Secret Garden Party's Freddie Fellowes to receive inaugural AIF Pioneer Award

Secret Garden Party's Freddie Fellowes to receive inaugural AIF Pioneer Award

Secret Garden Party founder Freddie Fellowes is to be honoured with the inaugural Pioneer Award at this year’s Independent Festival Awards.

Awards organiser the Association Of Independent Festivals (AIF) is introducing the honour to recognise and celebrate the work of an individual in the festival world who has pushed the medium forward.

Secret Garden Party, drew to a close this year. The Cambridgshire festival had run for 15 years, welcoming acts such as Florence + The Machine, Jarvis Cocker, Lily Allen, Gorillaz, Blondie, Faithless, Years & Years and Bastille. 

"It is fantastic to be chosen as the first pioneer,” said Fellowes (pictured), a founding AIF member. “Thank you AIF. SGP has been one massive adventure for all of us involved and it is on their behalf that I accept it. It has been one hell of a roller-coaster ride that has shown me more love (and sometimes tears) than I ever thought possible. But every ride should know when to stop: it is a great privilege to be able to wrap up this project, letting it remain unspoilt in our memories and hopefully inspire other people to pioneer as well. The frontier always moves, so let’s keep it moving.”

AIF has announced the full shortlist for its fourth annual Independent Festival Awards. This year, there are eight awards categories, including New Festival On The Block, Unique Festival Arena, Mind Blowing Spectacle and Live Act Of The Year. 

The Act of Independence award will this year go to Greenbelt Festival for their work with Amal and their new Muslim artistry venue and programme, as well as their focus on Palestinian festival programming to mark the key anniversaries in Israel-Palestine this year. This is an extension of the festival's long-term commitment to highlighting human rights issues in the Middle East conflict through artistry, ideas and activism.

Those in the running for other categories this year include the likes of Victorious Festival, Boomtown Fair’s Sector 6 area, Beyond the Tracks and Samphire Festival.   

This year’s winners will be announced during the awards ceremony at Depot in Cardiff on the evening of Monday, October 30. Hosted by Glastonbury Festival’s Ben Challis, the event forms part of the AIF’s flagship Festival Congress.

“The Independent Festival Awards will celebrate the energy and creativity coursing through the independent festival sector," said AIF general manager Paul Reed. "We’re also extremely proud to this year acknowledge Freddie Fellowes as a truly inspirational pioneer who has contributed to the evolution of independent festivals on numerous levels with Secret Garden Party. We look forward to another memorable awards and party in Cardiff.”

The awards will be followed by a dedicated aftershow party at The Big Top Venue, 10 Feet Tall in Cardiff. 

This year the Festival Congress is expected to play host to over 400 delegates, and will be centred around the theme of Pseudoscience. The first day of events will take place within the surroundings of National Museum Cardiff, while the second day will be hosted at the Wales Millennium Centre (WMC).

The Independent Festival Awards shortlist:

Unique Festival Arena:

Cineramageddon at Glastonbury

The Mirracocco Luminarium at Bluedot

Cinderella’s Motel at Standon Calling

Happy Kanye at Bestival

Womb With A View at Shambala

The Outlands at End of The Road

Best Smart Marketing:

Secret Garden Party’s VIP/Celebrity Obsession Theme

Bluedot Festival Sends Orbital into Orbit

Victorious Festival’s Madness Announcement

End of the Road’s Lineup Announcement Video

Live Act of the Year:

Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes



Oh My God! It’s The Church

Loyle Carner

Mind Blowing Spectacle:

Secret Garden Party’s Saturday Night Spectacular

Bestival’s Temple & World’s Biggest Confetti Cannon

BoomTown Fair’s Sector 6

Nozstock The Hidden Valley’s Closing Festival Fire Show

Murmuration at Greenbelt

Festival Caterer of the Year (in association with NCASS):

Happy Maki


Strumpets With Crumpets


Nonno Luigi

New Festival on the Block:


Samphire Festival

Beyond the Tracks

Houghton Festival

Grinagog Festival

Act of Independence: Greenbelt Festival 

Pioneer Award: Freddie Fellowes – Secret Garden Party

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