/ LIST OF AWARDS
Best Use of New Technology
Technological advancement is one of the strongest forces propelling the festival marketplace forward. Whether these innovations are applied to help organisers forge closer relationships with their audiences online, or to enhance visitor experiences and operational efficiencies on-site, it’s evident that festivals are evolving at a faster rate than ever. This award recognises the individual application of new technology at a specific event that offers the greatest promise for the future of the market as a whole.
The Extra-Festival Activity Award
The advent of the ‘boutique festival’ has created a huge paradigm shift in the festival market, incurring an increased demand for pop-up performances, mass participation games, eclectic cuisine, quirky installations and overall aesthetics. This award celebrates the most creative auxiliary initiative undertaken on this year’s festival circuit.
Best Metropolitan Festival
Those averse to camping out in the sticks can enjoy these urban events a little more, safe in the knowledge that they’ll be [hopefully] returning to a bed at the end of the night. Sold either on a show-by-show basis, or via an all encompassing wristband, they give people chance to see multiple acts in the comfort of the indoors. Which one had you ditching green fields for the concrete jungle?
Concession of the Year
Food, drink, cash machines, and merchandise: the essentials that keep festivalgoers on their feet. These amenities not only provide an essential source of income for festivals, but can also make a huge difference to the overall vibe of an event. Staff are there day and night, rain or shine, with a smile and good humour, and this award acknowledges the hard work they do and the importance of concessions at festivals.
Concurrent with growing expectations for more novel, creative non-musical offerings, audiences are increasingly spoiled by the comforts and perks that festivals offer in VIP packages. ‘Hospitality’ – a concept entirely alien to the original festival scene – is now widespread, manifested in cordoned-off VIP areas, a myriad of luxury sleeping arrangements, and higher-end bathroom facilities, all at a price of course. The remit of this award is not to simply celebrate the event with the most extensive or exuberant extras, but the one that implements them in a way that doesn’t devalue the experience of its regular ticketholders.
Best New Festival
In what many would argue is an already over-saturated market, these debutantes managed to navigate the battle royale of the festival circuit and hold their own against established titans. Bringing a fresh take, new music and alternative audiences to the festival scene, which one have you already put in your diary for next time?
The Brand Activation Award
Sponsorship is a revenue stream that many festivals now depend on for their very existence. Yet creating an effective brand strategy around festivals that adds, rather than detracts, from the experience is an art form in itself. This award celebrates the most creative and well-executed sponsor activity this year.
Best Festival for Emerging Talent
‘Supporting emerging talent’ is a virtue that many festivals lay claim to, but there are only a select few that take an active role in making sure their platform is an effective one. Stacking unknowns on a tucked away, standalone stage ensures that they’ll most likely play to four of their mates, especially considering the multitude of well-established acts they’ll be competing with for the audience’s attention. This accolade, new for 2015, aims to recognise the efforts of the organisers that effectively help their fledgling acts connect with and grow their audience.
The Grass Roots Festival Award
Often the best small festivals spring from an organic labour of love and a visionary idealism that resonates with thousands. These festivals should be celebrated, not just for the courage, commitment and often personal sacrifice invested by their organisers, but also because they never forget where they’ve come from, supporting both local communities and new music along the way while maintaining an independent spirit and resisting commercial saturation. All hail the grass roots festivals and their creators!
Best Overseas Festival
Depending on the year, the term ‘British Summer’ can seem like an oxymoron, and so increasing numbers of Brits are flocking abroad with the incentives of cheap flights, exotic cultures and warmer climates.
Best Family Festival
Growing up doesn’t mean you have to stop going to festivals – it just gives you a great opportunity to bring your kids! Every year, there seems to be more and more children at festivals, with specifically designed spaces and facilities for kids reflecting this growth. Games, workshops, play areas and activities for youngsters all combine to make their weekend a memorable one – and often a much easier one for mums and dads. Which festival was the most enjoyable for families this year?
Line-Up of the Year
Despite how many quirky art installations and pun-based concession stands your festival has, it will always be the line-up that shifts the most tickets. Booking a few curveball acts, legendary reunions, and under-the-radar innovators can set an event apart from the multitude of less inspired rosters around.
Best Dance Event
As the ubiquity of electronic music continues to increase, dance festivals are becoming increasingly prevalent and prestigious. For those willing to ignore their circadian rhythm in exchange for four-to-the-floor beats and delirium-inducing visuals, these events are synonymous with a good time.
Agency of the Year
This award recognises the booking agency responsible for making the greatest positive contribution to this summer’s festival content.
Headline Performance of the Year
A killer headline performance can be talked about for years to come, etched into musical history as one of those ‘I was there’ moments. To succeed requires energy, musicianship, dedication, creativity and a fortuitous coming together of time and space. Some acts may be regulars on the festival circuit, but which one really nailed it this year?
Although it may not be the most glamorous aspect of an event, the quality and quantity of the toilet facilities are incredibly important to attendees. Whether they take the form of pristine portaloos or potentially kraken-infested longdrops, a festival’s toilet situation is indicative of the respect (or lack thereof) that organisers have for their audience.
Best Small Festival
What these intimate events lack in scope they compensate for with an abundance of idiosyncrasies and grass roots appeal. Despite their minimal capacity, many of these cater to their audiences with such focus and peculiar charm that larger events may seem bland in comparison.
Best Medium-Sized Festival
With a tendency to shy away from big names and shift the focus towards specific genres and unique non-musical experiences, the rising popularity of these events demonstrates that unpredictability and character pay off. Some will continue to expand and join the ranks of the majors, whilst others will probably settle happily into their niche and stay there.
Best Major Festival
Like temporary cities, the largest festivals are a regular pilgrimage and a rite of passage for many. An affront to the adage that less is more, these behemoths certainly have quantity covered when it comes to capacity, stages, acts and practically every other conceivable aspect. But which one will prove to be of the highest quality?
Best Non-Music Festival
It’s not just music festivals proliferating worldwide; in recent years there has been a litany of events whose primary focus is on mediums, activities or offerings other than the sonic. From food & drink, gaming, sports and so on, we believe it’s about time these guys got some shine.
Promoter of the Year
Recognising the festival organiser who has produced an outstanding event, overcome adversity, or truly gone above and beyond the call of duty and pulled something phenomenal out of the bag. There’s always at least one each year – often several – so this one is a very tough call for judges.
The Outstanding Contribution to Festivals Award
Dedicated to an individual whose personal vision and energy has propelled the entire festival marketplace forward in a dynamic, creative and positive way.