AIF Festival Congress returns to Sheffield

AIF Festival Congress returns to Sheffield

05 November 2019

The Association of Independent Festivals (AIF) are set to return to Sheffield this week as they bring  their annual Festival Congress to the city 6 - 7 November.

The Festival Congress is AIF’s annual flagship event and the largest gathering of independent festivals in the UK, with over 400 industry delegates expected to attend this year. 

The two-day conference will take place at Sheffield’s iconic Abbeydale Picture House – a stunning, Grade II listed 1920’s cinema, while the Independent Festival Awards will be returning to 92 Burton Road - a warehouse venue, well known for its monthly Peddler Night Market.

Following five consecutive sold-out years from the event’s inception in 2014, the Festival Congress has rapidly evolved to become a must attend event in the festival industry calendar. A key part of the Congress programme, designed to recognise success and innovation across the independent festival industry, the Independent Festival Awards also continue to expand,  having added four new categories to this year’s ceremony. 2019 will be the second year that both events have been hosted in Sheffield

Festival Congress is also set to be the first travel carbon neutral events industry conference, working with Energy Revolution to balance the carbon emissions from travel for all speakers and staff with investment in projects that create clean renewable energy. Delegates will also be offered the option to balance their travel emissions with a donation at point of ticket sale – with 100% of all donations going directly to renewable energy projects.

AIF CEO Paul Reed said: “Following an exciting inaugural year in Sheffield, Festival Congress has firmly settled into its new home and is back with our most ambitious and varied programme to date. We’ll be debating the key issues currently facing the independent festival sector and, as ever, looking outside of the industry for inspiration. With Abbeydale Picture House, we’ve found a conference venue that is aligned with the content and Independent Festival Awards in terms of creativity and atmosphere.

“In addition, as part of our commitment to environmental change, and following our Drastic On Plastic and Take Your Tent Home campaigns, I’m delighted that AIF is working closely with Energy Revolution to walk the walk and be the first transport carbon neutral event industry conference.”

The lineup of 45 speakers includes an opening keynote from Owen Kingston (Parabolic Theatre), Bing Jones (Extinction Rebellion), rock ‘n’ roll photographer Jill Furmanovsky, Bert Cole (Arcadia Spectacular), Rebecca Wrigley (Rewilding Britain), Chris Sheldrick (what3words) and Sheffield’s own Jo Wingate (Sensoria).

In addition to the many speakers, the conference programme includes panel discussions, networking opportunities and workshop sessions with leading industry experts on topics including sustainability, the nature of independence, volunteer management, festival apps, data licensing and contingency planning.

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

The Association of Independent Festivals (AIF) is a national trade organisation and the UK’s leading festival representative, providing a vital support network for independent festival promoters through members meetings, public facing campaigns and lobbying, producing conferences and training events and providing business support services to members. 

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