Camp Wildfire, Hidden Hedge Win At Festival Congress

The sold-out Festival Congress hosted by the Association of Independent Festivals took place for the second time from Nov. 5-6 in Cardiff, Wales.

While more than 50 guest speakers tackled current industry hot topics in the day, Thursday night saw the celebration of the Festival Congress Awards, hosted by Glastonbury’s Ben Challis.

Winners include Camp Wildfire (new festival on the block), The Hidden Hedge at Blissfields (unique festival arena), Slaves (live act of the year), Simon Godley (festival journalist of the year) and Continental Drift’s Chris Tofu (unsung hero).

Shambala won the Emmet Brown Award for innovative use of technology for being the first UK Festival to accept Bitcoin as payment (though the festival’s director Jon Walsh emphasized that it was less about Bitcoins and more about the underlying technology called blockchain).

Boomtown Fair was awarded twice – for its Boomtown Palace main stage (mind blowing spectacle) as well as its Spoof Videos (best smart marketing campaign). The nominations were put forward and then voted for by the AIF’s 55 member festivals.

Paul Reed, general manager of the AIF, said: “Our members vote for the awards and the fact that we have winners who are yet to join AIF speaks volumes about the festival community.”

According to the AIF, its members’ events attract more than 500,000 visitors and contribute over £200 million to the UK economy per year.