AIF, the trade association representing more than 50 of the UK’s key independent music festivals, has announced a new series of events to be run in conjunction with BIMM (British and Irish Modern Music Institute), Festival Futures.

The new initiative will start with two one-day conference events to be held at BIMM campuses in Brighton and Manchester on April 5 and 7, 2016 respectively.

Presented in association with ticketing partner Skiddle, the events will feature keynote speeches from promoters such as Ben Robinson (director, Kendal Calling/Forgotten Fields/Blue Dot) and John Empson (promoter, The Eden Sessions/Wilderness/Citadel). There will also be a number of quick-fire talking heads sessions and fireside chats with industry experts, alongside opportunities for networking with industry stars of the festival world.

Confirmed speakers include Sammy Andrews (founder, Sabotage Media), Sarah Bird (director, Wild Rumpus, Just So Festival), Mark Laurie (director, NCASS), Mark Davyd (founder and CEO, Music Venues Trust), Nick Lawrence (CEO, NWN Blue Squared) and Andy Lenthall (general manager, Production Services Association).

Topics for discussion will include the importance of multi-arts events and family content, the food revolution at festivals, connections between streaming platforms and ticketing, the importance of grassroots venues and connections to festivals and what the impact of virtual reality and other new tech on the marketplace could be. Event safety, festival finance, drugs awareness and the politics of participation are also subjects on the agenda.

Paul Reed, general manager of the AIF, said: “We’re very excited to announce Festival Futures in partnership with BIMM and Skiddle. These conferences will have an extremely forward thinking agenda, exploring the future of the industry from various angles at the tip of the 2016 season. From quick fire talking heads sessions to more in-depth fireside chats, we’re looking forward to an action packed and informative couple of days in Brighton and Manchester this April.”

Suzi Ireland, artist promotion and festival manager at BIMM, commented: “After a very successful collaboration between AIF and BIMM at last year’s Festival Congress, we are very excited to team up once again to present some exciting one-day conferences based at the  our colleges across the country. Our event management and business students will be helping to run the conferences, as well as attend the events to learn more about the festival industry and network with our high profile guests. We see the Association of Independent Festivals as an incredibly important organisation in the industry, and we are thrilled to be working with them again.”

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