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General Secretary Writes - March 2023

Hello AFO Members and Colleagues 

Since my last General Secretary Writes back in January there has been quite a lot going on.  Most of which has been published in AFO News. 

For example, Craig Mathie’s new company, great news from the Big Burns Supper, Ecolibrium’s big moves for 2023 and the hot question around the office, insurance on industrial disputes that might overlap with your festival.

 We also talk about the Power of Events launch, Shrewsbury Festival’s launch and offer a few ideas on which cups to use.  I predicted the £200 adult weekend ticket and sure enough it came, not that I enjoyed its announcement. 

Folk by the Oak launched their 2023 edition and the other hot potato in the office is Martyn’s Law, previously known as Protect Duty.  See current AFO website for a great statement of clarity. 

We have engaged with Falmouth University, the Fair have launched a new website, and many of you contributed to the research into merchandise at your events. I am pleased to say that AFO festivals in the main see the artists as the ones who should benefit. 

The age-old problem of festivals equipment supply is still up there.  It is not going to be the cheapest of years, so budget and buy now. 

We were delighted to hear Lucy Powell, MP, Shadow Minister at DCMS has joined the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Events.  Music Venues Trust published their annual report and Towersey Festival won an award, as well as coming up with a new idea for equipment hire called Festivalise.

Our own Maddie Spear was nominated for a Technical Champion award and Costa Festivals launched a new event in Hampshire for winter 2023.  Springboard is yet another new festival and I enthused widely about the GEI Conference (Green Event Innovations). 

A recent news item was an introduction to Jo Blick who I think was one of the very first eco-warriors, and Chris Johnson launched the Green Events Code.  All of that since January.  Next time anyone picks up the phone and asks me what AFO might be doing for them, I might just point them to this Newsletter. 

Meanwhile, looking at my diary: 

17 January I attended the LIVE board meeting and the Power of Events meeting. 

18 January the LIVE full meeting. 

20 January some very brave colleagues who had taken on the job of rewriting the Medical Chapter of the Purple Guide were meeting to finalise details.  This will be published in the Purple Guide soon. 

24 January I met onscreen with Mark Davyd to discuss fundraising for buying your own venue.  See News items for detail. 

27 January I chaired an EIF board meeting online. 

30 January I met with Sally Smith who is working hard on Folkscape, again see details in the news columns.

31 January was LIVE Green and my granddaughter’s sixteenth birthday. 

6 February I represented AFO at Powerful Thinking meeting. 

9 February met with Rowan Cannon and colleagues from Wild Rumpus to discuss future AFO administration.  (And that was Maddie’s birthday as well). 

15 February saw a meeting with members of the team at NCASS to discuss our mutual support. 

16 February I was at the Power of Events launch in London, a brilliant presentation.  See Power of Events website for more. 

21 February I met with ich Mowatt from Sounding Post, Bob Rushton of Bob on Arts, and AFO Advisory Group to have a practice run ready for Conference. 

25 February many of us gathered for a virtual AFO Conference which went extremely well.  See website for availability of the Conference video. 

28 February GEI in London – Wow! Is the only word I can think of.  That was followed on -

1 March by the Event Production Show at London’s Excel.  Good to see so many new organisations with trade stands looking for work in the events industry. I also worked with a panel of EIF Board members and a representative of the Institute of Licensing to present the Purple Guide to a packed house.  I also met with Peter Bolton who was a Southern Arts colleague of mine many years ago and now runs Kent Music, look it up.

10 March had a meeting with Janet Bostock who is taking on the role of Membership Secretary for AFO. 

13 March I will be speaking with students at Derby University. 

15 March attending a vision 2025 Support Group meeting.

I expect the next few weeks to continue in this same style, so will report through News on AFO website and my next GSW column in April. 

Please use the AFO members logo wherever you can, it shows the world we are a united association in support of each other. 

If you had the snow like what we did in Derbyshire, I hope sledging was in your busy schedules. That is between planning your 2023 festivals, for which as always….GOOD LUCK. 

March 2023

Association of Festival Organisers (AFO): 14th Mar 2023 10:15:00

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