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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 2021

General Secretary Writes - September 2021

10th September 2021

As I write the sun has come out again (perhaps to shine brightly on Bromyard).  Could be early signs of an Indian Summer or maybe just a warm spell to welcome the autumn.  Whatever, it is very welcome and for those late season festivals that are taking place over the next week to ten days, you could well be in for some gorgeous weather. With Towersey sadly having to be postponed and g...

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General Secretary Writes - August 2021 part 2

General Secretary Writes - August 2021 part 2

3rd September 2021

It’s the British thing to comment on the weather and I must say that I am a bit disappointed that our garden table has not been uncovered very often in the last few weeks.  I am looking forward to what my grandma used to call an Indian Summer and hoping we can have some warmer weather before autumn hits us for real.  For those of you running festivals, dealing with Covid issues ...

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General Secretary Writes - August 2021

General Secretary Writes - August 2021

16th August 2021

If I was to say it has been slightly quieter for a few days I hope I am not tempting fate. 29 July I visited the last day of As You Like It, a small boutique concert festival near Stratford upon Avon (sold out, very successful), and helped dismantle the event over the next day. 3 August Arts Council open zoom meeting reference long-term strategy.  I have written up some notes from the m...

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General Secretary Writes - 12 July onwards

General Secretary Writes - 12 July onwards

4th August 2021

Hello everyone I hope you have enjoyed the hot spell and if you were running an event during that you got lucky. As I write this the rain has returned, humidity is high but the prospects for the rest of the summer in terms of weather are reasonable.  There have of course been some heavy storms which have caused problems for festivals like Standon Calling, but in the main there have been...

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General Secretary Writes - 5 July onwards

General Secretary Writes - 5 July onwards

9th July 2021

Friends, This week I started by visiting Timber Festival in the National Forest, East Midlands. An absolutely unique event only reminiscent of the sadly lost Larmer Tree (where are they now ?). Well done Wild Rumpus (AFO members) on overcoming enormous hurdles to get the event on in a Covid safe way.  Test and trace were in place and as everyone approached wristband exchange you were...

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General Secretary Writes – 10 June onwards

General Secretary Writes – 10 June onwards

2nd July 2021

For those regular readers of GSW you might notice a slight change.  We are going to make these a weekly diary direct from me to you, so you are better informed as to what the AFO Office is doing on behalf of our industry.  If you need more detail of any of these points you will probably find it in AFO News on the website www.festivalorganisers.org/news and if it is not there then drop a ...

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General Secretary Writes - June 2021

General Secretary Writes - June 2021

10th June 2021

As always since I last wrote this blog there has been a lot of action; loads of meetings, discussions and even a few decisions. For a start here is a little bit of general news. General News Someone asked the other day why they had been sent a proforma invoice, so I dug out a bit of information as this is a common occurrence these days. What is a proforma invoice? It is a document that ...

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General Secretary Writes - May 2021

General Secretary Writes - May 2021

11th May 2021

WE HAVE BEEN IN THIS TUNNEL TOO LONG... Hello Members and Friends, I hope you are all safe and well and as my title this month suggests, it really is time we found a way out of this tunnel.  The light is definitely on, quite possibly getting brighter, and I can tell you that a lot of different organisations are working towards the same goal as us. DCMS Select Committee One of those ...

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General Secretary Writes - April 2021

General Secretary Writes - April 2021

8th April 2021

Hello members and friends.  I hope you are all safe and well. Since my last GSW toward the end of March there has, as always in this Covid world been a great deal of activity.  I’ll try to group things in some kind of order here and then towards the end, check my diary. First - Covid stuff This at the last DCMS/live festivals working group meeting this group of 37 delegates ...

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General Secretary Writes - March 2021 part 2

General Secretary Writes - March 2021 part 2

18th March 2021

Hello and I hope you are all safe and well and looking forward to whatever we can salvage out of the 2021 season.  I know that some have already cancelled, others have moved dates into the latter part of the season and for some ticket sales are very good.  There’s quite a variety out there.  I wish you all good luck in whichever you choose to do, and I will give you as much in...

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General Secretary Writes -  March 2021

General Secretary Writes - March 2021

2nd March 2021

Hello Members and Friends I hope you are all keeping safe and well and no doubt excited about the light at the end of the tunnel.  Just how bright is it shining at the moment (1 March) is debatable, but it is there, and I really don’t think it is going to go out.  There is a determination not only throughout the country but certainly in our industry to get moving again. We ma...

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General Secretary Writes -  28 January 2021

General Secretary Writes - 28 January 2021

28th January 2021

January 2021 part 2 In my last blog to AFO on 12 January I thought I would be leaving it about a month before writing again.  However, things are changing daily so I thought I would come to you a little early  With now only three weeks to go to AFO Conference Saturday 20 February 2021, I strongly recommend that you get onto the AFO website at festivalorganisers.org and book now....

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General Secretary Writes - 12 January 2021

General Secretary Writes - 12 January 2021

12th January 2021

12/1/21 (a palindromic day) Hello all and a very Happy New Year.  From here on we have just got to believe that things can get better (it couldn’t be much worse).  Although 2021 started with good news and bad news vis-à-vis Covid, vaccinations, sad loss of life etc. etc., we do have a chance that by the end of this year we could well be back to as near normal as reasonabl...

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General Secretary Writes - 15 December 2020

General Secretary Writes - 15 December 2020

15th December 2020

Every time I write a piece of news, have a phone conversation, or drop a couple of emails to bring people up to date in this Covid world we are now in, the news changes within just a few hours. This is true since I last wrote a General Secretary blog back in the middle of November. So much is happening so quickly that it is hard to keep up to date, but I will try. 16 November We held a Key Advi...

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General Secretary Writes - November 2020

General Secretary Writes - November 2020

13th November 2020

....and so the pandemic goes on! Who would have thought back in March that this beast would survive ‘til Christmas and beyond? Who would have though virtually the whole 2020 festival season would be postponed? Who would have thought our Festival industry would be so creative as to lead the way in getting festivals and events moving again? We are still amongst the few that have actuall...

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General Secretary Writes - October 2020

General Secretary Writes - October 2020

21st October 2020

Hello all. This one is a bit long so a coffee and a comfy chair may be needed. I thought it was time to pull together all the political and government departmental stuff that has been going on over the last few weeks.  The order may be a bit random but worth a read.  Here we go… Read the full blog here...

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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 l...

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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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