Charity festival wins prestigious award for excellence

The unique SICK! Festival in Brighton, which is delivered in partnership with leading arts organisations, medical and academic institutions, charities and community groups, has won the prestigious EFFE 2015/16 Award for excellence. Presented in Paris on Sunday 27th September, the prize rewards 12 of the most outstanding European festivals of this year from a pool of 760 festivals from 31 countries.

Selected by an international panel of experts, the award recognises quality, innovation and risk-taking approaches to festival-making. It comes just two-and-a-half years since the pilot edition of the SICK! Festival and reflects the festivals rapid evolution and burgeoning international reputation.


The bold Brighton event is the first festival in the UK dedicated to revealing and debating our most urgent physical, mental and social challenges and has now expanded into venues across Manchester as well as Brighton.

The SICK! Festival team have expressed their gratitude to Arts Council England, Wellcome Trust, Brighton & Hove City Council and the Roddick Foundation for their support, to all the fantastic artists who presented work in the festivals, and all those who contributed their expertise and insight to the programme. The festival would not have been possible without such amazing partner organisations in the arts, academia, charities sector and public health. 

SICK! Festival confronts the challenges of life and death and how we survive them (or don’t). The festival bears witness to the physical, mental and social realities of our lives, shining a light on urgent issues that often remain misunderstood or taboo. Rooted in personal experience and shared understanding the festival brings together voices from the arts, science, healthcare, charities and those who confront these issues in their daily lives.

The EFFE Prize-winners are:

  • Ars Electronica (Linz, Austria)
  • Festival d’Aix-en-Provence (Aix-en-Provence, France)
  • BIG BANG (Antwerp, Belgium; festival takes place in 11 cities across Europe)
  • Malta Festival Poznań (Poznań, Poland)
  • Midnight Sun Film Festival (Sodankylä, Finland)
  • Manifesta (Amsterdam, Netherlands; location of festival changes with each edition)
  • NEXT (Lille, France/Kortrijk, Belgium (Flanders)/Tournai, Belgium (Wallonia))
  • Noorderzon Performing Arts Festival (Groningen, Netherlands)
  • Perforations Festival (Zagreb/Rijeka/Dubrovnik, Croatia)
  • Prague Quadrennial of Performance Design and Space (Prague, Czech Republic)
  • Santarcangelo Festival Internazionale del teatro in Piazza (Santarcangelo di Romagna, Italy)
  • SICK! (Brighton/Manchester, United Kingdom)

EFFE (Europe for Festivals and Festivals for Europe) is a platform founded earlier this year by the European Festivals Association (1952) intended to pay more attention to the profound importance of festivals for European society. Hundreds of festivals have associated themselves with this platform in the past year, which intends to play a guiding role for festivals in Europe.


The organisers of SICK! Fesitval are currently developing the programme for the next festival in 2017 and an exciting new SICK! Lab event in Manchester in March 2016.