The Association of Independent Festivals (AIF) has announced further details of its flagship Festival Congress event in Sheffield, November 6-7, which features a two-day conference and the Independent Festival Awards.

The AIF is expecting to welcome more than 400 delegates at the fifth annual Festival Congress. The first day of the conference will take place at Sheffield’s Crucible Theatre with the second day held at the Showroom Cinema.

The Independent Festival Awards will take place at 92 Burton Road – a warehouse venue that is well known for its “Peddler Night Market” events – with an aftershow party featuring a festival style silent disco taking place at Yellow Arch Studios. Confirmed speakers include Fabien Riggall, founder and creative director of Secret Cinema, who will deliver a keynote charting ten years of successful immersive events.

Rigall’s session is part of a series of quick fire keynotes featuring previously announced Shangri-La creative director Kaye Dunnings, author Rob Chapman and Dr Kerry Howell, who will talk about technology and deep-sea exploration- expanding on the “Under The Sea” theme of this year’s event.

Joining them will be Daniel Webb of Everyday Plastic, who will talk about the project and what his objectives were in saving a year’s worth of plastic and transforming it into a mural; and influencer and blogger Zoe London who will talk about the “Instagrammable festival” and how organisers can harness the potential of the platform.

Professor Fiona Measham of The Loop will give an update on Multi Agency Safety Testing (MAST) as the harm reduction service is rolled out across more independent festivals and Dan Wood (UKIE) will give an overview of the rise of e-sports as a live entertainment trend and the parallels with festivals.

Elsewhere, there will be a discussion of how non-music experiences are shaping festivals featuring Lauren Down (End Of The Road festival MD), Sally Griffyn (Yoga Connects), Elle Castle (Kerb) and Sam McGregor (Signature Brew). AIF will also launch a ten-year report at the Congress documenting key trends and how the sector has changed in the association’s lifetime.

Paul Reed, CEO of AIF, commented: “The Festival Congress has rapidly become an invaluable forum to debate the key issues, challenges and opportunities facing the independent festival sector. We are also well known for dropping in various speakers from outside of the festival world each year to inspire our audience and deliver unique insights, and this year is no exception.

“We have curated a truly unique line-up of speakers and topics, and we can’t wait to bring them to our new home in Sheffield this November to celebrate five years of Festival Congress and ten years of AIF.”

For more details on the full line up please see here.