Since its inception in 2004, the UK Festival Awards has been dedicated to recognising and celebrating the collective accomplishments of the nation’s most beloved industry.
Across its 21 categories, the Awards acknowledges the achievements of organisers and suppliers in the fields of programming, production, innovation, emerging talent, marketing, hospitality, catering and more.
Each category has its shortlist and winner determined via a combination of public vote and industry judges, and for 2017 this methodology has been further refined to ensure that the prestige of these internationally recognised accolades continues to increase.
Following several years at The Roundhouse in London, the Awards’ 14th edition will move to a new home within the capital at The Printworks, taking place on November 30th 2017.
The completely revitalised event comes with a considerably lower ticket price of £95, a revised judging process, some fresh accolades, an extended reception and after party, a whole new look and feel, and catering from some of the festival industry's best concession stands.
We hope you’ll join us for what’s set to be the best edition yet!
*subject to licence
The awards categories are as follows:
Best Festival Production
New for 2017
From sound to lighting, staging to set design, and special effects to video – a festival’s investment into its production is immediately evident and plays a huge part in creating memorable experiences for the audience. Festival organisers entering this category are encouraged to list the suppliers who helped them achieve a specific production feat.
Marketing Campaign of the Year
New for 2017
In an era when there are so many events competing for festival-goers’ attention, giving too much credence to the old adage of ‘if you build it, they will come’ might result in a nightmarish turnout rather than the field of dreams you were hoping for. Most festivals are now having to come up with unconventional methods of generating hype and engaging with their audiences, especially considering the rapidly changing nature of the online landscape. This new award goes to those responsible for the most unique and effective marketing campaign of the season.
The Innovation Award
New for 2017
Either by adopting emerging technologies, pioneering a bold new initiative, or executing an especially unique concept, this new award is granted to the festival that currently exists closest to the cutting-edge.
Best Metropolitan Festival
Foregoing the escapism of green fields in exchange for increased convenience and flexibility, metropolitan festivals have thrived in recent years due to their reconceptualization of urban spaces and promise of a warm bed to return to at the end of the night. This award is bestowed upon the festival that most convincingly made a city its own.
Concession of the Year
One of the more tangible improvements in the festival scene over the last decade has been the quality of food & drink. The eclecticism, creativity and passion involved in festival catering have all (g)astronomically increased, and this award acknowledges the best purveyors of grub that the scene has to offer.
Concurrent with growing expectations for more novel non-musical offerings, audiences are increasingly spoiled by the comforts and perks that festivals offer in VIP packages. ‘Hospitality’ – a concept entirely alien to the original festival scene – is now widespread, manifested in cordoned-off VIP areas, a range of luxury sleeping arrangements, and higher-end bathroom facilities, all at a price of course. The remit of this award is not to simply celebrate the event with the most extensive or exuberant extras, but the one that implements them in a way that doesn’t devalue the experience of its regular ticketholders. For 2017, the purview of this award has been expanded to take into account the quality of a festival’s standard facilities and the treatment of its crew and artists.
Best New Festival
Identifying a niche within a saturated market, actualising a concept from scratch and then holding one’s own against a plethora of established titans is no mean feat, but one that many inaugural festivals manage to achieve year-on-year. This award identifies which of this year’s debutantes had the most auspicious coming-out party.
The Brand Activation Award
Most festivals are dependent on sponsorship for their very survival, and the anti-commercial ethos once considered synonymous with the scene is increasingly receding into the past. Perhaps it’s no coincidence that audiences’ increasing acceptance of commercial involvement has occurred in tandem with the efforts of brands to ensure that their activations are woven into the fabric of festivals in cohesive and valuable ways. This award recognises the brand that integrated and ingratiated itself at festivals in the most seamless and effective manner.
Best Festival for Emerging Talent
The bottom line has and always will be an organiser’s top priority, and so providing a platform to unknown acts has historically been considered an altruistic and near-worthless endeavour. However, the industry is becoming aware that this type of short-term thinking has contributed to a climate in which there are too few viable headliners to go around. This award goes to those who strive to promote newcomers in ways that effectively facilitate their ascent, and help guarantee a future in which festivals remain musically vibrant and diverse.
The Grass Roots Festival Award
Some of the nation’s most beloved festivals are small operations comprising just a few dedicated and courageous individuals who sacrifice their time, energy and personal finances in order to create something decidedly free of commercial interests. These independent events often engage with and rely on their local communities in ways that imbue them with inimitable idiosyncrasies, and this award celebrates those that stay true to their roots.
Best Overseas Festival
Although the UK festival scene is one of the most renowned in the world, we can’t ignore the endless amazing events abroad. This award attempts to determine which one most deserves distinction.
Best Family Festival
A wholesome counterpoint to the unrestrained hedonism that characterises certain festivals, these events mostly cater towards parents and their progeny, creating an atmosphere that’s at once safe and exploratory. Games, workshops, educational components and fantastical set design all contribute towards an enduring experience for youngsters, whilst the adults are kept entertained by all manner of musical and non-musical offerings. Beyond the breadth and depth of family-centric entertainment, this award also distinguishes which festivals possess the most hospitable facilities for parents and their young’uns.
Line-Up of the Year
Despite how many quirky art installations and activities your festival boasts, it will always be the line-up that shifts the most tickets. We understand that some festivals have more resources than others, and so this accolade rewards those that pull off the most exciting programme in accordance with their means.
Agency of the Year
This award recognises the booking agency responsible for making the greatest positive contribution to this summer’s festival content.
Promoter of the Year
This award recognises the promoter behind at least one outstanding festival, who may have overcome adversity or exceeded themselves in a particularly notable way.
Best Non-Music Festival
It’s not just music festivals proliferating worldwide; in recent years there have been myriad events whose primary focus is other mediums and activities. From food & drink, film, gaming, sports and so on, we believe it’s about time these guys got some shine.
Best Small Festival
Despite their minimal capacity, many of these smaller events retain loyal audiences due to their intimate atmospheres, focused concepts and peculiar charm. This award recognises the best festival with a daily capacity lower than 10,000.
Best Medium-Sized Festival
With a tendency to shy away from big names and shift the focus towards specific genres and unique non-musical experiences, the rising popularity of these events demonstrates that unpredictability and character pay off. This award recognises the best festival with a daily capacity between 10,000 – 39,999.
Best Major Festival
Like temporary cities, the largest festivals are a regular pilgrimage and a rite of passage for many. An affront to the adage that less is more, these behemoths certainly have quantity covered when it comes to capacity, stages, acts and practically every other conceivable aspect. This award recognises which one is of the highest quality, and is restricted to events with a capacity exceeding 40,000 per day.
The Outstanding Contribution to Festivals Award
Dedicated to an influential individual whose personal vision and hard work has propelled the festival market forward in a dynamic, creative and positive way.
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