The first European Festival Awards will take place Jan. 13, 2010 in Norway during EuroSonic Noorderslag, the annual European music conference and showcase festival.

The concept has been developed in association with European festival organization Yourope and online portal Virtual Festivals.

The awards will be based on a similar model to Virtual Festival's U.K. Festival Awards, launched in 2004, including categories such as best major, medium and small European festival, best line-up and best new festival as well as artist-related awards such as best newcomer and festival anthem of the year. Those behind the scenes will also be honoured with accolades such as promoter of the year and lifetime achievement award.

The shortlist and final winners will be decided by an industry panel and a public vote via the Virtual Festivals Europe Web site (eu.virtualfestivals.com) in the autumn. Categories will be announced in due course.

Any festival listed on the Virtual Festivals Europe site is eligible to apply for the awards at no cost. Details will be announced shortly. Tickets to the event will be exclusively available to EuroSonic Noorderslag delegates.

"It's great to finally organize a night to celebrate the European Festivals together with our key partners Virtual Festivals Europe and Noorderslag EuroSonic," said Yourope chairman Christof Huber in a statement.

Virtual Festivals director Steve Jenner added: "We are very excited to be involved in the creation of this unique and special event that seeks to bring together the incredible, vibrant and diverse festival community of Europe across international borders, to be celebrated as one."

EuroSonic Nooderslag will be held Jan. 14 to 16. It estimates attendance of more than 2,600 professionals from 34 countries.