AIF Congress announces new panels to reflect on 'eventful' festival season

AIF Congress announces new panels to reflect on 'eventful' festival season

The Association of Independent Festivals (AIF) will reflect on an “eventful” year for the sector at its flagship Festival Congress event in Cardiff from October 30-31.

Featuring a two-day conference and Independent Festival Awards, the fourth annual Festival Congress will host more than 400 delegates.

The first day of the conference will take place within the surroundings of National Museum Cardiff, with the second day at the Wales Millennium Centre (WMC) featuring a day of smaller scale panels and workshops entitled Festivals Under The Microscope. The theme of this year's event is "Pseudoscience".

“October is an opportune time to reflect on the issues of the season - it's certainly been an eventful one,” AIF general manager Paul Reed told Music Week

The first day of the conference will see a panel discussion on AIF’s Safer Spaces zero-tolerance campaign on sexual assaults, 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 and tips for contingency planning. AIF is also partnering with Musicians Union for a discussion of gender and line-ups at festivals.   

“We strive hard to go outside the confines of a typical live industry conference and avoid cyclical topics,” said Reed

Previously announced speakers include a keynote from John McGrath of Manchester International Festival, author Zoe Cormier and John Kampfner of the Creative Industries Federation. 

It is expected to be the event’s last year in Cardiff, with hosting rights put out for tender last week. “We'll make a decision in October and will announce at the Congress where the new home will be for the next three years,” added Reed. “It has been a fantastic few years in Cardiff, but there's a sense that it's now time for the next stage in the event's development.”

The Independent Festival Awards takes place on the evening of October 30 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.Visit for tickets.

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