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30 Oct AIF’s Festival Congress 2017

AIF has announced that their annual flagship event will return to Cardiff for its fourth year in October. Selling out every year since its inception, the Festival Congress will play host to an incredible ‘Pseudoscience’ theme, set to play homage to the nonsensical and weird experiments made by scientists and festival promoters alike.

AIF Festival Congress 2017

The event will be led by a keynote from Artistic Director and CEO of Manchester International FestivalJohn McGrath. In addition, there will be quick fire talks from renowned author Zoe Cormier about her book ‘Sex, drugs and rock n roll: The science of hedonism and the hedonism of science’, and John Kampfner, Chief Executive of the Creative Industries Federation, who will speak about creative industry ‘red lines’ on Brexit. Dr Julia Jones of ‘Found in Music’ will discuss her forthcoming book ’The Rock n Roll guide to staying alive’, exploring the lifelong effects of music on human behaviour and the positive effects that music has on well-being.

There will also be a ‘Question time’ style panel exploring political issues in relation to festivals, with other key topics including event security, welfare, booking processes, up scaling small festivals and creative production.

The first day of the conference will see a headline panel discussion on AIF’s ‘Safer Spaces’ campaign featuring Kate Lloyd (Features Editor, Time Out), Rebecca Hitchen (Rape Crisis South London), Tracey Wise (Safe Gigs for Women) and Ami Lord (Standon Calling) in addition to a ‘Question time’ style political debate that will include UK Music CEO Michael Dugher and YouRope General Secretary Christof Huber.

There will be 15 separate workshops on the second day, with topics ranging from counter terrorism training, crisis communications, digital marketing trends and staff welfare to direct licensing, festival growing pains, Instagram for Live Events delivered by Music Ally, and top tips for contingency planning delivered by the Event Safety Shop.

AIF is also partnering with Musicians Union for a discussion of gender and line-ups at festivals featuring MU artists and AIF promoters.

The ‘Building new worlds’ panel will explore how creative production, visual arts, décor, interactive experiences and installations contribute to a festival’s identity with some of the most creative brains in the industry including House of Bestival. There will be a ‘Sustainability focus’ session curated by Shambala in addition to new quick fire talks on booking artists by Ian Evans (IME Music), upscaling events and managing growth by Nick Morgan (The Fair) and the progress of the Fanfair Alliance on the issue of secondary ticketing by Annabella Coldrick (CEO of the Music Managers Forum).

The Independent Festival Awards takes place on the evening of the 30th October at DEPOT, Cardiff, followed by a dedicated after party at The Big Top venue.  Awards nominees will be announced in October.

Tickets are priced at £100 for AIF members, £135 to Friends of AIF and £200 general sale exclusively through headline event ‘Gold’ sponsor The TicketSellersBIMM returns as the event’s lead educational partner.

Please visit www.festivalcongress.com for tickets.


Held in Cardiff between the 30th-31st October, the Festival Congress is now a major fixture in the festival industry calendar. Every year, the two-day conference attracts over 400 delegates from across the festival and events world to celebrate the independent festival industry, including the Independent Festival Awards.  The event offers unique networking opportunities alongside a platform for industry discussions and its progressive format includes quick fire talks, interactive workshops and fireside chats with leading industry experts.

Previous attendees include festival organisers from the likes of Glastonbury, Bestival, Boomtown Fair, Kendal Calling, Shambala, End of the Road, Liverpool Sound City and many more. Previous speakers include Jude Kelly OBE (Artistic Director, Southbank Centre), Huw Stephens (Radio One and Sŵn Festival Co-Founder), Simon Parkes (Founder, Brixton Academy), Professor Tim O’Brien (Jodrell Bank observatory), Robert Richards (Commercial Director, Glastonbury) and many more.

“The AIF Congress is a firm favourite in the Ground Control team diary” –Kate Doyle (General Manager, Ground Control Productions)

“As a new festival, the AIF Festival Congress was a fantastic opportunity to mix with other festivals, exchange ideas and grow our ideas” –Joe James (The Boileroom / Always the Sun Festival)

“In 3 years the Festival Congress has built a vital gathering for the industry. Feels like it’s always been there and hope it always is.” – Ben Robinson (From The Fields- Bluedot/Kendal Calling)


30.10.17 @ 9:00 AM
31.10.17 @ 6:00 PM
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Association Independent Festivals (AIF)


Wales Millennium Centre
, Bute Place
Cardiff Bay, Cardiff, Glamorgan CF10 5AL
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