2004: UK Festival Awards launched as an online poll by Virtual Festivals.com, 12,000 fans vote. We fantasise about one day staging it as an event at The Roundhouse. The awards are presented in person to the winners in their local pubs of choice!
2005: 50,000+ fans vote; BBC 6 Music sign up as media partner. Saluted in Scottish Parliament when T In The Park is voted Best Major Festival. The awards are again presented to the winners in person during an epic road-trip spanning the UK.
2006: Pressure from the industry prompts the creation of the first live event, for 500 standing-only at London’s Islington Academy, sponsored by Carling.
Hosted by: Steve Harris. Outstanding Contribution to Festivals: Melvin Benn (Festival Republic – Reading & Leeds, Latitude).
2007: The first seated event at KoKo, Camden. Michael Eavis attends.
Hosted by: The Cuban Brothers. Outstanding Contribution to Festivals: John Giddings (Isle of Wight).
2008: Moves to the IndigO2, adding a gala dinner component (at the Goucho restaurant) and the first UK Festival Conference by day (oversubscribed).
Establishes independent ownership as Festival Awards Ltd.
Hosted by: Sean Keaveney. Outstanding Contribution to Festivals: Michael Eavis (Glastonbury).
2009: The Awards returns to the O2 and the conference fills out into Europe’s largest cinema, the Vue in the O2 complex. The European Festival Awards is launched in partnership with The European Festival Association and debuts at The Grand Theatre in Groningen, Holland, on the opening night of Eurosonic Noorderslag.
Hosted by: Dixie and Horsey (Stars of ‘Svengali’). Lifetime Achievement Winner: Katrina Larkin (The Big Chill).
2010: The Awards continues its O2 residency and the Conference expands again into sell-out event at the British Music Experience, covered live by BBC Business News.
Hosted by: Craig Charles. Lifetime Achievement Winner: Geoff Ellis (T in the Park).
2011: Awards show up-scales to The Roundhouse and sells-out – the founding dream realised. Conference moves up to The Forum, attracts record attendance.
Hosted by: The Cuban Brothers. Lifetime Achievement Winner: Steve Heap (Association of Folk Festivals).
2012: Awards returns to The Roundhouse and sells-out again. Conference joins it at the same venue for the first time. The Awards show gets off to a flying start when Festival Number 6 co-founder Alex Hardee delivers a surprise marriage proposal to his girlfriend from the stage whilst collecting the first award of the night, Best New Festival! Thankfully, she said yes.
Hosted by: Phil Jupitus. Lifetime Achievement Winner: John Probyn (Live Nation).