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2019 Independent Festival Awards winners unveiled

The Association of Independent Festivals (AIF) has crowned the winners of the 2019 Independent Festival Awards at a ceremony in Sheffield, UK.

The awards ceremony took place this evening (Wednesday 6 November) as a conclusion to the first day of AIF’s sixth Festival Congress.

Actor, comedian and writer Thanyia Moore hosted the awards, which saw prizes handed out across eight categories. Winners include Standon Calling (smart marketing), Kokoko! (live act of the year), the Street at Beat-Herder (unique festival arena) and Flavors of Africa (festival catering).

A host of new categories were introduced this year, with Pete the Monkey winning the European festival award; former Deer Shed festival creative director Megan Evans picking up the backstage hero gong; Deer Shed itself winning the ‘never mind the Pollocks’ category for best artwork; and Twisterella winning the ‘in on the ground floor’ award for forward-thinking artist booking.

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

“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”

“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,” comments AIF CEO Paul Reed.

“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.”

PRS for Music’s senior events manager Amy Field adds that the awards are an “important and relevant celebration of the independent festival sector”, acknowledging the “creativity and hard work” that is involved in all the festivals represented.

The first day of AIF’s Festival Congree took place at 1920s cinema the Abbeydale Picturehouse, with talks from from Extinction Rebellion’s Bing Jones, the Parabolic Theatre’s Owen Kingston 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 Rewilding Britain’s Rebecca Wrigley, Tim Leigh of Stage One and a closing keynote from Arcadia Spectacular’s Bert Cole.


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“Refreshed” Independent Festival Awards reveals 2019 shortlist

The Association of Independent Festivals (AIF) has announced the shortlist for the 2019 Independent Festival Awards, which will take place on 6 November as part of the UK association’s sixth Festival Congress.

Taking place once 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 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.

“We’re delighted with the shortlist, after receiving a record number of nominations from our members”

AIF CEO Paul Reed says: “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.”

Bear Growls 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 and contingency planning.

Find the complete awards, as well as a list of of Congress speakers and ticket information, at festivalcongress.com.

 


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Independent Festival Awards 2018 winners revealed

Following research released yesterday showing independent festivals added over £1 billion to the UK economy from 2014 to 2017, the Association of Independent Festivals (AIF) has revealed the winners of its Independent Festival Awards 2018.

Hosted by Glastonbury Festival’s general counsel, Ben Challis, the awards ceremony took place at 92 Burton Road last night (6 November) following the first day of AIF’s Festival Congress. 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, the late director of Sheffield’s Tramlines, Sarah Nulty, was posthumously honoured with the outstanding contribution award. Nulty 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, which provided care and support for Nulty 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 following the death of singer Scott Hutchison earlier this year.

“The Independent Festival Awards was an outstanding celebration and an emotional evening”

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

AIF CEO Paul Reed says: “The Independent Festival Awards was an outstanding celebration and 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.”

A full list of winners is available from the Festival Congress website.

 


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