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Working for and with festivals and events, supporting live arts


The Association of Festival Organisers' Conference 2023 was packed with ADVICE and KNOWLEDGE from EXPERTS within the festival/events industry (sessions recorded are listed below.)  You can purchase all presentations recorded - the cost will be £25

Click here to purchase access all recordings


SESSION 1 - Do you care?: Health and Welfare for all - Craig Mathie
A panel discussion led by Craig Mathie, founder of Project 30, to consider how the live events industry looks after it’s staff, volunteers, artists and audiences. Exploring how we can – do – should look after people properly, the panel will spark the conversation on best practice and how to adopt it within your events.

SESSION 2 - Should Artists be in your marketing team? - Joe Heap
Hear Towersey Festival Director, Joe Heap, discussing how much artists could, should, will, or won’t help you to sell tickets!

SESSION 3 - The view from LIVE - Jon Collins
Jon Collins, CEO of LIVE (the voice of the UK’s live music and entertainment business), gives an overview of LIVE’s work, the state of the industry, and how festivals fit into the live music ecosystem.

SESSION 4 - Martyn’s Law - Russ Phillips
Martyn’s Law will impact all festivals and events – Russ Phillips, member of the UK Crowd Management Association, and author of the Purple Guide’s Counter Terrorism section, gives an overview of the law’s aims to create a coherent and proportionate approach to protective security.

SESSION 5 - Big, Bigger, Biggest, Best - Steve Heap
AFO’s General Secretary addresses the measures of success that we use, or abuse.

SESSION 6- Green Nation & Green Events Code - Vikki Chapman, Hannah Cox & Chris Johnson
Vikki will give information on Live Nation’s work on implementing Green Nation, including sharing progress on connecting some of their festival sites to mains power.

Better Not Stop’s mission is “to ensure businesses can fundamentally be better in every sense – through sustainable growth, financial growth, environmental and social impact. And to ensure businesses never stop being better.”

Hear how these initiatives are making a difference within the world of live events.

Chris joins the panel to outline the Green Events Code - developed by Vision:2025 – and how it is intended to provide clear and robust minimum standards and shared targets for sustainability across the outdoor events industry.

SESSION 7 - Arts Council England Project Grants – Hannah Travers
An informative overview to help you get to grips with the Arts Council England Let’s Create Outcomes and Investment Principles and help you craft the winning budget, project plan and application. Understand what you need to include, what consultation you need to do, how to reduce your application’s risk and how to increase your project’s feasibility so you can secure the funding you need.

SESSION  8 - Diverse and Representative Programming - Vick Bain, Eddie Barcan
Founder of The F-List for Music directory of female musicians, Vick Bain, is joined by Splendid Events’ Eddie Barcan to discuss inequality, and the road to equality, within the live music scene.Achieving a 50/50 gender balanced programme is a pledge for many festivals, and this brings an opportunity to discuss the importance, and how you can achieve this within your events.

SESSION 9 - International Rescue! - Ian Smith
Ian’s years of work running International agencies Frusion and Fizzion and many years as national chair of UK Musicians Union Folk Roots and Trad music section international led to his founding UKEArtswork - an independent non-commercial initiative set up in 2020 to ensure that the arts and all its workers can continue to work as smoothly as possible pre and post Brexit. He’ll be
explaining the mysteries of work permits, visas, carnets, and getting artists from the EU into the UK (and vice-versa!)

SESSION 10 - Remove barriers. Welcome everyone. Do your part. - Jacob Adams, Alex Covell
Attitude is Everything work to connect disabled people with music and live event industries to improve access together. Jacob Adams (and Alex Covell) outline the organisation’s work and their campaigns, and discuss the practical approaches, training and resources that are available to help the access needs of audiences, artists, staff and volunteers.

You can, as we all have done, learn so much from these industry experts that will go some way to helping you plan and deliver your festival this year.


  • Susan Goligher, BlackFest

    "Thank you for organising this amazing conference."

  • Simon Nicol, Fairport Convention

    "Really enjoyable and informative event."

  • Sandra Surtees, 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."

  • 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."

  • 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."

  • Adam Slough

    "Massive well done, brilliant conference."

  • Adam Courthold, The Courthold Family

    "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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