AIF launches The Festival Congress

The Association of Independent Festivals (AIF) today (Monday 28th April 2014) announced details of its brand new annual flagship event, The Festival Congress, which it will be bringing to Cardiff this autumn. This event is set to be the largest gathering of independent festivals to ever take place.

At the launch, AIF Co-founder Rob Da Bank and AIF Chair Alison Wenham unveiled plans for the congress, which will take place on 17th and 18th October – the same weekend as Cardiff’s NME award-winning S?n Festival.

Keynote speakers confirmed so far include inspiring figures from the independent festival industry such as Jude Kelly (Artistic Director of the Southbank Centre), Martin Elbourne (Glastonbury / The Great Escape) Rob da Bank (Bestival) and John Rostron (Welsh Music Foundation and S?n Festival).

There will also be a number of emerging artist showcases throughout the event and the conference will be exploring issues including programming, marketing, creative and immersive elements, sustainable event management and much more.

The AIF expects that up to 400 people will attend over the two days – including festival promoters, crew and suppliers from all over the UK. This offers an excellent and affordable opportunity to network with fellow festival organisers and to participate in panels and discussions, alongside attending the ultimate celebration following a busy festival season.

The AIF also plans to open up the event to students and those wishing to work in the festival and events industry. There is a huge wealth of expertise and professionalism in this thriving and buoyant sector.

The opportunities for bright and ambitious people to join the industry are expansive and, for the continued success of this sector, nurturing young talent and giving students real opportunities is vital. The Festival Congress will connect the festival promoters of today to the aspiring promoters of the future.

The Festival Congress will launch at the BBC Hoddinott Hall, Wales Millennium Centre following the AIF AGM. The second day of the conference will take place in Cardiff’s Angel Hotel. A very special event is being planned for the Festival Congress celebration and will be announced soon.

The AIF was founded by Bestival and Radio 1’s Rob da Bank in 2008 to represent the independent festival sector. The AIF now represents 50 festivals from around the UK, including Bestival, Womad, Sonisphere, Wakestock, Secret Garden Party and End of the Road.

Alison Wenham said: “It has been a huge pleasure to see AIF grow from a small group of aspirational, determined people to a fully fledged Association in just six years. We are marking that milestone with the festival congress, bringing together independent festival promoters to celebrate their art and business.” 

Rob da Bank said: “Wotcha Wales! Everyone at AIF HQ is buzzing about bringing The Festival Congress to Cardiff, a city that knows how to work hard and then party, just like us lot. I really hope that it will become a key calendar event for the whole festival industry for many years to come and I look forward to being in the same place as all the best independent festivals in the UK.”

The Festival Congress is presented by AIF and supported by the Welsh Government and the British Council.

Economy Minister Edwina Hart said: “Music festivals are a key part of our strategy to enhance Wales’ reputation as a destination for major events. Wales is already home to many successful events attracting a variety of different audiences helping to draw in tourists and boost the economy. So it is appropriate that Cardiff is hosting the first ever Festival Congress and I’m sure they will get off to a good start in Wales.”

John Rostron said: “I am proud that Wales has the support structure of an organisation such as the Welsh Music Foundation which has been able to identify an opportunity for the AIF to create a new UK event and house it here in Cardiff. It will connect the many Welsh music businesses we assist with fifty of the best UK music festivals and accelerate learning, growth and opportunities in this exciting sector for Wales. It’s also significant that exactly one year on from Womex we have a new exciting UK music industry event happening once again in Wales.”

For ticket details go to


For further details about The Festival Congress please contact

Elin Rees / 07917 308329 or

Richard Jones / 07854 610592

For information about AIF press queries not relating to the Congress please contact Hugo Mintz at

Notes to Editors

About the Association of Independent Festivals (AIF)

The AIF is a not for profit body set up in 2008 to represent independent music festivals in the UK and Ireland. The collective value of AIF’s 45 member festivals to the UK economy is over £200m annually, with a collective audience of over 500,000.

Conceived by Bestival promoter Rob da Bank and Graphite’s Ben Turner, the Association’s founder members included Bestival, Cornbury Festival, Secret Garden Party, Kendal Calling and WOMAD.

With almost 50 members ranging from the 2,000 capacity ‘In the Woods’ in Kent to the 50,000 capacity Bestival on the Isle of Wight, AIF enables the promoters of some of the UK & Ireland’s most innovative and successful festivals to speak with one voice when addressing the wider music business and government.

AIF aims to establish best practice for festivals in a variety of areas such as security, marketing, the environment and beyond, providing a knowledge base for festival promoters, as well as creating collective purchasing and marketing opportunities for its members.

AIF operates as an autonomous division of the Association of Independent Music (AIM). You can find more information about the AIF here:

Tagged as: , , , ,