News November 9, 2020

Australian Festival Association brings firepower on board as $2.7b sector eyes recovery

Australian Festival Association brings firepower on board as $2.7b sector eyes recovery
Pictured: Jessica Ducrou from Secret Sounds remains on the AFA's board.

Three of Australia’s biggest festival heavyweights are re-elected to the new board of the Australian Festival Association (AFA).

They are Adelle Robinson (MD of Fuzzy Operations), Danny Rogers (director, Laneway Festival) and Jessica Ducrou (co-CEO, Secret Sounds).

All three were founding members of the association and will help provide the firepower needed as the $2.7 billion festival sector goes into recovery move from a triple hit of COVID-19, the 2019 bushfires and ongoing regulatory disruptions.

According to the AFA, the impact of the virus has seen an 86% decline in output and leaving the majority of the 10,000 full-time workers without income.

The board represents members in each state and territory across promoters, venues, suppliers and sole traders, with a 60% non-male identifying committee.

AFA’s GM, Julia Robinson, points out that the new board reflects two predominant creeds – “a commitment to the future of festivals, as well as embracing the idea of ‘restarting right’.

“That begins with; always considering our role in acknowledging First Nations people, ensuring equity for minority groups and ensuring a sustainable future of the industry – both environmentally and for the longevity of the industry.

“We are confident in delivering COVID-safe festivals that meet these objectives, while helping local tourism and wider economy recover. I am excited to work with such an amazing board.”

Robinson said of her reappointment: “I am very excited to be serving another term on the newly formed and expanded AFA committee.

“Never has there been a time so precarious for our industry but I am hopeful that the team promoters and industry players on the new committee will help lead festivals out of the COVID pause and into a safer, more vibrant and diverse playing field.”

Others on the new board are Christopher Reid (partner, Ernst & Young), Denis Sheahan (director, DESM), Diane Sneddon (Port Phillip Council), Jacqui Elmas (in-house counsel, Chugg Entertainment), Kat Dopper (director, Heaps Gay), Kathryn Holloway (general manager, Cattleyard) and Zack Alcott (director, Get Skilled Access).

Dopper sees a definite positive in the AFA’s front-view plans: “From my experience working on grass-roots events with diverse communities, I’ve seen first-hand the power of great festivals and events to create positive change.

“Collectively, we can steer the direction of an industry that may be more important than ever before for unifying people, bringing communities together, and celebrating the diversity that makes us exceptional.”

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