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Working for and with festivals and events, supporting live arts

AFO Conference 5 & 6 November 2021

AFO will use new location for annual conference

  • The Association of Festival Organisers (AFO) will invite industry professionals, festival organisers and interested trade bodies to join them for their annual Conference 5 & 6 November at a new location in the Midlands.
  • The 2020 Conference moved to an online, streamed event in February 2021 and although extremely successful, delegates, members and colleagues from the industry prefer the real, live thing so, a face-to-face Conference will be taking place across Friday and Saturday, 5 & 6 November 2021.
  • The event will feature Keynote Speakers, Panel Sessions, One2Ones, Music Showcases, a Supplier Exhibition and Debates around how the industry is recovering from the pandemic, and where our future lies.
  • Steve Heap, General Secretary of AFO said. ‘We will certainly be talking about lessons learned during the devastating pandemic, but we will be looking forward and discussing how we support each other, get our industry back on the road and design a positive future for festivals and events throughout the UK’. 
  • Our supporters and sponsors include TicketSellers, Standout Magazine, NCASS, LSL and DCRS.


  • Susan Goligher, BlackFest

    "Thank you for organising this amazing conference."

  • Steve Luscombe, DCRS

    “As a supplier the AFO Conference gives us the opportunity to meet festival and event organisers in an relaxed atmosphere.”

  • Simon Nicol, Fairport Convention

    "Really enjoyable and informative event."

  • Sandra Surtees, Director Shrewsbury Folk Festival

    "The AFO Conference is an opportunity to learn about all aspects of festival organising from grant applications, insurance, green issues, legal issues, PRS to stewarding...the list goes on.  I've been attending for over 20 years and never fail to acquire new skills.  The chance to network in the bar and to watch showcase concerts is not to be missed and great fun.  Thanks a million."

  • Rowan Riley, Oundle International & Food Festivals

    "What an awesome event."

  • Rob Ellmore, World Music Engineer

    "Great platform, great information."

  • Rita Courthold, Courthold Family Entertainment

    "A very informative day with great speakers, presentations & discussions."

  • Michael Hirst, Chair of Events Industry Board

    "I really enjoyed your conference and found it very informative too. Opened my eyes to a lot of things."

  • Lynne & Roger, Brecon Jazz Festival

    "We thoroughly enjoyed the conference, the sessions, and networking. The location, venue & accommodation were all great. The last session was unmissable, very informative and enjoyable."

  • John Wirtz, Sore Fingers Summer School

    "The AFO are our voice with government and play a part in influencing laws and guidelines at a level small individual festival organisers can only dream of."

  • Geoff Leon, Festival Vision / Bunkfest

    "AFO conference is about strategic issues that take several years to implement.  There is always some immediate issues and 6 months is long enough for them. It is also about networking with our colleagues in the industry, zoom is good but a drink over the bar is better."

  • Geoff Leon, Festival Vision

    "The round table discussions and the ability to jump tables was, for me, the highlight of the day and very useful."

  • Craig Mathie, Bournemouth 7s

    "Thank you so much for a fantastic day! Really appreciate all of the work which has gone into today."

  • Chris Johnson, Shambala Festival / Kambe Events

    "AFO Conference has real integrity as an industry meeting/gathering."

  • Bob Rushton, Derby LIVE

    "A really good day, with lots of interesting thoughts and conversation.  A bonus is a considerably lower bar bill than previous years."

  • Bob Rushton

    “Brain buzzing from AFO Conference. Some great sessions, chats, music, links and all round sense of "all being in it together"!”

  • Adam Slough

    "Massive well done, brilliant conference."

  • Adam Courthold, Chippenham Folk Festival

    "AFO Conference allows you to see from great speakers in the field of events and companies that can help, who have helped other AFO members."

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