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Awards decided by a combination of online fan votes and panel:

• Best Major Festival
• Best Medium-Sized Festival
• Best Small Festival
• Best Metropolitan Festival
• Best New Festival
• Best Overseas Festival
• The Grassroots Festival Award

To determine the shortlist for these awards, fans vote online for their favourite festival. These shortlists then go to our panel, who will collectively determine the winner. The public vote results are incorporated into the final judging process and have the same weighting as a single judge’s vote.
• The Greener Festival Award

The Greener Festival Award is judged based upon detailed site assessments and analysis from A Greener Festival.

Awards decided by a festival industry panel:

• Agency of the Year
• The Innovation Award
• Best Festival Production
• Best Family Festival
• Concession of the Year
• The Brand Activation Award
• Promoter of the Year
• Best Festival for Emerging Talent
• The Women in Festivals Award
• Line-Up of the Year
• Best Non-Music Festival
• Marketing Campaign of the Year

For these more specialised categories, we assemble panels of 20 industry judges who read and pre-score all entry forms, considering any supporting materials submitted. Judges give a score for each award application, which is then combined to give an overall score for each entry. All judges’ pre-scores will then be combined and the highest scoring entries to determine the shortlists.

For all awards, scoring is conducted online without any reference to other scorers and based solely on the submission of the entrant. This ensures that the scores are unbiased and judges are not swayed by the opinions of other panel members. Judges are also asked to absent themselves from any discussions where they have a vested interest.

Shortlists will be announced via email and our website and social media on November 1st 2019. Panel judges then collectively determine the winner, which will be announced at the UK Festival Awards on the evening of December 5th 2019.

2018 judges


Penny Mellor – Freelance

Penny Mellor has worked in the events sector for over 45 years, mainly concerned with the wellbeing of attendees and others at outdoor music events. This includes advising on, organising and managing welfare services and developing good practice guidance.

Mark Laurie – NCASS

Mark ‘street food’ Laurie is a Director of The Nationwide Caterers Association, working on food and safety standards for caterers, developing best practice, and representing the sector at local and national government level, as well as sitting on the EIF. He is also the co-founder of the multi award winning Digbeth Dining Club.

Gideon Gottfried – Pollstar

Gideon Gottfried is a journalist, born in Germany and currently residing in London. He’s the European correspondent for US live entertainment bible Pollstar. Prior to joining Pollstar in 2015, he was editor at musikmarkt, the former trade magazine for Germany, Austria and Switzerland, for five years. His work has also appeared in Billboard, IQ Magazine, Vice Germany and others.

Chiara Badiali – Julie's Bicycle

Chiara Badiali joined Julie’s Bicycle in 2012. She is a curator, speaker, researcher, and facilitator working across Julie’s Bicycle’s programmes and events, with a focus on getting the music industry up to speed when it comes to embedding environmental sustainability and best practice in their activities.

Marcus Barnes – mixmag

Marcus Barnes is a music journalist, editor and widely regarded authority on electronic music and festival culture. He is the author of two global festival guidebooks: Around The World In 80 Raves and TRANSFORM, regularly travelling around the UK and the rest of the world to attend festivals and clubs, from Kiev and Tel Aviv to Montreal, Berlin and Rimini. Marcus is currently Techno Editor at Mixmag and Creative Director of his own website Don’t Lose The Magic. He contributes regularly to Time Out, Gigwise, Drowned In Sound, Attack Magazine and many more.

Jeff Thompson – Off Axis, Un-Convention

Established in 2008, Un-Convention is a UK based global music network and development agency. The events and projects bring together artists and practitioners to share knowledge and expertise. Through this Jeff Thompson has helped to develop a number of new and innovative approaches to building sustainable careers and alternative models for the music industries. His current work includes a long-term music project working with young people in Manchester, the development of a number of music cooperatives in Africa, and a revolutionary new UK based touring model called Off Axis.

Suzi Ireland – BIMM

Suzi Ireland has worked in many areas of the UK music industry, including artist management, A&R, journalism, artist promotion & development, as well as event management. She is also Editor-in-Chief of Bearded Magazine, which covers the independent music sector, and she also helps out at independent DIY label collective Pink Mist. Suzi also works closely with the Great Escape and MAMA Group on their ‘The Real Unsigned’ artist development project. She currently works across the BIMM Group running artist development tutorials, whilst also being responsible for BIMM’s festival programme. She also runs Stunt Girl Management and is currently in the process of launching a record label.

