Steve Heap, General Secretary of The Association of Festival Organisers, has received the Industry Legend Award at the 2022 Event Production Awards. The awards ceremony took place on Thursday 17 February at Novotel London West, with Andy Lenthall, CEO Festival Insights Ltd, presenting the Industry Legend Award to a surprised Steve Heap on the night.
Launched in 2012, the Event Production Awards are held annually to recognise and celebrate the excellence of individuals and teams who have delivered outdoor and live events during the previous year. Each year, more than 500 professionals gather at the Event Production Awards to celebrate success within the industry.
Celebrating a Lifetime Career
Unlike the other award categories for the EPAs, the Industry Legend Award isn’t open for nominations, with the winner instead decided by the Editor of Access All Areas.
The Industry Legend Award is designed to “…recognise outstanding achievements within and contributions to the outdoor events industry over a career. The recipient is someone who has pioneered, innovated and driven change in the industry.”
Steve Heap has been the AFO General Secretary since its formation in 1987. With over 55 years of experience in the festival and events industry, Steve is also the Director of Mrs Casey Music, Chairman of the Events Industry Form (EIF) and a contributor to The Purple Guide dealing with health, safety and welfare at music and other live events. He was also the Director of Towersey Festival for 45 years until August 2019.
Steve founded Mrs Casey Music (MCM) in 1972, initially as an artist agency before developing into a festival promoter and three years later, taking over the running of the Towersey Festival.
In the decades since, MCM has promoted music events, worked on community arts festivals, including, from 1986 to 2004, the Sidmouth International Festival in Devon. MCM was also involved in the BBC Radio 2 Young Folk Award from 2008 to 2011, has promoted concerts at the Royal Albert Hall and grown its own MCR record label.
As Director and Founder of MCM, Steve is also heavily involved in the wider arts, music and events industry. Alongside his work with the EIF and AFO, he is also a supporter of Creative Lives, LIVE, and Vision 2025.
In 2004, Steve received an EFDSS Gold Badge from The English Folk Dance and Song Society, in 2008, the Tribute of Excellence Award from NOEA and in 2011, the UK Festival Awards recognised Steve’s contribution to the industry with a Lifetime Achievement Award.
With this Industry Legend Award from the EPAs, Steve’s ongoing dedication and achievements and the work he continues to do for the industry is greatly acknowledged.
In presenting the distinguished award at the ceremony in London, Andy said, “It’s hard to pin a label on him so let’s just settle on two words – Industry Legend.”
After receiving the award, Steve said, “I was totally surprised, moved and deeply honoured and accept this kind award on behalf of the many people with whom I have worked.”
Alongside Steve Heap’s Industry Legend award, several members of The Association of Festival Organisers were also shortlisted at this year’s Event Production Awards. After a difficult couple of years for the events industry, it was wonderful to see the achievements and hard work of AFO members formally recognised with these nominations and wins.
We’re absolutely delighted for all the winners and join the industry in looking forward to a great 2022 season.