SJM Named Promoter Of The Year At UK Fest Awards

The UK Festival Awards went down in London, Nov. 29 with a new venue and format breathing new life into the ceremony – and Coda’s Alex Hardee provided the evening’s Kanye West moment. 

UK Festival Awards 2017
– UK Festival Awards 2017
Rufus Hound moderating

The fully decorated Troxy in East London, where the ceremony took place for the first time, was quite a sight: Octoberfest-style seating, surrounded by food and beverage stalls, wristbands for attendees, and, most importantly, actual live music courtesy of the New York Brass Band created an authentic festival feel. 

UK Festival Awards
– UK Festival Awards
Pollstar’s Brij Gosai with Coda’s Rob Challice

The new seating arrangement meant that people no longer sat isolated at round tables, limiting the conversations to the two people on one’s left and right. The closely arranged benches facilitated a very social and animated exchange among guests.

This unfortunately also meant that people in the back had trouble following the proceedings on stage, and when Steve Jenner, director and co-founder of the UK Festival Awards, came on for a heartfelt recap of the One Love Manchester concert on June 4, it was impossible to get a moment of silence.

Jenner hailed the people involved in the charity event dedicated to the victims of the May 22 attack on Manchester Arena, including promoters Festival Republic and SJM Concerts, and played a highlight video of what marked one of the UK’s biggest live events this year.

SJM Concerts also took home the Promoter of the Year award later that night.

When it came to the award presentation, Jenner’s team chose a fast-paced approach. Comedian Rufus Hound, who moderated the show, swiftly went through the nominees, called each winner onto the stage for a quick picture before moving on to the next category.

He still found the time to crack a few jokes and even managed to discreetly usher Coda’s Alex Hardee off stage, who disrupted the ceremony twice. The first time he mocked Slobodan Praljak, the former commander of the Bosnian Croat military forces, who committed suicide Nov. 29 by drinking poison during a war trial in The Hague.

The second time Hardee’s mike was turned off mid-sentence, so it remains unclear what his intentions were. The agent had entered the stage alongside DF Concerts’ Geoff Ellis, who came to pick up the Best New Festival award for TRNSMT Festival, which premiered on Glasgow Green, Scotland, July 7-9.

Commenting on the win, Ellis said: “I am really grateful to everyone who voted for us, the wonderful artists, Glasgow City Council, the inspiring hardworking team who pulled it all off… and of course the magnificent audience!”

Hardee didn’t come on stage, however, when Coda won the Agency of the Year award. Instead, his fellow Partner at Coda, Rob Challice, picked up the prize.

Latitude, End of the Road and Lost Village festivals, respectively, won the Best Major, Medium and Small Festival categories. Lost Village also took home the Best Festival Production award.

The team behind End of the Road, which also won in 2011, then still categorized as Small Festival, said: “We’re absolutely thrilled to have won Best Medium Sized Festival last night! Big thanks to the Festival Awards and a huge thanks to all of you who came to the festival and made it such a great year.” 

UK Festival Awards
Gideon Gottfried / Pollstar
– UK Festival Awards
at the Troxy in London Nov. 29.

The Grass Roots Festival Award went to 2000trees. Croatia’s Outlook Festival was named Best Overseas Festival. Dot to Dot Festival was selected as Best Festival for Emerging Talent, a recognition making promoter DHP Family “especially pleased,” according to the company’s director of promotions Anton Lockwood.

He added: “Over the 12 years of its existence, growing new artists has always been at the absolute core of what Dot to Dot is about, and we’ve seen many artists go on to huge success after gracing our stages. We will renew our search for the finest new talent with even more vigor now our success in doing so has been recognized!”

Liverpool Music Week won Line-Up of the Year, after being shortlisted for that category every year since 2014. Now in its 15th year, the event boasted an eclectic lineup with Chic featuring Nile Rodgers, Jungle, Everything Everything, Mount Kimbie, Princess Nokia and many more.

Last year, Liverpool Music Week won the Best Metropolitan Festival award, which went to Slam Dunk Festival this year. Camp Bestival took home the Best Family Festival award, and Bournemouth 7s was named Best Non-Music Festival. The Brand Activation Award went to Jägermeister,

The remaining winners include Kendal Calling (Marketing Campaign of the Year),?The Loop (The Innovation Award),Piecaramba! (Concession of the Year), and British Summer Time Hyde Park (Best Hospitality).

As previously reported, the Outstanding Contribution to Festivals Award went to Freddie Fellowes, who told Pollstar: “I feel very humbled by this, as to tell the honest truth; this has been not only an honor but also an utter blast to have been a part of. Every year so many people gave so much to make this party and in return got so much back from it. It was beautiful. I’m glad for all of those people that it’s been recognized.”

Jenner told Pollstar: “We were very pleased with this year’s awards. A sold-out event, record number of participating festivals, glowing feedback from attendees and one of the most positive, celebratory shows to date were all thumbs up from the industry that the changes we made were the right ones. Today’s festival industry bears little resemblance to the one of 6 years ago when we moved to The Roundhouse, so we needed to reconfigure.

“What we lost in formality was more-than compensated for by a more upbeat party atmosphere and a cheaper ticket, creating an event that was a lot more in tune with the overall UK festival industry in 2017. I don’t think it could have gone better; we are deeply appreciative of everyone who made the journey with us, and the evening so enjoyable, and we can’t wait to do it all again next year.”