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General Secretary Writes | Association of Festival Organisers

Steve Heap, General Secretary of AFO and Chair of EIF shares his thoughts and experiences.

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General Secretary Writes - September 2020

General Secretary Writes - September 2020

24th September 2020

So that’s about the end of the 2020 season When I last wrote the details of my diary known as ‘General Secretary Writes’, we were in the middle of August with loads of festivals that should have happened and of course virtually none did. We continue to talk with government through DCMS and UK Music amongst others to achieve best possible deals for festivals and that was con...

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General Secretary Writes - August 2020

General Secretary Writes - August 2020

11th August 2020

I think I brought my diary up to date with you to somewhere in the middle of July. I can tell you now that on 19 July we had a meet with Simon Care to discuss a few things about how AFO was handling the Covid crisis.  We also had a moment to check out the Albion Christmas Tour which may or may not occur and the Towersey At Home Day on 29 August. 20 July - I was invited to appear on BBC ...

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General Secretary Writes - The last few weeks

General Secretary Writes - The last few weeks

17th July 2020

There has been a great deal going on since I last summarised the work we do on your behalf and I would like to bring you up to speed.  Some of this is included in emails sent out to members and other parts you will find in detail in the NEWS section on the AFO website https://www.festivalorganisers.org/news I can tell you that on 6 July I represented AFO in the EIF Board meeting to look...

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General Secretary Writes - Life during lockdown

General Secretary Writes - Life during lockdown

4th July 2020

Hello Members and others, I hope this finds you safe and well. Since I last wrote my diary it has been a very busy period, even though locked up in the house and garden.  As I write I believe we could be entering week fifteen here. 18 May - I spoke via Zoom link to students of Event Management at Derby University. 19 May - Chaired our first EIF online meeting (go to meetings) where w...

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General Secretary Writes - Banging the AFO drum, with UK Live Music Group (the good guys), MU, DCMS, EIF, AIF and countless others

General Secretary Writes - Banging the AFO drum, with UK Live Music Group (the good guys), MU, DCMS, EIF, AIF and countless others

18th May 2020

Tell me, why did I get up at 5:30am to drive to the station for an early train that would get me to a meeting in London for 11am?  I usually did 3 meetings and caught a train back to be home in time for the 10 o’clock news (PM). Then there was a virus pandemic, all meetings cancelled.  Enter stage left ZOOM!  A meeting before lunch and a dog walk as well.  With a good ...

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General Secretary Writes - Happy New Year - Welcome to 2020

General Secretary Writes - Happy New Year - Welcome to 2020

16th January 2020

Welcome to 2020 and a Happy New Year to you all. Good luck with planning for the coming season.  We may well not have got rid of winter just yet but in our minds are the warmer summer days of festivals. AFO website Use the AFO website as much as you like but then a little bit more, because AFO is not high enough up the rankings so if you were to enter through Google or Bing you...

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General Secretary Writes - What's been going on?

General Secretary Writes - What's been going on?

10th December 2019

It was a busy summer ending roughly around the Bank Holiday weekend for the AFO office. Early September became a clean and tidy up period with some office equipment and furniture moving to a new space. By mid-September we were well into planning the AFO Conference for Stratford Manor mid-November and thinking about AFO plans for 2020 and 2021. 26 September Travelled to Shipley in West York...

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A quick catch up

A quick catch up

10th July 2019

Looking back to the beginning of June I was plotting which festivals I would want to visit.  There was an overriding feeling that ticket sales were a bit slow this year.  One or two sell-outs, like Shambala and Glastonbury of course, but there were many others from the smaller up to the middle size festivals reporting quite slow sales.  I think we unanimously put this down to the ho...

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Describe your AFO in one sentence

Describe your AFO in one sentence

27th March 2019

FOR 2019 SEASON   You should by now be well into the planning of your festivals and events.  I hope ticket sales are going well and apart from a quick flurry of snow just a few days ago, spring seems to be heading our way, summer not far behind.  Good Luck with yours! And finally, here is a challenge.  Would you help us with our publicity and marketing by describing yo...

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Attended the Open-Air Business (Glamping) Conference

Attended the Open-Air Business (Glamping) Conference

25th March 2019

I attended the Open-Air Business (Glamping) Conference on behalf of AFO in Leicestershire.  Organised by the magazine Open Air Business, some of you will have seen at last year’s Conference, definitely a booming industry and if glamping isn’t part of your festival already, then it really should be.  It is demanded by potential customers and a money spinner...

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Meeting potential sponsors for AFO conference

Meeting potential sponsors for AFO conference

18th March 2019

I was in in the south of England talking to one or two potential sponsors for AFO Conference and moved on to a whole day of studying waste and recycling in Swindon and Devizes.  I will report accordingly and hopefully be recommending good companies to look after yours in a green 21st century way....

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Our new website

Our new website

27th February 2019

A long telephone meeting with Jon Sloper, designer of the new AFO website.  If you haven’t looked at it in detail you are looking at some of it right now and you should search the rest where you will pick up lots of information and opportunities to market your own festivals and events. And that brought an extremely busy February to an end. As March opened I had a meeting...

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Plans for a training day later in this season are coming together

Plans for a training day later in this season are coming together

26th February 2019

Attended the Production Show at Olympia where I get a view of new products, companies wanting to sell into our industry and will produce a separate newsletter with information. Throughout January and February I had several calls from students as mentioned above and a variety of questions from members including insurance, PRS, how to start a festival, BREXIT, Conference and sponsorship.  We...

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A round table discussion on Festivals in the 21st Century

A round table discussion on Festivals in the 21st Century

21st February 2019

Attended the Event Buyers Live (organised by Standout Magazine) where event organisers meet one-to-one with a variety of suppliers.  I ran a round table discussion on Festivals in the 21st Century....

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Students Open Day at Derby University

Students Open Day at Derby University

20th February 2019

Attended Derby University, Buxton Campus Students Open Day where I do a presentation about the AFO and how we link into the Management Courses there....

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Ron Rudd

Ron Rudd

18th February 2019

Attended Ron Rudd’s funeral.  Ron and his family have been stewarding at festivals throughout the UK for many years.  Sadly Ron has just died but leaves behind a tremendous legacy and a family who continue to volunteer at events....

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Conference potential venue visit

Conference potential venue visit

13th February 2019

Visited Walking Arts Centre in search of a new Conference venue.  Have also been in touch with several other arts centres after the idea came from Sarah Bird at Wild Rumpus. Venue yet to be settled but date of Conference to put in your diaries is 8, 9 and 10 November 2019....

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AFO A-Z presentation for second and third year students

AFO A-Z presentation for second and third year students

12th February 2019

Attended Oxford Brooke University to present an AFO A-Z for second and third year students on the Management Course....

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Beginners Guide A-Z of Festival Management for the Broads Management Trust

Beginners Guide A-Z of Festival Management for the Broads Management Trust

7th February 2019

Presented an AFO Beginners Guide A-Z of Festival Management for the Broads Management Trust in Norwich.  These people look after the Norfolk and Suffolk Broads and are planning on running events.  Some of the people attending had some small experiences, but I am reliably informed that the whole workshop was very useful....

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Interview with students for dissertations

Interview with students for dissertations

6th February 2019

Telephone interview with a student asking all the right questions in order to assist their dissertation.  This is something I do quite often and it is good to know that students can talk to us more senior festival organisers to improve their education....

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