The Association of Independent Festivals (AIF) has announced further details for its flagship Festival Congress event.
The fifth annual Congress, which is expected to attract more than 400 delegates, will be held in Sheffield from November 6-7, featuring a two-day conference and the Independent Festival Awards.
The first day of the conference will take place at Sheffield’s Crucible Theatre with the second day held at the Showroom Cinema. The Independent Festival Awards will take place at warehouse venue 92 Burton Road, with an aftershow party featuring a festival style silent disco taking place at Yellow Arch Studios.
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 10 years of AIF.”
Confirmed speakers include founder and creative director of Secret Cinema Fabien Riggall, who will deliver a keynote charting 10 years of the immersive event.
Daniel Webb of Everyday Plastic 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 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 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 10-year report at the Congress documenting key trends and how the sector has changed in the association’s lifetime.
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 through new headline event sponsor Eventbrite.