The Association of Independent Festivals (AIF) has announced details of a brand new annual flagship event, The Festival Congress, which it will be bringing to Cardiff this Autumn. This event is set to be the largest gathering of UK independent festivals to ever take place. The Congress will take place on 17th and 18th October – the same weekend as Cardiff’s NME award-winning Sŵn Festival.

Keynote speakers confirmed  include inspiring figures from the independent festival industry such as Jude Kelly (Artistic Director of the Southbank Centre), Martin Elbourne (Glastonbury / The Great Escape), Rob da Bank (Bestival) and John Rostron (Welsh Music Foundation and Sŵn Festival). There will also be a number of emerging artist showcases throughout the event and the conference will be exploring issues including programming, marketing, creative and immersive elements, sustainable event management and much more.    The AIF expects that up to 400 people will attend over the two days – including festival promoters, crew and suppliers from all over the UK. The Congress “offers an excellent and affordable opportunity to network with fellow festival organisers and to participate in panels and discussions, alongside attending the ultimate celebration following a busy festival season.

The AIF also plans to open up the event to students and those wishing to work in the festival and events industry. There is a huge wealth of expertise and professionalism in this thriving and buoyant sector.

The Festival Congress will launch at the BBC Hoddinott Hall, Wales Millennium Centre following the AIF AGM. The second day of the conference will take place in Cardiff’s Angel Hotel. A very special event is being planned for the Festival Congress celebration and will be announced soon.

The AIF now represents 50 festivals from around the UK, including Bestival, Womad, Sonisphere, Wakestock, Secret Garden Party and End of the Road. The Festival Congress is presented by AIF and supported by the Welsh Government and the British Council. Economy Minister Edwina Hart said: “Music festivals are a key part of our strategy to enhance Wales’ reputation as a destination for major events. Wales is already home to many successful events attracting a variety of different audiences helping to draw in tourists and boost the economy. So it is appropriate that Cardiff is hosting the first ever Festival Congress and I’m sure they will get off to a good start in Wales.”

For ticket details go to http://aiforg.com/initiatives/festival-congress/