Nick Green – Arts Council England

Nick Green’s first festival was Reading Rocks in 1978. It was almost enough to put him off outdoor gigs for life, and was only saved by Patti Smith and the mind-boggling sight of Steve Hillage laying psychedelic guitar on the warring factions as Sham 69 played. Since then he’s been to a good many festivals, and has worked at quite a few in many guises – as producer, production manager and programmer, DJ and musician. He now has a full time job at the Arts Council as a Relationship Manager for Combined Arts, where he co-ordinates the organisation’s Festivals Task Group, and is based in the South West.

Paul Reed – Association of Independent Festivals

Paul Reed is General Manager of the AIF, responsible for managing day-to-day operations and implementing the strategic development and growth of the Association. In addition, Paul oversees all campaigns, communications, partnerships and membership development.

Paul has an extensive background in the live music industry, having started as an independent promoter alongside working at the likes of Evolution Festival and Secret Garden Party. Paul then worked for three years at music development agency Generator in a wide-ranging role that included managing their live programmes and editing industry newsletter ‘The Gen’. Paul was also previously Head of Operations at classical music centre The Conservatoire and Operations Manager at festival event management company The Event Umbrella.

Chris Kemp – MOM Consultancy

Professor Chris Kemp is the founder, CEO and owner of Mind Over Matter Consultancy, and is known throughout the world for his work on the safety of crowded places and his ceaseless endeavour to make events safer. His articles are widely publicised in major security magazines and the national press in a range of countries, and he is at the forefront or work in the development of a safer crowded space environment. As the Director of the Yourope Event Safety Group (YES), Chris has been asked to speak on many occasions across the globe on aspects of crowd safety, security and business continuity.

Sarah Slater – Ticketmaster

Sarah Slater has recently been promoted to VP of Music and Festivals at Ticketmaster UK. In this role, Sarah oversees the company’s strategy for both the music and festival markets. Sarah and her team are responsible for securing new clients and ensuring all current clients are getting the most out of Ticketmaster’s leading technology solutions, unrivalled marketing reach and customer insight, to maximise their sales and revenue.

Claire O’Neill – A Greener Festival

Claire O’Neill is a co-founder of A Greener Festival, an organisation that has assessed over 450 events worldwide on their environmental management through The Greener Festival Award, trained over 90 assessors and sustainability managers, and founded the annual Green Events & Innovations Conference, which sold out it’s 10th edition in London in March 2018.

Bethan Riach – Energy Revolution

Bethan Riach is Communications Manager for Energy Revolution, a pioneering charity that helps the festival industry tackle the environmental impacts from travel, by 'balancing' unavoidable carbon emissions with clean renewable energy. She also works as Communications Manager for Powerful Thinking, the festival industry think-tank working towards more sustainable practices at events and bringing them together around the Vision:2025 pledge to cut event carbon footprints.

Steve Heap – Association of Festival Organisers

Steve Heap is one of the original founders and General Secretary of the Association of Festival Organisers, a membership group formed in 1987 that aims to implement best practice in all areas of the festival and live events industry. Steve’s long career in the music business has earned him the Outstanding Contribution to Festivals Award from the UK Festival Awards, the Presidents Award from NOEA, and an EFDSS Gold Badge for his services to the festival industry. He continues to put his energies into both the AFO and his role as production manager of Towersey Festival. Steve is also a founding member and current chairman of the Events Industry Forum.

Molly Dolan – Sleeper

As Content Manager of Sleeper, the leading magazine for hotel design, development and architecture, Molly Dolan has her finger on the pulse of the hospitality industry.

Rachel Weller – CGA

Rachel Weller joined the business intelligence consultancy CGA in 2008 and most recently led its client services team for over five years. Rachel’s experience in both client and people management, as well as her well-honed instinct for what the hospitality sector needs, allows her to deliver authoritative data, sharp insights and actionable advice to clients.

John Harrington – PRWeek

John Harrington has worked as a journalist since 2003, cutting his teeth at national pub trade magazine the Morning Advertiser, where he rose to the role of news editor before making the move to report on the wider leisure and hospitality sector at sister publication M&C Report (now called MCA). In 2014 he switched to PRWeek, the bible of the PR industry, where he takes a forensic look at trends and developments in marketing and communications. Separately, John spent several years in a rock band, playing countless festivals across the UK.

Gemma Snow – Nordoff Robbins

Gemma Snow has worked in the music industry for over 15 years, previously managing the relationships of songwriters and publishers at PRS for Music. She spent a year working with rock band Muse during their Olympics 2012 campaign before moving into the charity sector, managing the supporters of The Met music venue and Head for the Hills festival. She is now Regional Development Manager at Nordoff Robbins as part of the Fundraising team.