15/01/15 - Festivals, artists and promoters were honoured last night as the winners of the 2014 European Festival Awards were revealed at Groningen’s De Oosterpoort in The Netherlands.
The UK had a higher profile than usual with Festival Republic’s Melvin Benn receiving the Lifetime Achievement Award, Glastonbury winning Best Line-Up and the Arctic Monkeys scooping two awards: Best Headliner and Anthem of the Summer for 'R U Mine’.
Melvin Benn heads the teams behind Latitude, Reading & Leeds Festivals, Electric Picnic, Benicassim, Hove and Berlin Festival. In addition, Benn has been Chairman of the Board of Directors of Wembley Stadium since May 2011 and was the licensee of Glastonbury Festival between 2002 and 2012.
Steve Jenner, Festival Awards director and co-founder said: "Melvin Benn’s signature has, for a long time, been engraved deeper than any other’s into the shape and character of the UK’s major festival market.
"This takes the form of a unique and unequalled blend of tactical preeminence and heartfelt passion for his events and customers, one which continues to set new standards in production, safety and sustainability that extend tangibly well beyond his own events.
"It’s a great testament to Melvin that his commitment and contributions are now being recognised at a Continental level, and it is an honour for us to be the ones presenting this award.”
Benn is one of only two Britons to have been honoured with this award, the other being Michael Eavis in 2011. Other past recipients include Jan Smeets (Netherlands), Leif Skov (Denmark), Herman Schueremans (Belgium) and Marek Lieberberg (Germany).
The European Festival Awards ceremony featured performances from Danish electro-pop artist MØ, London-based R&B musician Jack Garratt and Norwegian singer-songwriter Aurora Asknes.
Hungary’s Sziget Festival reclaimed its title of Best Major Festival (after its previous win in 2012), with Belgium scooping multiple gongs in the form of Best Indoor Festival (I Love Techno), Promoter Of The Year (Live Nation Belgium) and also Best Newcomer Artist (Stromae).
The event honoured its first ever winner from Montenegro with Sea Dance Festival, organised by the Serbian team behind Exit, awarded Best Medium-Sized Festival.
The host country of the event (The Netherlands) also landed two trophies with Down The Rabbit Festival being voted Best New Festival and Mojo/Loc Festivals scoring the YES GROUP Health & Safety Innovation Award which recognises innovative ways festivals have enhanced health and safety within their spaces.
Spain’s Primavera Sound was declared the Artists’ Favourite Festival whilst Best Small Festival went to Poland’s Tauron Nowa Muzyka. The Green Operations Award recognised Denmark’s Roskilde Festival in co-operation with Stop Wasting Food as the night’s sustainable champions.
The new Award for Excellence and Passion, recognising an individual whose dedication and creativity has produced a truly magical event, went to Roskilde Festival’s Rikke Øxner, who retired this year after serving the festival for two decades and was Chairman of Yourope – The European Festival association for many years.
Steve Jenner said: "It’s inspiring to have a winners’ list that is so reflective of the cultural diversity and strength of passion, dedication, creativity and quality of delivery that underpins Europe’s incredible festival scene today.
"Despite the competition in an increasingly crowded market, and under some tough conditions in recent years, tonight saw Europe’s festival organisers gathering to celebrate as one industry.
"I think that’s a very special thing that can only strengthen the market and we are honoured to be the hosts of this event. Our thanks go out to all who took part in this year’s awards.”
Christof Huber of YOUROPE added: "We’re very pleased with how the awards has grown, this year especially. It’s always a privilege to toast the achievements of a great festival season with the best in the continent.
"A huge congratulations to all the winners, and to all the finalists. It’s an exceptional accolade to make it into the top 10, as we had more festivals taking part this year than ever before.”
The winners were decided by a combination of public votes and the EFA jury – made up of journalists, booking agents, festival organisers – who had a 25 per cent say in the final outcome of the public voted categories. More than 1.2 million votes from festival fans all over the world were cast (a 100% increase on last year’s figure) with festivals in more than 35 countries taking part.
Best Small Festival Festival
Tauron Nowa Muzyka (Poland)
Best Indoor Festival
I Love Techno (Belgium)
Green Operations Award in association with Yourope and The GO Group
Roskilde Festival and Stop Wasting Food (Denmark)
Best Newcomer Act
Artists’ Favourite Festival
Primavera Sound (Spain)
Best New Festival
Down The Rabbit Hole (The Netherlands)
Anthem Of The Year
Arctic Monkeys – 'R U Mine’
The Health & Safety Innovation Award in association with The YES Group and ICM&SS
MOJO/LOC Festivals (The Netherlands)
Best Medium-Sized Festival in association with Eventbrite
Sea Dance Festival (Montenegro)
Promoter Of The Year
Live Nation (Belgium)
Glastonbury Festival (United Kingdom)
Arctic Monkeys (United Kingdom)
Best Major Festival in association with PlugGo
Sziget Festival (Hungary)
The Lifetime Achievement Award
Melvin Benn (United Kingdom)
The Award for Excellence And Passion in association with Yourope
Rikke Øxner (Denmark)