First Festival Congress 2024 sessions and new sponsors announced

15 Dec 2023

Programme covers wide range of topics including extreme weather, zero waste, EDI and planet friendly merch.

The first wave of sessions for the AIF produced Festival Congress 2024 have been announced, alongside more key sponsors for the event.

Taking place at Bristol’s Beacon on February 1st 2024, Festival Congress unites, empowers and supports independent festivals.

The day will be made up with a packed schedule of workshops, roundtables and Lightning Talks, covering a range of topics relevant to independent festival promoters, including marketing, commercial operations, fundraising and revenue generation, along with best practice in equality, diversity, inclusion, climate action, creativity and safer spaces.

Next year’s event’s headline sponsor is TicketSellers. PRS for Music, TheWRD and ID&C join TicketSellers and Bristol Council in sponsoring and supporting next year’s event.

As Educational Partner, The WRD will oversee a roundtable providing the opportunity for those working in higher education and further education to hear from festival operators and those working in the music industry to understand what skills the sector needs and what more can be done in the space between education and industry.

Meanwhile, PRS for Music will host a panel explaining how the organisation collects set data from festivals, what makes best practice and how PRS and festivals can continue to work together to improve the reporting from festivals.

Other specific sessions announced today include Lightning Show Stops And Adapting To Extreme Weather – From Contracts To Encore; Stop Asking Yourself How to Sell More Tickets And Ask These Questions Instead; Festival Operations Breakout; The Zero Waste Tool Kit for Festivals; Making Environmental Initiatives Accessible; How To Beat Down Your Bottom Line; Planet Friendly Merchandise; and How To Supersize Your Spend Per Head.

The first wave of speakers announced for the 2024 Congress include Bethan Riach and Chris Johnson (Vision:2025), Clare Goodchild (We Organise Chaos), Elle McMahon (The Ticket Crowd), Howard Monk (TheWRD), John Rostron (AIF), Judy Bec (Boomtown), Lucy Tamboura (PRS for Music), Lynne Maltman (Music Support), Matthew Philip (Notting Hill Carnival) and Phil Hayes (Ticketsellers). More speakers and facilitators will be revealed early in 2024.

Ticketsellers CEO Phil Hayes said: “We are proud to sponsor Festival Congress again in 2024. It’s such an important part of the festival-season calendar, bringing organisers of large and small festivals together around common goals. It feels as though our industry has been beset by problem after problem ever since the Covid-19 pandemic, but this conference is an opportunity to unite, share, collaborate, listen and learn together as we look to a brighter future.”

Lucy Tamboura, Live Music Manager at PRS for Music, said: “We’re delighted to be joining AIF at its Festival Congress in Bristol next year, uniting and empowering independent festivals across the UK. It’s important for us at PRS for Music to support licensed festivals as they play an integral part in our performer members’ musical journey, ensuring they are paid fairly for the use of their works when their music is performed live.”

AIF CEO John Rostron said: “I’m very excited by how Festival Congress is shaping up. We are increasing the emphasis on roundtables between festival operators so they can share and resolve general or particular issues, and adding more early morning slots for one to one speed networking to help improve the development of connections throughout the day. The take up from festivals and suppliers demonstrates that this event is a vitally important one for independent festivals. It’s a pleasure to pull this together.”

Festival Congress is produced by the Association of Independent Festivals. It is open to anyone working across independent festivals in the UK – whether an AIF member or not. The event hosts 350 delegates. Just over one third of the tickets are now sold, with over 60 different festivals registered to attend including Beat Herder, Black Deer Festival, Bluedot, Boomtown, Deershed, Dimensions, End Of the Road, Fairport’s Cropredy Convention, Fire On The Mountain, Greenbelt, Green Gathering, Kendal Calling, Meltdown, Outlook, Radar Festival, Readipop, Shambala, Shindig, Valley Fest, We Out Here and Wild Paths Festivals.

Prices start from £170, with discounts available for AIF Members and Friends of AIF. All food is included. https://ww2.theticketsellers.co.uk/tickets/festival-congress-2024/10057373