Virtual Festivals’ Not-So-Shortlist

Virtual Festivals has announced the not-so-shortlists for the third staging of its annual awards, which will have their profile raised by an October 19th ceremony at Islington Carling Academy.

“They came out of an idea we had in the pub,” said Ross Purdie, editor of the online site that gets up to 300,000 users and and 5 million page impressions each month.

“The festival organisers have embraced it so much in the two years we’ve run it and supported the idea of a ceremony or some sort of get-together.”

The awards are split into a dozen categories, with another seven set aside to honour artists under such titles as best headline act, best breakthrough act and best feel-good act.

There’s an award for innovation, which has thrown up such diverse contenders as The Who‘s Hyde Park Calling set being streamed on the Internet and shown live in Hard Rock Cafés around world to Bestival’s new “Breast-ival” area, where mothers could breastfeed and change nappies in peace.

The choices in the most memorable moment category include Axl Rose falling over at Download and demanding a carpet for the slippery stage and Panic! At the Disco continuing its Reading Festival set after the singer was knocked out by a bottle thrown from the crowd.

While the artist categories might be won by great performances at major festivals, all genres and capacities have a chance to be recognized with an award like “fan friendly festival.” The Web site says the award is for “going that extra mile to put the fans first.”

The other three awards aimed at ensuring the less heralded, smaller events are noted for their contributions are the family festival award, Shelter award for social responsibility and the amusingly named Portaloo Sunset award for best toilets.

To even up the competion, the number of votes are divided by the number of people who visited the festival, allowing a small event to compete with a 75,000-capacity major.

Of the four fan-friendly categories, the 10,000-capacity Cambridge Folk Festival is nominated for three of them.

Music fans have been voting at since September 25th. The vote closes October 16th.

– John Gammon