Conferences & Training

AFO Conference 2016

Ettington Chase Conference Centre,
tford-upon Avon, CV37 7NZ

Buy your delegate pass before 31 October 2016 and save ££s

Eventbrite - The Association of Festival Organisers Conference 2016

NB: Accommodation is not included in your delegate pass.  Please book separately.
Special accommodation rate available until 5pm, 21 October - book NOW!


a full agenda will be available to download from early November.

Back by popular demand

The Colin Irwin Interview with Andy Kershaw - volume 2
The Colin Irwin interview with Andy Kershaw 

Friday 11 November

► 5pm Registration Opens

► Acoustic Set from Cardboard Fox

► A Festival Story - Colin Gorrie (Bristol Jazz & Blues Festival) tells us the details ...

► 9pm Showcase Concert

Saturday 12 November

► 9am Registration Opens

► AFO update - What has AFO been doing all year - Steve Heap (AFO)

► Festival Vision:2025, a pledge to act on climate change - Chris Johnson (Powerful Thinking)
Celebrating 50 UK Festivals signing the Festival Vision:2025, Chris gives us an update on the project so far, and invites festival organisers to join the biggest environmental movement in the history of the UK festival industry.

► Don't risk it for all our health and safety - Mike Richmond (The Event Safety Shop Ltd)

► Women at Events - 1) Why so many men? - Sarah Cole (The Network of Women in Events - NOWIE) 2) Women's safety at Festivals - Dave Boardman (The White Ribbon Campaign)

► Balancing a Programme - panel includes festival artistic directors

► Disability Dilemmas - how to make your festival as accessible as possible - Paul Hawkins (Attitude is Everything)
The disabled live music audience is increasing, with nearly four million deaf or disabled people attending at least one gig or festival a year. This interactive session facilitated by Paul Hawkins, Festival Project Manager for Attitude is Everything, will explore accessibility issues, your responsibilities under the Equality Act and provide practical, effective and affordable solutions to the typical “disability dilemmas” your festival can face.

► Revenue, Service, Attraction? - What is Festival Trading? - Mark Laurie (NCASS), Rebecca Stewart (Cambridge) and Andy Lever (NMTF)

► All About Children © - Lioux Heap (Towersey Festival) and Emma Holling (Underneath the Stars Festival)
Happy children = happy adults.  Children's events and activities at your festival or event.

► Sell More Tickets - optimise your conversion rate - Simon Roberts (Eventbrite)
Expanding your marketing budget isn’t the only way to grow your ticket sales. Conversation rate optimisation (CRO) and data analytics have become two of the most effective methods of increasing engagement - and ticket sales - online. With a variety of tools now at our fingertips, it’s time for festival organisers to get to grips with basic CRO practices, automating data sources and maximising their marketing spend. 

► You spend how much on artists!?
% of budget, same as last year, what I like - how do you decide?

► Eventree case study - Mo Jones (TheTicketSellers) and Jon Walsh (Shambala Festival)
Eventree is the simplest way to organise the people who work at your event, from traders and artists to site crew and volunteers. Features include:  Accreditation and meals, Applications, Document management, Budget & resource management, Access control. This session will include a case study of how the system has been developed by TheTicketSellers, working closely with Shambala Festival.

Beginners Guide to Festivals

► The Colin Irwin Interview with Andy Kershaw - Volume 2.  Back by popular demand ... Guardian journalist, Colin Irwin and the world music DJ and pioneer, Andy Kershaw return to the famous AFO Conference armchairs and pick up where they left off last time to continue Andy's story ...

Other Saturday sessions include:
- Delivered, Accommodation and Riders
- Campsites and Car Parks
- "Don't use my photograph" - How to avoid misuse

► 8.30pm Showcase Concert

Sunday 13 November

► 10am Registration Opens

► Round table sessions open for One2Ones chat
- Legal advice with Jon Payne (LSL Solicitors)
- Insurance with Tracey McGreath (La Playa)
- Drones: Killer Machines or an Event Organisers Best Friend? including a demonstration on how to fly a drone safely with Andrew McQuillen (Crowded Space Drones)

 PRS for Music join festival team - a significant announcement

► Top tips from know-it-alls
An ideas and systems sharing session

► Festivals without CASH (A Code of Conduct) - Mark Laurie (NCASS)

► 12.10pm Conference Round-up

Parts of this Agenda are subject to change.  See Full agenda published in early November for final details.

Delegates Attending

Open to all in the industry: our delegates are an exciting mix of volunteer and professional festival and event organisers, bringing together teams that have been running for generations with first time organisers, new suppliers with familiar names, programmers and marketing specialists. 

