19 Mar 2021


A year after the Federal Government’s ban on “non-essential mass gatherings of 500+ people” came into effect and the Gold Coast is already spearheading the economic recovery of Australia’s festival industry, according to founder and event director of Australian Festival Industry Conference (AFIC), Carlina Ericson.

Over 20 festivals have been confirmed to take place in 2021, which, according to the region’s peak major events organisation, Major Events Gold Coast (MEGC), will help to generate approximately $200M for the Gold Coast economy.

MEGC is charged with the responsibility of igniting the city with a vibrant array of festivals, sporting and cultural events that showcase the Gold Coast as a world-class, global events destination.

MEGC’s CEO, Jan McCormick, who will be presenting at AFIC, says the organisation “is committed to showcasing Australia’s Gold Coast as one of the most sought-after destinations to present, attend or participate in an event”.

Jan McCormick

Founder and event director of AFIC, Carlina Ericson, says that she applauds the efforts of both MEGC and Destination Gold Coast in bringing festivals back online and drawing tourists back to the region.
“When you look at the amount of announcements that have been made this year alone relating to the return of festivals in 2021, it’s really quite impressive!” says Ms Ericson.

Carlina Ericson

The following Gold Coast-based festivals will proceed in 2021:

  • Beyond the Sands Art Festival
  • Gondwana Festival
  • Storyfest Writers Festival
  • Gold Coast Film Festival
  • Gold Coast Running Festival
  • Rosé Coast Gold Coast
  • Inverted Festival
  • Under the Southern Stars
  • Blues on Broadbeach
  • Cooly Rocks On
  • Village Roadshow Theme Parks Marathon
  • Pan Pacific Masters Games
  • Gold Coast Cheese, Chilli & Chocolate Festival
  • Beach Rugby Australia Festival
  • SWELL Sculpture Festival
  • Crafted Beer & Cider Festival
  • Gold Coast Multicultural Festival
  • Groundwater Country Music Festival
  • Festival of Touch
  • FISIOCREM GC50 Run Festival
  • Gold Coast 600 & Boost Mobile Gold Coast 500

Ms McCormick says “we are absolutely thrilled that the Gold Coast has been successful in securing the 2021 Australian Festival Industry Conference. It is a wonderful opportunity to boost our city’s economy and showcase all that the city has to offer”.

Over 150 delegates are expected to travel to the Gold Coast for the conference which will take place across 1 to 3 September 2021 at Sea World Resort.

Federal Government Tourism Initiatives for the Gold Coast
Last week’s $1.2b tourism package announcement by the Federal Government provides the Gold Coast and Australia’s festival industry with even more opportunities to recover as it navigates its way through a post-covid-19 world.

Austrade’s ‘Business Events Grant Program’ encourages potential sponsors or exhibitors to apply for a 50% reimbursement of their associated costs through the Federal Government. The minimum spend has been reduced to $10,000 (originally $20,000), meaning that anyone who is interested in partnering or exhibiting at any business event listed on the Program’s ‘Schedule of Approved Business Events’, can apply to claim $5,000 back from Austrade. Additionally, the deadline for applications has been extended to 30 June 2021.

“I have been actively lobbying the Tourism Minister for some time now on changes to Austrade’s Program, explaining that due to the severe economic impact that covid-19 has had upon Australia’s festival industry, the Program’s conditions currently act as a barrier to participation, and therefore, has a direct flow on effect to the industry’s overall recovery rate.
“AFIC enables suppliers from the Gold Coast, and indeed across the country, to get in front of some of the country’s top festival decision makers and this Program will be crucial to their post-covid-19 economic recovery”, says Ms Ericson.

The Gold Coast is also included in the half-price airline ticket program which will run from 1 April to 30 September 2021. This means that festival professionals from across the country will have access to discounted travel to attend AFIC. It acts a prime incentive for them 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!

“I’m really excited about what the recent announcements mean for the recovery of the Australian festival industry and the Gold Coast’s tourism economy. I would encourage everyone to take advantage of these limited time Government incentives that are designed to kick-start the national economy so that we can all get back to work!” says Ms Ericson.
AFIC’s first round of speakers for 2021 include:

  1. Ulrich Schrauth – the founder and artistic director behind VRHAM! Festival: the world’s first virtual reality festival, held in Germany
  2. Jan McCormick, CEO of Major Events Gold Coast
  3. Dr Jamie Ranse, Founder of the Mass Gatherings Collaboration, Griffith University (Gold Coast)
  4. Cameron Little, Vice President of Sustainable Event Alliance
  5. Gill Minervini, Festival Director of Vivid Sydney and Director of Gill Minervini Creative
  6. Jon Corbishley (JC), President of the Event Safety Alliance (AU) and Director of The Safety Officer Pty Ltd
  7. Garry O’Dell, PhD Researcher, The University of Newcastle
  8. Dylan Lewis, Double J (AFIC’s Master of Ceremonies)

Many more speakers are yet to be revealed, with the final program being made available in the coming weeks. Early bird tickets are now on sale. For more information, visit:


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