Exit Defending Title

Serbia’s Exit festival has a chance to defend its “Best European Festival” title, after voters on Virtualfestivals.com put it on a shortlist of 15.

The original list included almost every festival in Ireland and mainland Europe but 40,000 site visitors cast more than 200,000 votes to whittle it down.

The second round of voting was scheduled to close Oct. 20. Exit, which won the title the first time the category was featured in 2007, faces some tough competition.

There’s also fan support for Ireland’s Castlepalooza and Oxegen festivals, Switzerland’s Gurten and Open Air St Gallen, the Romanian edition of Creamfields, Italy’s Festival dello Stretto, Spain’s FIB Benicassim, Poland’s Heineken Open-er, Hollands’ Lowlands, Denmark’s Roskilde, Austria’s Snowbombing, Bulgaria’s Spirit Of Burgas, France’s Tignes Fest and Norway’s Hove Festival.

Virtual Festivals has just launched a pan-European portal, which it’s running in partnership with Yourope, the European festivals’ organisation.

It will be trying to aggregate more than 3,000 music festivals, 20,000 artists, and 50 million festivalgoers across 45 countries.

The European award, which is also run in cahoots with Yourope, is one of the 22 that Virtual Festivals will hand out at its annual prize-giving ceremony at London’s IndigO2 Oct. 30.

The festivals with the most nominations are Isle Of Wight, Glastonbury and Big Chill, which all have a chance of winning in four categories. All three go head-to-head for the best lineup and innovation awards.

This year’s bash will be preceded by a daytime conference. Virtualfestivals.com founder Steve Jenner said that when the festival community is gathered in one place it makes sense to run meetings alongside the awards.

Panelists already confirmed include Ben Challis from A Greener Festival, Alison Tickell (Julies Bicycle), Linnea Svensson (Oya Festival – Norway), Christof Huber (Yourope), BBC Radio One DJ Rob da Bank (Bestival), Geoff Ellis (T In The Park), Andy Copping (Download), John Giddings (Solo Agency), Bojan Boškovic (Exit) and Peter Elliot (Primary Talent).