The Association of Independent Festivals (AIF) has announced further details for the 2019 edition of its flagship Festival Congress event.
Festival Congress will take place at Abbeydale Picturehouse in Sheffield on November 6-7, featuring a two-day conference and the Independent Festival Awards.
The sixth annual Festival Congress, following five consecutive sold-out events, is expected to attract more than 350 delegates.
Confirmed speakers include rock photographer Jill Furmanovsky. Also confirmed is Rob da Bank’s A-Z Of Festivals podcast, featuring AIF member Deershed. In addition, Bert Col of performance art collective Arcadia Spectacular, will deliver a closing keynote.
Rebecca Wrigley, chief executive of Rewilding Britain, will deliver a quick-fire talk about her organisation’s mission and the importance of rewilding and Jo Wingate, founder of Sensoria Festival, will talk about its immersive screening of Fritz Lang’s Metropolis, with a live score from Factory Floor on the site of a former steel mill.
Chris Bailey, founder of The Boy in the Corner, will deliver a quick-fire talk about the power of radio and podcasting for festivals and Tim Leigh, sales and marketing director of Stage One, will talk about creating spectaculars and the curse of innovation.
Panel and workshop sessions at Festival Congress this year include a headline debate around what independence means in the current festival climate, a vision for a sustainable industry, festival funding, apps and the ethics of data collection, digital marketing impact, licensing, cashless technology, managing volunteers and more.
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 per cent of all donations going directly to renewable energy projects.
Paul Reed, CEO of AIF, 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 Picturehouse, 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.”