Katrina Chills With Virtual Award

The only award that Virtual Festivals announces before its annual ceremony is the lifetime achievement gong, which this year goes to Chill Fest founder Katrina Larkin.

The award, which is run in cahoots with Music Week and the Nordoff-Robbins Music Therapy charity, has previously gone to Glastonbury chief Michael Eavis and Isle Of Wight revivalist John Giddings.

In September the 15-year-old Big Chill was on the point of bankruptcy when Festival Republic stepped in to buy the rights to the event and ensure that Larkin would continue to run it.

The company has since gone into voluntary liquidation because this year’s ticket sales didn’t cover the cost of running it. Larkin has said Festival Republic is better placed to reduce the escalating production costs.

The Big Chill started in 1994 in London’s Union Chapel and grew to be a 30,000-capacity outdoor at a castle in Herefordshire.
The award citation says Big Chill’s laid-back ethos and compact festival site is regarded as “the boutique festival template.”

It also says Larkin is “an almost lone female figure” in the heavily male-dominated live music industry and has been an inspiration to “a generation of female promoters.”

Virtual Festivals’ annual conference and awards gathering is / was at London O2 Arena Nov. 19.