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 AFO Conference.

From Friday evening to late lunch on Sunday, the session rooms and stages are buzzing with headline speakers, presentations, discussions, 'how to do that' sessions and panel debates. The trade market is the place to meet the latest industry suppliers and network, plus there are numerous opportunities to share your knowledge and experience with others. A whole host of industry professionals and lead suppliers together in one space at one conference.

With One2Ones to save you £100s, showcases, networking lunch and more!

Plus enjoy some of the best new music with Friday & Saturday Showcases and acoustic breaks throughout the days.

Delegate Pass - AFO Member                      £110
inc Lunch on Saturday and light refreshments throughout

Delegate Pass - Non-Member                      £135
inc Lunch on Saturday and light refreshments throughout

Delegate Pass from 1 November 2016        £145 (AFO members & non-members)
inc Lunch on Saturday and light refreshments throughout

Trade Stand - AFO Member                          £300
inc. Exhibition Space, Table, Chairs, Power, 2 Delegate Passes. Lunch on Sat and refreshments throughout.

Trade Stand - Non-Member                           £400
inc. Exhibition Space, Table, Chairs, Power, 2 Delegate Passes. Lunch on Sat and refreshments throughout.

Goodie Bag - AFO Member                          £70
insert into delegate conference pack

Each additional item                                    £30

Goodie Bag - Non-Member                         £90
insert into delegate conference pack

Each additional item                                  £40

Eventbrite - The Association of Festival Organisers Conference 2016

Thank you to our 2016 sponsors and partners:

       ID & C      


Conference Sponsorship

Get great exposure to our delegates with this invaluable opportunity. We have a variety of sponsorship packages available or we can talior make a package to specifically fit your needs. For more information about sponsorship please email the AFO Office or call us on 01629 827014.

One Conference Session Sponsorship   £800
inc. Exhibition Space, Table, Chairs, Power, 2 Delegate Passes. Lunch on Sat and refreshments throughout and sponsorship of a Session at the 2016 Confereince with banner space, logo display, full programme credit and introduction.

A Showcase – Friday or Saturday              £500
inc. Banner Space, Logo Display, Agenda Credit and Introduction from MC.  Banner and Logo to appear throughout the Showcase.

Full Conference Sponsorship                     £5000
inc. Exhibition Space, Table, Chairs, Power, 4 Delegate Passes. Lunch on Sat and refreshments throughout and Accommodation inc Breakfast on Friday and Saturday Night.
Sponsorship of the whole Conference with front of venue banner space, headline logo display on all marketing, full Conference title credit and introduction and a “meet the sponsor” wine reception on Saturday evening.

Become a Sponsor

Some comments from previous delegates….

“The most useful trade event I have attended all year. Focused, informative, well organised and enjoyable. What more can you ask for?” Midnight Mango

“The AFO Conference is an event you should attend if you are serious about running a festival.” Regent Music

“A weekend to get right into the mindset of running a festival.” Blokefest

 “The AFO Conference is essential to a festival’s planning.” The Hawth, Crawley

 “Immersive, inviting and enjoyable.” Wicked Events

“A friendly, welcoming networking opportunity.” Wild Rumpus

"We sent two reps to the last Festival Organisers Conference and were knocked out by the response they got and the information the were able to absorb. At last Christine and I are not voices in the wilderness." - Brian Kell, Whittlesea Straw Bear

I first did the AFO (Conference) in 1994! . . . and I still learn something new every year. I’ll vow to stop when I know it all (i.e. never)’ - James Shepard, Larmer Tree Festival Director

Real proper issues and solutions via people with real experience'  - Joy Durrant, Shropshire Council


The Conference is held in the charming Ettington Chase - comfortable accommodation based in 11 acres of beautifully landscaped grounds, modern conference facilities. Great food and the use of the swimming pool and sauna all add to the experience.

Associates at AFO Conference:

But I don't run a Festival or event....

Throughout the Conference there is a dedicated Trade & Agents Market, giving you the opportunity to talk to artists’ agents and event suppliers. Past traders have included medical care, temporary roadway, mobile bars, fireworks, ticket suppliers and even balloon modelling and street entertainment!

It's the ideal opportunity to sell your product or service by having a stand at the Conference and meeting hundreds of potential customers OR by placing an insert in the Delegate Goodie bag or both!

Other Conferences & Training Events:

Looking for training in a particular area, or just a refresher for new team members? 

Contact AFO for details of our bespoke training days.