5 Mar 2021


The Australian Festival Industry Conference (AFIC) – Australia’s only conference for festival management personnel – is set to return once again across Wednesday 1 – Friday 3 September at Sea World Resort on the Gold Coast.

The first round of speakers have been announced and discounted early bird tickets are now on sale.

This year’s keynote speaker is virtual reality specialist Ulrich Schrauth (pictured above) – the founder and artistic director behind VRHAM! Festival: the world’s first virtual reality festival, held in Hamburg. Ulrich’s experience in immersive art spans across many international festivals, including for SXSW Festivals (USA), the Cannes Film Festival (France), Sydney Festival (Australia) and the European Jazz Conference (Italy), just to name a few. Ulrich will deliver a keynote presentation via video-link, direct from Germany.


AFIC’s Master of Ceremonies is Australian music broadcasting legend, Dylan Lewis, who has worked as a television-host/presenter/writer for the past 25 years and is fondly remembered for his original hosting of ABC’s ‘Recovery’ in the late 90’s.

Dylan Lewis

Additional 2021 speakers include:

  1. Jan McCormick, CEO of Major Events Gold Coast
  2. Cameron Little, Vice President of Sustainable Event Alliance
  3. Dr Jamie Ranse, Mass Gatherings Collaboration, Griffith University
  4. Gill Minervini, Director at Gill Minervini Creative
  5. Jon Corbishley (JC), President of the Event Safety Alliance (AU) and Director of The Safety Officer Pty Ltd
  6. Garry O’Dell, PhD Researcher, The University of Newcastle

Many more speakers are yet to be announced and the final program will be released in the coming weeks.

“I’m thrilled to be announcing the return of AFIC in September!”, says AFIC founder and event director, Carlina Ericson.


“We have an all-star presenter cast this year, who combined hold well over 200 years of industry- specific experience.

“They will be integral to conference attendees being able to partake in robust discussions covering a variety of timely topics concerning the future of their industry, such as utilising virtual reality, COVID-19 planning, improving Government approval processes relating to the holding of public events, environmental sustainability, and more”, says Ms Ericson.

What’s New in 2021?

  • New destination and venue: thanks to Destination Gold Coast, we’re able to deliver AFIC in a brand new location and venue that’s easily accessible from a variety of our locations across Australia.
  • Expanded conference program: AFIC 2021 will run over 2.5 days (up from the original 1.5 days in 2019). The program will feature a number of presentations, panel discussions and workshops.
  • Content-on-demand option: delegates can access all of the conference’s recordings and stream each session as often as they like for up to three months after AFIC’s conclusion. Delegates can purchase this either as a stand-alone or part of a bundle ticket.
  • Additional networking events: there will be a welcome function and a gala dinner function, giving delegates two formal evening networking opportunities.
  • Event attendee app: all registered delegates, speakers, partners and exhibitors will be able to see in advance who else is attending.
  • New ticket types, discounts & payment plans: in recognition of the severe economic impact of covid-19 upon our industry, we have introduced a variety of ticket types to suit all budgets. We’ve also introduced group discounts, student discounts and payment plans.

Plus, returning once again will be a targeted trade show element that will run along-side the conference’s presenter sessions.

Key Opportunities:

  • Speaker EOIs are now open and close on Friday 19 March 2021. Anyone is welcome to submit an application.
  • Partner and exhibitor EOIs: AFIC is keen to partner with a variety of relevant industry organisations to produce mutually beneficial outcomes. The conference is also approved under Austrade’s ‘Business Event Grant Program’, meaning that organisations can claim 50% of their partnership or exhibition costs! Applications close 30 March 2021.

To find out more, please visit our website:

“With the 2019/20 bush fire season and COVID-19 near decimating our industry, the feedback I’ve received is that the industry is eager to physically reconnect. People have already begun buying tickets and we have only been live for three days!”

Carlina Ericson, Founder & Event Director

“It’s clear that people hungry to learn, share, and discuss common key issues as a means of accelerating the industry’s recovery. To make up for the past 18 months of hardship, our industry needs to work especially hard and we can only do this by working together! We will be playing ‘catch up’ and will need to produce seismic growth over the next few years if we’re to survive. Having everyone come together as one will be integral.

“I look forward to welcoming everyone back to the conference later this year!” says Ms Ericson.

Early bird tickets are on sale now until 5:00pm, Friday 12 March 2021 (AEST). Payment plans, group and student discounts are available.


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