A Perfect Match

What’s rapidly become one of the world’s main festival Web sites is hitching its new European Festival Awards to January’s EuroSonic-Noorderslag conference/showcase in Holland.

The U.K.’s Virtual Festivals portal has teamed with Yourope, the European Festival Association, to create awards to celebrate the pan-European music festival marketplace and recognize individuals and organisations responsible for “brightening up the lives of millions each summer.”

Having included an award for best European festival in its annual U.K. Festival Awards for the last two years, which is also a partnership with Yourope, Virtual will ramp up its profile on the continental mainland by handing out more gongs to European fests under various categories. Serbia’s Exit and Ireland’s Oxegen festivals have previously won the European Festival award.

Similar to the established U.K. format, the award categories will include a mixture of festival-related themes such as “Best Major/Medium and Small European Festival,” “Best Line-Up,” “Best New Festival” as well as artist ones like “Festival Anthem of The Year” and “Best Newcomer.”

Other awards will include “Artists’ Favourite Festival,” “Promoter of the Year” and a “Lifetime Achievement Award.”

By linking with Eurosonic, Jenner immediately forms a bond with the 50 member festivals of the European Talent Exchange Programme (ETEP). By partnering with Yourope, he’s tapping into Europe’s major festivals’ organisation, although many major European outdoors are members of both.

The awards will be at Groningen’s Grand Theatre Jan. 13, when most of the 50 ETEP members – which would likely include many of the award nominees – will already be in the city for the start of EuroSonic.

Tickets to the ceremony, which includes a drinks reception, buffet dinner, live performances and an aftershow party, will be exclusively available on a strict first-come-first-served basis to EuroSonic Noorderslag delegates.

“These awards make a lot of sense. With so many festivals and the ETEP program already present at our conference, it seems like the logical place and it feels like a homecoming,” said EuroSonic creative director Peter Smidt.

Jenner believes the event will “bring together the incredible, vibrant and diverse festival community of Europe across international borders” and celebrate it as one.

“There are more than 3000 amazing music festivals in mainland Europe. It’s about time the people who make them so special are recognised on a continental level for all their hard work and dedication,” he said.

The UK Festival Awards are expected to remain at London’s O2 arena, while the daytime conference – put together with the ILMC’s IQ magazine in 2008 – may move from the Gibson Guitar Showroom in Rathbone Place, London, to the same venue.