18 May 2021


The Australian Festival Industry Conference (AFIC) has unveiled its 2021 program.
The conference, which will run across 1 – 3 September 2021 at Sea World Resort, has expanded its program to 2.5 days (up from 1.5 in 2019) and includes:

• A number of keynote and informative presentations
• Two panel discussions covering the timely topics of ‘Covid-19 Site Planning & Safety’ and ‘The Future of Streaming, Content-on-demand & Broadcast’
• Two evening networking events
• Workshops
• Trade show
• Gold Coast familiarisation tour of local event venues

Thea Jeanes-Cochrane joins the line-up as AFIC’s second keynote speaker.

Thea Jeanes-Cochrane

Thea will deliver a presentation on the industry’s response to the pandemic and how covid-19 has permanently altered both the event organiser’s approach to producing festivals, and patrons’ expectations of the festival experience, from both an in-real-life and digital viewpoint.

As the Director of Cochrane Entertainment, Thea is a leading originator in entertainment projects and touring exhibitions for globally renowned clients. She has helped generate well in excess of $20 million in ticket revenues across her 20+ year career. Among her achievements has been producing the City of Gold Coast’s formal bid which secured the 2018 Commonwealth Games. She is currently a board member of the Gold Coast’s Home of the Arts precinct and MotorSport Australia.

“I’m delighted to be announced as a keynote speaker of the Australian Festival Industry Conference in 2021. 2020 was such a devastating, standstill year for our industry and the challenges of the ‘pandemic effect’ will continue into the immediate and foreseeable future. AFIC is a great forum to unite industry, a platform to deliver insights and learnings through shared conversation. I would encourage anyone from the industry to attend this year’s conference” said Mrs Jeanes-Cochrane.

Additional speakers to be added to the line-up include:

  • Stephen Galbraith, General Manager, Royal Queensland Show-Ekka & RNA Showgrounds
  • Rob Raulings, Director, Ferve Tickets
  • George Hedon, CEO and Founder, Pause Fest
  • Jeremy Fleming, Managing Director and Co-Founder, Stagekings & IsoKing
  • Linda Tillman, Managing Director, Tilma Group & rEvents Academy
  • Morwenna Collett, Senior Arts Consultant (specialising in diversity, access and inclusion)

    They join the existing line-up, comprising of:
  • Ulrich Schrauth, Founder and Artistic Director, VRHAM! Festival (the world’s first virtual reality festival, held in Germany)
  • Jan McCormick, CEO, Major Events Gold Coast
  • Dr Jamie Ranse, Founder, Mass Gatherings Collaboration, Griffith University
  • Cameron Little, Vice President, Sustainable Event Alliance
  • Gill Minervini, Festival Director of Vivid Sydney and Director of Gill Minervini Creative
  • Jon Corbishley (JC), President of the Event Safety Alliance (AU Chapter) and Director of The Safety Officer Pty Ltd
  • Garry O’Dell, PhD Researcher, The University of Newcastle
  • Dylan Lewis, Double J (AFIC’s Master of Ceremonies)

Founder and event director of AFIC, Carlina Ericson, says she is delighted to be releasing AFIC’s full program.
“I’m so excited to see the return of AFIC in 2021! Since the event was cancelled in 2020 due to the pandemic, it’s vital that this year happens” says Ms Ericson.

AFIC’s 2021 program will cover the following topics:
• (Keynote) How the Pandemic has Changed Us
• (Keynote) Future Opportunities for Virtual Reality Use
• (Panel Discussion) Covid-19 Site Planning & Safety for Festivals
• (Panel Discussion) The Future of Streaming, Content-on-demand & Broadcast
• Approaches to Festival Regulation in NSW – a PhD Study
• The Future of Festivals is Inclusive
o Follow up workshop: Building an Accessibility Plan
• The Future of Sustainable Best-Practice in Festivals & Major Events
• Igniting Your Festival’s Creative Program
• Leadership in a Crisis
• Major Events Gold Coast: Launching a Major Event Organisation during Covid-19
• Managing Your Festival’s Revenue Streams
o Follow up workshop: Grant Writing 101

“After such a devastating year in 2020, I want to see the industry recover and grow!” says Ms Ericson.
“AFIC is critical to this happening and it presents each of us with an array of educational, economic, social, and even psychological benefits. In reality, AFIC’s positive impacts are bigger than each of us put together.
“When I visited the Gold Coast last week for our first regional networking event, I met a range of people from all corners of the industry. By the end of the evening, people walked away feeling informed about this year’s conference, but even better than that, they were excited for it! They were excited about the idea of learning and having the chance to connect with other like-minded people in the industry from all across the country. A chance to converse and share stories about how devastating 2020 was. People need this, and they want it too!” says Ms Ericson.

The conference is also a unique opportunity for suppliers from all across the country to get in front of some of the country’s top festival decision-makers. AFIC is approved under Austrade’s ‘Business Events Grant Program’ which allows potential sponsors or exhibitors to apply for a 50% reimbursement of their associated costs through the Federal Government. The deadline for applications has been extended to 30 June 2021.

A further cost saving for delegates is the Federal Government’s half-price airline ticket program which will run until 30 September 2021. Those who are intending to fly from most major capital cities to the Gold Coast can access the discount. AFIC recommends contacting its dedicated travel agent (details can be found on the website). The discount acts a prime incentive for delegates to extend their stay and explore the destination’s many attractions; from pristine beaches, to quality restaurants, to its various theme parks, and of course, its many spectacular major events and festivals!

Sea World Resort

“I would encourage everyone to take advantage of these limited time Government incentives that are designed to kick-start the national economy” says Ms Ericson.
This year’s event will be crucial to the industry’s post-covid-19 economic recovery and I look forward to welcoming everyone back once again!”
The final round of early bird tickets closes at 5:00pm (AEST), 31 May 2021.
To view the full program and for more information on the event, visit:


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