Australian Festival Industry Conference celebrates record attendance

After initially launching in 2019 but experiencing three postponements due to the pandemic, the event finally went ahead, welcoming attendees from across Australia, New Zealand and Fiji.

More than 130 people travelled to the Gold Coast to attend the country’s second Australian Festival Industry Conference (AFIC), which took place 30 August – 1 September, setting a new record for the event.

The event attracted delegates from across Australia, New Zealand and Fiji. Delegates represented a range of private and not-for-profit festival organisers, all tiers of Government, consultancy service providers, educational institutions, operational suppliers, and more.

It’s the first time that AFIC has been held after initially launching in 2019 but experiencing three postponements due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Held over three days, AFIC 2022 included a number of presentations from nearly 20 industry-leading professionals, two panel discussions, two evening networking events, workshops, trade show, and a venue familiarisation tour of Home of the Arts (HOTA).

Conference founder and event director, Carlina Ericson, said that she couldn’t have asked for a better result.

“The feedback throughout the conference was overwhelmingly positive and I was inundated with people expressing what a wonderful event it was and how easy it was to network with colleagues,” Ericson said.

“A number of speakers, sponsors, exhibitors and delegates have all proactively contacted me to express their thanks and enthusiasm for another conference next year. It was wonderful to see everyone come together again after such a long period of time.”

AFIC’s program of speakers were some of the country’s top festival management personnel who discussed key national issues affecting a range of festivals such as risk management, creative programming, leadership management, accessibility and inclusion, and more.

This year’s keynote speakers were Thea Jeanes-Cochrane – co-founder, producer and creative director of Cochrane Entertainment. She outlined her vision for the events industry in a post-pandemic world and referred to her recent involvement with the launch of SXSW’s Australian event launch.

The second keynote was delivered by Ulrich Schrauth – founder and artistic director behind VRHAM! Festival: the world’s first virtual reality (VR) festival, held in Germany. He spoke on how his festival incorporates VR into their festival program and how he anticipates festivals may look to utilise VR going forward.

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