To kick-start the week, we’re happy to reveal our two quick-fire Soapbox Sessions panels, which will cover a wide range of specialist topics including agency roster analysis, socially distanced events, sounds of space, mental health, accessibility and the latest developments in the fight against Covid-19.


2 September, 14:00 – 15:00 BST

ROSTR: The Agency World in Numbers
You may know ROSTR from their analysis of the Coachella lineup & The World’s Leading Artist Management Companies. In this Soapbox Session, ROSTR Co-Founder & CEO, Mark Williamson, will present highlights from an analysis of 650+ agency rosters – unique for iFF – including data around artist size, genre, gender & more.

AIF presents: Touching Base
Deer Shed director and AIF member Kate Webster will talk delegates through Deer Shed Basecamp, the festival’s socially distanced, sold-out camping weekender. Featuring Covid-secure pop-up live performances and an on-site radio station, Basecamp was an innovative way of providing an experience to the Deer Shed audience beyond the digital realm – and, crucially, a way of generating some income during a lost festival season.

AIF presents: Sounds of Space
Hear signals from spacecraft at the dawn of the space age, mixed with the rhythmic beats of pulsars, black holes and the Big Bang. Space is big – very big – and it sounds incredible. Tim O’Brien – professor at Jodrell Bank Centre for Astrophysics at the University of Manchester (the site of AIF member festival Bluedot) – will reprise a much-loved talk from a previous AIF Festival Congress.

Covid-19: You Are Here
In light of the coronavirus’s devastating impact on the 2020 festival season, getting the virus under control is a key concern for live music professionals. Dr Mark Salter, consultant for global health at Public Health England, will update delegates on the latest international developments in the fight against Covid-19, including the search for a vaccine, as well as how public health authorities are planning for the months ahead.

Getting Back to Work: The Fan’s Perspective
Vivid Interface’s Geoff Dixon will present exclusive new research on festivalgoers’ confidence about returning to live events over the next 12 months. After losing 2020, festival professionals are working full steam ahead towards summer 2021, when it is expected that large-scale events will return in full force. But in the absence of a Covid-19 vaccine, do music fans share their enthusiasm?


3 September, 14:00 – 14:45 BST

Before Covid-19, the industry was working on a range of causes to improve the lives of both its workforce and audiences alike. Now that attention is turning towards recovery, it’s time to ensure efforts around each of these four topics continues. These presentations from specialists will cover diversity, accessibility, & mental health and welfare.

Accessibility: Building Back Better
To mark Attitude is Everything’s 20th year, the charity’s head of programmes, Gideon Feldman, will reflect on key successes in its campaign to make festivals and shows more accessible for deaf and disabled fans. Plus, looking to the future, how can we ensure deaf and disabled people continue to be central to live music’s ‘new normal’?

Equality: Representation Matters
Francine Gorman, pledge coordinator for the Keychange initiative, will update delegates on the work being done to advance gender equality during the lost festival summer, and explain why it’s vital the movement for gender-balanced festival line-ups continues when live music returns.

Mental Health: Minding the Gap
Taking a break from writing her Touring & Mental Health Manual, festival booker-turned-psychotherapist Tamsin Embleton MA MBACP will bring iFF up to date on the fight for better mental wellbeing in live, particularly in the context of the summer-long music shutdown, and identify where to focus in future.

Diversity: Talent Needs Development
The A Blueprint for the Future report, published in June, throws into stark relief the barriers preventing young people – particularly those from disadvantaged groups – from gaining a foothold in the industry. Youth Music’s Daniel Williams will explain how festivals can do their part to champion underrepresented talent and promote greater diversity in live music.

You can view the full schedule here.



iFF is an event for music festivals and booking agents, although a small number of passes are made available for suppliers and other professionals.

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