The accolade comes from the European Festivals Association, which presented the Europe for Festivals, Festivals for Europe label to IF director Monica Ferguson at a ceremony in Germany.
EFFE is Europe’s Label for remarkable festivals initiated by the European Festivals Association. Designed to embrace Europe as an idea of community, reciprocal understanding and responsibility, the EFA connects festivals that are deeply committed to the arts, their communities and Europe with international audiences.
Monica Ferguson said: “As we approach the fifth edition of the Festival in 2018, it is a great time to receive this EFFE Label. Thanks to the vision and support of Arts Council England, Milton Keynes Council and our many sponsors and partners, we have been able to create and deliver an ambitious Festival that has really captured the public imagination.”
In 2016 over 500,000 Festival-goers – from Milton Keynes, across the country and internationally – enjoyed ten “amazing days” in the city, she added.
“We thank EFFE for awarding us this Label and we look forward to using it to connect with more artists and welcome more visitors from across Europe.”
Milton Keynes’ biennial Festival was assessed and scored by 95 experts before going to an international jury. It praised the way in which IF:Milton Keynes International Festival has grown its artistic programme to embrace its local infrastructure, landscape and communities to extend its ambition and relevance to international issues and embrace innovative artistic engagement.
Geoff Snelson, director of strategy and futures for Milton Keynes Council, said: "It is great news that the International Festival has received this accolade from the influential European Festivals Association. It is deserved recognition of the international quality of our Festival and the talented team at The Stables who are its driving force. The award will give further momentum to Milton Keynes’ bid to become European Capital of Culture in 2023."
Recipients of the EFFE Label 2017-2018 are now featured in the online European festivals calendar which offers audiences worldwide a window to Europe’s vibrant cultural scene.