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2019 Independent Festival Awards winners revealed

Standon Calling, KOKOKO! and Deer Shed Festival among this year’s winners

The Association of Independent Festivals (AIF) has revealed the winners of this year’s Independent Festival Awards at a packed-out ceremony in Sheffield.  

Hosted by actor, writer and comedian Thanyia Moore, the awards ceremony took place at 92 Burton Road this evening (Wednesday, November 6) following the first day of AIF’s annual Festival Congress conference.  

This year’s event included eight awards honouring creativity and innovation across the independent festival sector. Winners included Standon Calling (Smart Marketing), Deer Shed Festival (Never Mind the Pollocks – an award for best festival artwork) and Twisterella (In On The Ground Floor – an award for forward-thinking booking).  

Former creative director of Deer Shed Festival Megan Evans was also honoured with the inaugural Backstage Hero award, designed to give recognition to unsung individuals working hard behind the scenes to deliver festivals.  

KOKOKO!, a collective formed in Kinshasa capital of the Democratic Republic of Congo, won the Live Act of the Year sponsored by PRS for Music. 

Nominations were put forward to AIF’s 65 member festivals and then determined by a Festival Congress steering group vote. 

The Independent Festival Awards Winners 2019:

Unique Festival Arena – The Street at Beat-Herder

Live Act of the Year (In association with PRS for Music) – KOKOKO!

Festival Caterer of the Year (In association with NCASS) – Flavors Of Africa  

Smart Marketing – Standon Calling

In On The Ground Floor (In association with Marcato) – Twisterella

Never Mind The Pollocks – Deer Shed Festival

Backstage Hero – Megan Evans 

European Festival – Pete the Monkey

The first day of AIF’s Festival Congress conference took place within the atmospheric surroundings of Abbeydale Picturehouse, a 1920’s cinema, and featured inspiring talks from the likes of Bing Jones (Extinction Rebellion), Owen Kingston (Parabolic Theatre) and Photographer Jill Furmanovsky, alongside a headline panel discussion about the nature of independence. 

The second day of the conference will include a live recording of Rob da Bank’s ‘A to Z Of Festivals’ podcast with Deer Shed, and talks from Rebecca Wrigley (Rewilding Britain) Tim Leigh (Stage One) and a closing keynote from Bert Cole (Arcadia Spectacular).       

AIF CEO Paul Reed said: “The Independent Festival Awards was a fantastic celebration and the awards ceremony felt like it had stepped up a gear with a new host, new categories and outstanding production that enhanced the overall independent festival feel of the evening.    

“Congratulations to all of the winners and nominees, all of whom reiterate that the independent festival sector remains at the forefront of innovation and creativity. We’ll continue pushing forward into 2020.”

Amy Field, senior events manager, PRS for Music: “These awards are an important and relevant celebration of the independent festival sector and acknowledge the creativity and hard work that goes into producing some of the finest festivals in Europe. Congratulations to all the nominees and winners, including KOKOKO!, whose ingenuity and innovative sound won them live act of the year.”