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2023 Australian Festival Industry Conference hailed as another success

2023 Australian Festival Industry Conference hailed as another success
September 4, 2023

A record attendance of more than 150 people engaged with the annual Australian Festival Industry Conference (AFIC) at Luna Park Sydney on 30th and 31st August.

The third edition of the only conference in Australia dedicated exclusively to servicing the thousands of festival industry professionals that produce quality music, arts and culture, food and drink, and sporting festivals, the event drew delegates from across Australia, Singapore and the United Kingdom.

Delegates represented a range of private and not-for-profit festival organisers, as well as all tiers of Government, consultancy service providers, educational institutions and operational suppliers.

Over two full days, AFIC included:

  • A number of presentations from industry-leading professionals
  • Three panel discussions
  • Presentations by four new cutting-edge products and services to hit the Australian market
  • Two evening networking events, including a sunset cruise on Sydney harbour
  • Workshop
  • Exhibition

Advising that she couldn’t have asked for a better result, founder and Event Director, Carlina Ericson stated “the feedback throughout the conference was overwhelmingly positive and I was inundated with people expressing what a wonderful event it was and the abundance of networking opportunities AFIC provided.”

AFIC’s program of speakers were some of the country’s top festival management personnel who discussed timely topics such as sustainability, accessibility, advances in crowd science and much more.

This year’s keynote speakers were Rhoda Roberts AO, Creative Director, Parrtjima Festival and First Nations Advisor at AGB Events who drew on her 25 year career in indigenous festival production, providing expert guidance on how delegates can go about co-designing their festivals with first nations peoples.

A second keynote was delivered by AGB Events, Chief Executive and Creative Director, Anthony Bastic AM, who explained his experience of co-founding VIVID Sydney and Parrtjima Festival to discuss how festivals can take a fresh look at their open spaces and design their festival sites and content to maximise inclusivity.

Delegates were also treated to a special update by NSW Minister for the Arts, Minister for Music and the Night-time Economy and Minister for Jobs and Tourism, John Graham who talked about the recent challenges the festival and live entertainment industry has faced, particularly since the introduction of the 2019 Music Festival Act, and what the NSW Government’s plans are moving forward to help the industry continue to recover, post-pandemic.

Panel discussions covered the topics of ‘sustainability’, ‘accessibility’ and a general Q&A with three long-time industry experts: Roberts; Shannon Green, Senior Business Development Manager of Sydney Showground and Lisa Dowsett, Head of Events & Partnerships for Northern Beaches Council.

Other AFIC 2023 speakers included:

  • Samantha Palmer - General Manager Visitor Economy and Client Programs, AUSTRADE
  • Berish Bilander - Chief Executive, Green Music Australia
  • Greg Donavan - Managing Director, Outback Music Festival Group
  • Ashleigh O’Gara - Event Manager, Ability Fest (Untitled Group)
  • Caitlin McNaughton - Manager, Research and Insights, Patternmakers
  • Andrew Macarthur - Managing Director, Clean Vibes and City Return and Earn
  • Liz Martin - Chief Executive, Accessible Arts
  • Sally Porteous - Managing Director, Red Lanyard & The Event Planners Workshop; Founder, Event Managers Network
  • Jake Challenor - Chief Executive & Co-Founder, Sound Story
  • Alana Hay - Founder and Managing Director, Milestone Creative
  • Roderick van Gelder - Crowd Safety Consultant, Event Safety Institute Australia
  • Jason Holmes - Managing Director, H2 Insurance Solutions
  • Jessica Wundke - Manager of Policy Reform, Green Industries SA
  • Jeremy Fleming - Founder and Chief Executive, Stagekings (New Product Showcase presenter)
  • Luke Trickett - Founder and Managing Director, Backpocket (New Product Showcase presenter)
  • Andew Stone - General Manager, Meshh Australia (New Product Showcase presenter)
  • Robert Slikker, Group General Manager, Olinga Group / Bold Futures (New Product Showcase presenter)
  • Dr Abbas Elmualim - Partner, Bold Futures (New Product Showcase presenter)
  • Sean Murphy - AFIC Master of Ceremonies

To be kept informed of future event updates, visit

Images: The sustainability panel at AFIC (top), Rhoda Roberts addresses AFIC (middle) and Greg Donovan speaks at Luna Park Sydney (below).

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