Why Australian festivals need an industry conference of their own
The Australian Festival Industry Conference (AFIC), the first local conference dedicated to that sector will be held on October 24 in Coffs Harbour, NSW – and the timing couldn’t be more right.
The NSW music festival crisis might have been of the State Government’s doing, but it ignited a lot of national discussion, not only from the across-the-board festival sector but the entire spectrum of the music industry.
“There’s an enormous amount of change and conversations being had across the country among the festival community, particularly in NSW,” agrees conference founder Carlina Ericson.
“The festival industry, particularly in NSW, is undergoing a massive amount of change at the moment. Organisers are facing a number of major challenges to ensure their survival.
“AFIC is really needed so that all Australian festival industry stakeholders have an opportunity to have a sensible, face-to-face, open and collaborative discussion on the key issues facing the industry.
“Because it also appeals to suppliers to the industry (i.e. waste management companies), it also gives organisers the change to learn about the latest practical infrastructure solutions that can help them better run their events.”
The conference covers not just music events but festivals covering arts & cultural, food & drinks, sustainability, sports and intellectual & ideas festivals as TEDex and All About Women.
The program is still being worked out, but Ericson says it will cover legislative changes, technology advancements, operational developments (such as waste management practices), marketing, event management technology advances, volunteer management and destination management strategies.
Ericson adds, “Health and safety is certainly a prominent theme at the moment throughout the festival community, attracting widespread discussion from across the country.
“Sustainability and looking at how festivals can reduce their environmental footprint also appears to be a hot topic – look at what work Green Music Australia is doing with Bluesfest, for example.”
The list of speakers is unveiled on Wednesday, May 8.
But already announced as keynote speaker is provocative industry identity of 50 years, Phil Tripp.
Currently South By Southwest’s senior business development manager for Australia, New Zealand & Hawaii, Tripp was involved in US festivals as Newport in New York, New Orleans Jazz and Heritage, Kool Pacific Jazz, Houston Jazz, Atlanta Jazz and the Memphis Music.
After moving to Sydney, his AustralAsian Music Business Conference over 19 years shaped the debate for the local industry as it moved to the new digital model in all aspects.
AFIC is held at Opal Cove Resort, and Ericson explains why Coffs Harbour was chosen.
It’s a growing event and tourism region, with food and wine festivals showcasing local produce, to international sporting competitions which take place along the stunning coastline, to events which celebrate distinctive art, culture and home-grown talent.
It also has been awarded the International Festival and Event Association’s ‘World Festival and Event City award from 2015-2018.
The award recognises the best in community leadership and festival and event partnerships around the world!
Coffs Harbour City Council is actively supporting the event.
Says its section leader for stadium and major events, Daniel Heather, “As a city we recognise the value major events and festivals bring to both our economy and community, and it’s fantastic to see a local organisation launching an industry event on behalf of NSW and the nation.”
Full details here.