Gearing up for its fifth annual Festival Congress, the Association of Independent Festivals (AIF) has announced the shortlist for the 2018 Independent Festival Awards.

The Outstanding Contribution Award will be posthumously given to Tramlines Festival Director Sarah Nulty, who tragically passed away after a short illness aged 36 earlier this year.

Taking place on November 6 in Sheffield, this year’s winners will be announced during an awards ceremony hosted by Glastonbury Festival’s Ben Challis, as part of the AIF’s annual flagship event. There are seven awards categories in total, designed to recognise the hard work and success of the most innovative events in the industry, including New Festival on the Block, Unique Festival Arena, Smart Marketing Campaign and Live Act of the Year.

The Act of Independence award will be awarded to Meltdown festival for replacing Frightened Rabbit’s set at the festival with a panel on mental health awareness and the music industry, following the death of singer Scott Hutchison earlier this year.

The Forest Sessions at 2000 Trees, the Main Stage at Elrow Town, Abandoned Chapel at Lost Village, Paradise Heights at Boomtown and the Data Mine at Shambala are all up for the Unique Festival Arena award this year.

Magical Festival, El Dorado, Black Deer, Houghton and Arcadia London are all in the running for New Festival On The Block, while Dream Wife, Henge, The Blue Planet In Concert With The Halle Orchestra, Shame and Barney Artist are nominated for the Live Act of the Year award.

Paul Reed, CEO of the AIF, commented: “The Independent Festival Awards are now an annual fixture and a true celebration of the creativity and innovation taking place across the independent festival industry.

“It feels fitting, in our first year in Sheffield, to honour Sarah Nulty with the Outstanding Contribution Award, not only for her tireless work ethic and incredible achievements with Tramlines but the wider contribution that she made to the independent festival world and what Sarah meant to our community. See you in Sheffield.”

Timm Cleasby, operations director of Tramlines, added: “We are all so proud that Sarah has received this award and never was it more deserved. To be recognised by her peers for all her hard work, drive and determination, is a true honour to her memory, and to the legacy she’s left behind in Tramlines.”

This year, AIF’s Festival Congress is expected to play host to more than 400 delegates and will be centred around an “Under the Sea” theme as a follow up to AIF’s Drastic on Plastic campaign earlier in the year. The first day of the conference will take place at The Crucible Theatre, with the second day hosted at Showroom Cinema.