AFO’s 30th anniversary conference

afoThe Association of Festival Organisers (AFO) celebrates 30 years at its popular annual conference on 11-13 November. Over 250 delegates from the festival and events industry will be joining together to celebrate the association’s 30th birthday at Ettington Chase Conference Centre, Stratford-upon-Avon.

Since its formation in 1986, when a small group of like-minded festival organisers got together to chat and share ideas, the AFO’s membership has grown to over 200 festival and event organisers, suppliers, agents and freelance individuals.

The conference is open to all in the industry; delegates are an exciting mix of volunteer and professional festival and event organisers, bringing together teams that have been operating for generations, first time organisers and new suppliers with familiar names. From Friday evening to late lunch on Sunday, the session rooms and stages will be buzzing with headline speakers, presentations, discussions, ‘how to do that’ sessions and panel debates. The Trade Market forms the all-important networking hub and two Showcase concerts will feature the best up and coming artists on the festival scene.

Steve Heap, general secretary of AFO, says, “Whatever your role or interest in festivals or events, if you are dedicated to learning and teaching, sharing and networking to continuously improve the scene, you’ll find plenty of common ground at the AFO Conference.”

AFO has announced its first speakers and sessions:

  • Sustainability – Chris Johnson (Powerful Thinking)
  • Health and safety and risk assessments – Mike Richmond (The Event Safety Shop Ltd)
  • Beginners guide to running a festival – Steve Heap (AFO)
  • Eventree case study – Mo Jones (TheTicketSellers) and Jon Walsh (Shambala Festival)
  • Legal advice – Jon Payne (LSL Solicitors)
  • Looking after your audience – panel includes Dave Boardman (The White Ribbon Campaign) on the safety of women, plus speakers on the safety of children and the safety of vulnerable adults.

Other confirmed topics include: PRS; ‘How do festivals attract the 60 million UK residents who have never been?’; women in the festival industry; and ‘Are there really too many festivals?’ More topics will be announced over the coming weeks.

Delegate passes are now on sale at the early bird rate of £110 for AFO members, £135 for non-members (until 31 October 2016). Trade stands cost £300 for AFO members and £400 for non-members. Book via the AFO website at

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