AIF’s annual flagship Festival Congress will take place in Sheffield on November 6 and 7 this year. The move to Sheffield follows four consecutive sold-out years in Cardiff.

The Congress, which has become a major fixture in the festival industry calendar, attracting over 400 delegates each year, will be held at Sheffield’s Crucible Theatre. The Independent Festival Awards will take place at 92 Burton Road – a warehouse venue that is well known for its Peddler Night Market events.

The Festival Congress offers unique networking opportunities and a platform for industry discussion via a progressive format, including TEDx style talks, interactive workshops and fireside chats with leading industry experts.

With plenty more announcements on the horizon, the Congress programme already features notable industry names including Kaye Dunnings (Creative Director, Shangri-La, Glastonbury), who will talk about the history of creative direction at festivals and how immersive design has evolved.

Other speakers confirmed so far include founding member of Cabaret Voltaire, Stephen Mallinder, who will talk about his musical journey, Sheffield post punk and the connections between the city and Cabaret Voltaire’s industrial music.

Author Rob Chapman (Psychedelia and Other Colours) will also be in attendance to deliver a condensed history of festivals and psychedelia.

Building on AIF’s recent Drastic On Plastic campaign, the event will have an ‘Under The Sea’ theme, reflecting the global single-use plastic crisis and the prediction that there will be more plastic than fish in the ocean by 2050.

Reflecting the theme, Dr Kerry Howell, Associate Professor in Marine Ecology at the University of Plymouth will deliver a talk about how technology is enabling unprecedented access in exploring the deep sea, and Daniel Webb of the Everyday Plastic project will talk about why he turned a year’s worth of plastic into a giant mural.

AIF CEO Paul Reed said: “The AIF team is excited to bring its Festival Congress to Sheffield this year, as it’s a fantastic festival city. The event is now a firm fixture for the independent festival community and these initial announcements are just the beginning for what will be an action packed and inspiring couple of days. This is the fifth year of the Festival Congress and the 10thanniversary of AIF – It promises to be a memorable one.”

Emma France, Marketing Manager- Business Tourism and Trade at Marketing Sheffield, said: “We’re delighted to welcome the Festival Congress to the Sheffield. With an extensive offering of festivals all year round, including the likes of Tramlines, Doc/Fest and Sensoria to name just a few, the city has a buzzing festival scene so it’s a perfect fit for the event, but it’s also a fantastic opportunity to showcase Sheffield to major industry players from the festival sector.”

Previous AIF Festival Congress attendees include notable organisers from the likes of Glastonbury, Bestival, Boomtown Fair, Kendal Calling, Shambala, End of the Road, Liverpool Sound City and many more.

Previous speakers and keynotes include Jude Kelly OBE (Artistic Director, Southbank Centre), John McGrath (Manchester International Festival), Zoe Cormier (Author of The Science of Hedonism), Huw Stephens (Radio One and Swn Festival Co-Founder), Simon Parkes (Founder, Brixton Academy), Professor Tim O’Brien (Jodrell Bank observatory) and many more.

Festival Congress is this year supported by Sheffield City Council, with tickets on-sale now priced at £100 for AIF members, £135 to Friends of AIF and £185 general sale exclusively through new headline event sponsor Eventbrite.

Adam is the co-founder and editor of www.eventindustrynews.com Adam, a technology evangelist also organises Event Tech Live, Europe’s only show dedicated to event technology and the Event Technology Awards. Both events take place in November, London.