First UK Festival Conference panels unveiled

ORGANISERS OF the UK Festival Awards have today announced details of their annual UK Festival Conference, which takes place the day of the Awards, Tuesday 15 November. Now in its 4th year, the UK Festival Conference is the only event that brings the festival industry together for a day of debates, discussion, networking and information sharing.

Panel discussions at the UK Festival Conference will present and debate the latest thinking and business insight in addition to reviewing the year’s key achievements and challenges. Following the success of last year’s sold-out event, there will be further focus on the most important issues in the industry, plus extended and expanded networking opportunities.

Exclusive to the 2011 UK Festival Conference will be a presentation of the UK Festival Market Report – a business review of the market, incorporating results from Festival Awards’ newly-commissioned exclusive market research of festival-goers’ opinions.

The survey will be conducted by a global market research agency and will be the most accurate study of audience habits ever undertaken.

Festival Awards Ltd MD James Drury, said: “Since it was launched four years ago, the UK Festival Conference has become a focal point for discussion of key issues and an opportunity to review the season just passed. The pace of change in the industry makes it one of the most exciting in the world, and the determination to keep improving is inspirational. I’m looking forward to insightful discussions on the back of a year of new challenges.”

The Conference takes place at the HMV Forum in London, and will feature six panel sessions featuring experts in their relevant fields. Sessions confirmed so far:

Weather – Or Not (in association with TPi)

2011’s stage collapse tragedies have reminded everyone that bad weather can be sudden, vicious and lethal. It’s not the first year that the elements have played their part in fatalities; perhaps we need to learn our lessons a little faster. Is it the structures themselves at fault, or perhaps the decision-making process? A panel of organisers, staging companies, enforcers and insurers will debate the issues and uncover answers.

From Online to Onsite – How Social Commerce Can Boost Your Business (in association with Music Mind Exchange)

Despite festivals deploying social media to communicate with fans, not many take full advantage of the sales opportunities on offer on sites such as Facebook. Social media commerce experts will present the possibilities and advise how to get even more out of online for a festival.

Keeping Up Appearances (in association with LIVE UK)

How can festivals secure the loyalty of their festival-goers in a sector that is awash with a huge variety of events covering all genres of music? The panel will examine the ways organisers are adapting to the potential saturation of the marketplace and key survival tips to make a festival stand out from its competition.

Keynote Q&A – Melvin Benn (in association with IQ)

One of the greatest festival promoters in the world, the MD of Festival Republic (behind Reading, Leeds, Latitude, The Big Chill, Ireland’s Electric Picnic, Norway’s Hove, Germany’s Berlin Festival and new US venture Orlando Calling), licensee of Glastonbury and Chairman of Wembley Stadium, will share his views on the UK festival industry.

In addition to these sessions, the UK Festival Conference will feature a dedicated networking and exhibition lobby, a drinks reception and an exclusive copy of the UK Festival Report.

Combined tickets for the UK Festival Awards and the UK Festival Conference are on sale now from