AIFFCWith its flagship event The Festival Congress taking place in Cardiff next month, the Association of Independent Festivals (AIF) has today announced the shortlist for The Festival Congress Awards 2015.

The Festival Congress Awards celebrate the diverse and creative community that makes the festival landscape what it is. This year it will be hosted by Ben Challis (General Counsel to Glastonbury Festival and co-founder of A Greener Festval) and will take place on the evening of the first day of The Festival Congress (Thursday 5th of November) at Cardiff University’s Great Hall.

There are eight award categories – including ‘New Festival on the Block’, ‘Mind Blowing Spectacle’, ‘Unique Festival Arena’, ‘Live Act of the Year’, ‘Smart Marketing’, ‘Unsung Hero’ and the ‘Emmet Brown award for innovative use of technology’.

AIFNominees include Boomtown Fair, Block9, Bestival, La Fura dels Baus (the human net) at Wilderness, ArcTanGent, HMS Sweet Charity at Glastonbury, The Clik Clik Collectives Cabinet of Lost Secrets at Nozstock: The Hidden Valley and Shambala for being the first UK Festival to accept Bitcoin as payment.

Paul Reed, General Manager of the AIF said: “We’re been overwhelmed by the response to nominations and are very excited about the Festival Congress awards and evening celebration this year. It is an incredibly strong and diverse shortlist and the awards are a fantastic opportunity to acknowledge s the creativity and hard work of AIF members and, of course, the wider festival community”. 

Following the ceremony, congress delegates will enjoy a festival-themed party, with a street food festival banquet, including food from Cardiff’s Hangfire Smokehouse, The Dusty Knuckles Pizza Company and Mr Croquewich.

AIF DJs including Rob da Bank (Bestival), The Head Gardner (Secret Garden Party) and Chris Tofu (Continental Drifts) will be spinning the tunes at the aftershow party, which takes place in the same venue.

Nominations are put forward and then voted for by AIF’s 55 member festivals.

The nominees are as follows:

New festival on the block (no more than three editions)

  • ArcTanGent
  • Northbound Festival
  • Somersault Festival
  • Breakout Festival
  • Underneath The Stars Festival
  • Forgotten Fields Festival
  • Garage Nation Festival
  • Camp Wildfire
  • Twisterella

Unique festival arena

  • Clik Clik Collectives Cabinet of Lost Secrets at Nozstock: The Hidden Valley.
  • Room No. 7 at 2000trees
  • The Hide at Larmer Tree Festival
  • The Hidden Hedge at Blissfields
  • The Obelisk Stage at Deershed
  • HMS Sweet Charity at Glastonbury
  • The Over Barn at Barn On The Farm
  • Next Generation at Village Green Festival
  • The Travelling Barn at Fire In The Mountain

Live act of the year

  • Black Peaks
  • Ibibio Sound Machine
  • Songhoy Blues
  • Palace
  • Slamboree
  • Mr B The Gentlemen Rhymer
  • Slaves
  • Nothing But Thieves
  • Kimberley Anne
  • Cleft Vs. Alpha Male Tea Party
  • Wolf Alice

Mind blowing spectacle

  • The Larmer Tree – 25th Anniversary Site Installation
  • Block9 – Glastonbury
  • Fireworks – Bestival
  • La Fura dels Baus (the human net) – Wilderness
  • Boomtown’s Palace (The Main Stage)- Boomtown Fair

Best smart marketing campaign of the year

  • Boomtown Fair’s Spoof Videos
  • Standon Calling’s 10th Anniversary Theme
  • We Are FSTVL’s Youtube Channel
  • Bestival’s Summer of Love Campaign

Festival journalist / website of the year

  • Scott Williams of efestivals
  • Edith Bowman – Edith Bowman’s Great British Music Festivals
  • Hannah Braid – Daisy Digital
  • Simon Godley – God is in the TV
  • Remfry Dedman – The Independent
  • Noisey
  • Festival Baby

Emmet Brown award for innovative use of technology

  • Larmer Tree Festival’s Music Controlled Balloon Lights.
  • Skiddle’s Rapidscan Box Office
  • Natural Event’s Compost Loos
  • The Physical Network – Peer to Peer ticketing
  • Shambala – The first UK Festival to accept Bitcoin as payment

Unsung hero

  • James Scarlett – 2000trees
  • Davie Wilson – Larmer Tree Festival site manager
  • Alex Thomson – Press officer of Greenhouse Group (Blissfields)
  • Emma Zillmann – Kendal Calling/Forgotten Fields
  • Chris Tofu – Continental Drifts
  • Olly Marfell – ArcTanGent
  • Jo McLoughlin – Village Green Production Manager
  • Megan Evans – Deershed Festival

A successful Festival Congress launch last year saw the largest gathering of independent festivals ever, as over 400 delegates and speakers enjoyed a two-day event in the capital of Wales.

This year The Festival Congress takes place at Cardiff’s Wales Millennium Centre and will feature over fifty guest speakers. Speakers from Secret Garden Party, Block 9 (Glastonbury / Dismaland), Walk the Plank, On Blackehath and Crate Brewery were recently added to the programme.

For the latest list of topics and speakers go to

The AIF Festival Congress is supported by the Major Events Unit of the Welsh Government. New ticketing service Una Tickets is sponsor and exclusive ticketing partner and BIMM are a sponsor and the lead educational partner.  For further details, including tickets, go to