congress and Sheffield in 2018, this has topped off a phenomenal four years in Cardiff”

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

 

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.

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.




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