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European Festival Awards 2016 – all the winners

The European Festival Awards took place yesterday (January 11) on the first night of Eurosonic in Groningen with Hungary’s Sziget honoured twice.

Artists voted Sziget their favourite festival over a shortlist including Latitude, End of the Road and Pukkelpop. As previously announced, late Sziget booker Dan Panaitescu was posthumously presented with the lifetime achievement accolade for his “vast contributions to the festival industry, and the admiration felt towards him from those within it.”

“Dan Panaitescu was a dear colleague, friend, support, hero, icon and dad, for so many of us in this international music family.”

Awards host Ben Challis said Panaitescu was “an individual whose personal vision and energy has propelled the entire festival market forward in a very creative and positive way.” Lollapalooza’s Fruzsina Szep gave a speech to honour Panaitescu, calling him “a dear colleague, friend, support, hero, icon and dad, for so many of us in this international music family.” Watch the full tribute video below.

Életműdíj / Lifetime achievement award Dan Panaitescu (1955-2016) Sziget, Telekom VOLT Fesztival, Balaton SoundMindent köszönünk, Dan! Nagyon hiányzol! /Thank you, Dan! We miss you…

Posted by Sziget Festival Official on Wednesday, 11 January 2017

OpenAir St.Gallen booker and Yourope’s Christof Huber was honoured with the gong for Excellence and Passion, while Coda agent Natasha Bent, who looks after bands including Chvrches and Let’s Eat Grandma, took home the IQ-sponsored Agent of the Year.

Primavera Sound won Best Line-Up for 2016’s bill that featured Radiohead, LCD Soundsystem, PJ Harvey and Tame Impala. Belgium festival Rock Werchter, owned by Live Nation, was crowned the International Festival Forum’s Best Major Festival, while Swiss rock festival Paléo took Best Medium-Sized Festival.

Spain’s Mad Cool Festival in Madrid won Best New Festival after a successful inaugural event while Hamburg staple Reeperbahn was named Best Indoor Festival. Dua Lipa, booked by James Whitting at Coda, was Newcomer of the Year.

The Green Operations Award for efforts in sustainability was granted to British event Shambala Festival, while the YES Group Health & Safety Innovation Award went to Southside Festival, held in southern Germany. Belgium festival Pukkelpop, meanwhile, won the Brand Activation Award. 

The ceremony opened with a performance from industry band The Children of the Revolution featuring professionals including Szep, Huber, Greg Parmley (ILMC), Steve Jenner (EFA), Holger Jan Schmidt (GoGroup), Philipe Cornu (WePromote), Ivan Milivojev (Exit), Codruta Vulcu (ArtMania) and Michal Kascak (Pohoda).

 


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Panaitescu to receive lifetime achievement award

Sziget booker Dan Panaitescu will be posthumously presented with the lifetime achievement accolade at the European Festival Awards in January.

Panaitescu, who was killed in a car accident on 15 July, had been with Sziget since 1993, and was instrumental in its transformation from a small, regional Hungarian event to an international festival widely considered among Europe’s best. Speaking at the time, former Sziget programme director Fruzsina Szép (now festival director of Lollapalooza Berlin) said Panaitescu had a “personality that nobody can ever forget” and that “his place in the international festival family [is secured] forever”.

A statement from the awards – which take place on 11 January, on the first night of Eurosonic Noorderslag – says Panaitescu’s “vast contributions to the festival industry, and the admiration felt towards him from those within it, […] are the reasons that the European Festival Awards has named him as this year’s recipient of the lifetime achievement award”.

A full list of awards nominees (including the IQ-sponsored agent of the year prize) is available at the European Festival Awards website.

 


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Sziget booker Dan Panaitescu passes

Dan Panaitescu, head of international booking at Sziget festival promoter Sziget Cultural Management, has been killed in a car crash.

Panaitescu, a longtime ILMC member who also served as chief booker for Sziget sister events Volt, Balaton Sound and Strand Festival, had been with Sziget (established in 1993) from the outset, and was instrumental in its transformation from a small, regional Hungarian event to a festival widely considered among Europe’s best.

In a statement, Sziget paid tribute to an “acknowledged professional, a great colleague, our friend and a caring father to two children” and said its team were “speechless” at the news. “Dan was the one who booked all those great artists to all of our festivals,” it wrote, adding that it “can thank him for the best line-up award at the European Festival Awards” in January.

Glastonbury booker and The Great Escape co-founder Martin Elbourne tells IQ he’ll have fond memories of seeing Panaitescu at Eurosonic Noorderslag each year, describing him as a shy but “incredibly nice” man and a driving force behind one of the “most important festivals in Europe”.

“He always had an open ear and a shoulder if you needed him between booking bands and dealing with agents and managers… No words can describe this huge loss”

Christof Huber, OpenAir St Gallen booker and general secretary of Yourope, says Panaitescu was known for his “professional, very human and straight way” and that “no words can describe this huge loss”.

“He was a great colleague who was there if you needed him, and he was never afraid to argue if he felt he was right,” says Huber, speaking on behalf on the Yourope board. “You could discuss things with him for many hours, and he always had an open ear and a shoulder if you needed him between booking bands and dealing with agents and managers.”

Fruzsina Szép, Lollapalooza Berlin festival director and former programme director of Sziget, adds: “Working with Dan for so many years at Sziget, I realised that he was always passionate about his work for the European festival scene. We have been checking out bands at Eurosonic [Noorderslag] for so many years together and discussing the changes in the music sector and the world around us for hours with a couple of glasses of pálinka or red wine.

“He was a personality that nobody can ever forget. His place in the international festival family will be there forever.”

“In a subtle but solid way he made everything around him calm and pleasant. Just his presence in the crowd made a difference”

“There was something very special in Dan,” says Helen Sildna of Tallinn Music Week. “He always something reassuring in his presence; in his quiet, but completely genuine, honest and no-fuss manner he was somebody who you could trust. In a subtle but solid way he made everything around him calm and pleasant. Just his presence in the crowd made a difference.

“I don’t know anyone quite like him. He was a very unique member of the music industry circuit. Completely devoted, detailed and trustworthy. One of the people to have a long meaningful conversation with. We will miss him dearly.”

Panaitescu was born in 1955 and trained as an economist, before becoming a roadie and later tour manager for Hungarian artists. He died on Friday 15 July.

“We have always envied him for not getting older, but we never ever thought that he would not get old,” said a statement from Sziget. “We have received condolences from musicians, managements, agencies and bookers from all over the world.

“The whole festival industry is grieving.”

 


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