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About AFO

Working for and with festivals and events

AFO was started in 1987 when a group of festival organisers came together to exchange views and ideas. It was clear that supporting each other was a good way forward for the whole of the festival scene. AFO are an independent organisation with an office in the East Midlands and a nationwide brief. 
We continue to develop and grow, providing support for our members and a voice for the festival and events industry to HM government, local authorities, UK live music industry and much more.

Our current priorites are:

  • Writing and collating new resource documents for publication on the AFO website
  • The review of the Purple Guide Subscribe to the Purple Guide
  • Constantly reviewing our AFO Code of Best Practice for Festivals
  • Staying in contact with the All Party Parliamentary Group supporting our events and other similar organisations in Government circles
  • Working closely with British Visitors and Events Partnership (BVEP) to establish a strong link between our events and the UK Tourist industry
  • Continuing to approach the media and raise awareness of festivals wherever possible
  • Organising the annual AFO Conference started in 1987
  • Working with members and others to further widen the membership of AFO to the benefit of all
  • Continuing to be a source of information gathering and dissemination and advice though email, telephone and personal meetings, so supporting the festival industry in the UK
  • Keeping our members informed throughout the COVID-19 crisis
  • Planning single subject training days

Our achievements:

  • Growing the Association from small beginnings to over 250 members.
  • Contributing to major changes in licensing law
  • Negotiating special arrangements with PRS for Music (Licensing)
  • Arranging and maintaining contact with many other associations in the industry
  • Assisting in the writing and editing of The Purple Guide Lite specifically for smaller events
  • Creating a Code of Best Practice and helping to form and maintain the All Party Parliamentary Group for Events
  • Writing, assisting the editing and management of the Purple Guide online with colleagues at the Events Industry Forum (EIF)

AFO Advisory Group

Since its formation in 1987 the AFO has gone from strength to strength. This has not happened without the constant and steady support of an Advisory Group made up mostly, in the first instance, of well-experienced festival organisers but now expanding its membership to encompass a new wave of young and enthusiastic organisers from festivals of all kinds. The AFO Advisory Group comes together once or twice a year and communicates by phone and email to help put together the Conference and to discuss crucial issues that threaten or indeed support our work as festival and event managers.

The current core AFO Advisory Group is as follows:

We also invite others from time to time, applying their particular skills to current tasks.

Feel free to contact any of them at any time. Just click on their name.

Related Pages

General Secretary Writes

Meet the Team

Steve Heap
Steve Heap - General Secretary
Steve has been the General Secretary of AFO since its formation in 1987.  He is also the Director of Mrs Casey Music and was Director of Towersey Festival for 45 years, having retired after the 2019 Festival in August  He has over forty years’ experience in the festival and events industry and is currently Chairman of the Events Industry Forum (EIF) and a contributor to the Purple Guide.

Lioux Heap - AFO Accreditation
Lioux has over 20 years’ experience of working at festivals and events.  She is currently the Producer of All About Children at Towersey Festival and has worked on pre-Festival accreditation for Trade, Catering, Volunteers and Box Office.  Lioux also does freelance work for BBC Radio 2/7Digital Creative, Folk on The Pier, Moonbeams, Cambridge Folk Festival and Costa del Folk.

AFO Partners