AIF Festival Congress 2018 set to come to Sheffield

AIF Festival Congress 2018 set to come to Sheffield

11 July 2018

The Association of Independent Festivals (AIF) are set to bring their annual Festival Congress to Sheffield on November 6 and 7 this year. The move to Sheffield follows four consecutive sold-out years in Cardiff.

The Congress, which has become a major fixture in the festival industry calendar, attracting over 400 delegates each year, will be held at Sheffield’s Crucible Theatre. The Independent Festival Awards will  also take's place at 92 Burton Road - the trendy warehouse venue, well known for its monthly Peddler Night Market.

National trade organisation The Association of Independent Festivals (AIF) is the UK’s leading festival representative, providing a vital support network for independent festivals promoters through members meetings, public facing campaigns and lobbying, producing conferences and training events and providing business support services to members. AIF member festivals include some of the most successful and innovative festivals in the UK including the likes of Boomtown Fair, Bestival, Shambala, Victorious, Boardmasters, End of the Road, Festival No.6, Kendal Calling and many more.

The Festival Congress is their flagship event, offering unique networking opportunities and a platform for industry discussion via a progressive format, including TEDx style talks, interactive workshops and fireside chats with leading industry experts.

With plenty more announcements on the horizon, the Congress programme already features notable industry names including Kaye Dunnings (Creative Director, Shangri-La, Glastonbury), who will talk about the history of creative direction at festivals and how immersive design has evolved.

Other speakers confirmed so far include founding member of Cabaret Voltaire, Stephen Mallinder, who will talk about his musical journey, Sheffield post punk and the connections between the city and Cabaret Voltaire’s industrial music.    

Author Rob Chapman (Psychedelia and Other Colours) will also be in attendance to deliver a condensed history of festivals and psychedelia.

Building on AIF’s recent Drastic On Plastic campaign, the event will have an ‘Under The Sea’ theme, reflecting the global single-use plastic crisis and the prediction that there will be more plastic than fish in the ocean by 2050.

Reflecting the theme, Dr Kerry Howell, Associate Professor in Marine Ecology at the University of Plymouth will deliver a talk about how technology is enabling unprecedented access in exploring the deep sea, and Daniel Webb of the Everyday Plastic project will talk about why he turned a year’s worth of plastic into a giant mural.

AIF CEO Paul Reed said: “The AIF team is excited to bring its Festival Congress to Sheffield this year, as it’s a fantastic festival city. The event is now a firm fixture for the independent festival community and these initial announcements are just the beginning for what will be an action packed and inspiring couple of days. This is the fifth year of the Festival Congress and the 10th anniversary of AIF - It promises to be a memorable one.”

Emma France, Marketing Manager- Business Tourism and Trade at Marketing Sheffield, said: “We’re delighted to welcome the Festival Congress to the Sheffield. With an extensive offering of festivals all year round, including the likes of Tramlines, Doc/Fest and Sensoria to name just a few, the city has a buzzing festival scene so it’s a perfect fit for the event, but it’s also a fantastic opportunity to showcase Sheffield to major industry players from the festival sector.”

Previous AIF Festival Congress attendees include notable organisers from the likes of Glastonbury, Bestival, Boomtown Fair, Kendal Calling, Shambala, End of the Road, Liverpool Sound City and many more.

Previous speakers and keynotes include Jude Kelly OBE (Artistic Director, Southbank Centre), John McGrath (Manchester International Festival), Zoe Cormier (Author of The Science of Hedonism), Huw Stephens (Radio One and Swn Festival Co-Founder), Simon Parkes (Founder, Brixton Academy), Professor Tim O’Brien (Jodrell Bank observatory) and many more.

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 exclusively through new headline event sponsor Eventbrite.  

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