Media Release



A record 130+ people travelled to the Gold Coast during 30 August – 1 September to attend the country’s second Australian Festival Industry Conference (AFIC), thanks to the support of Destination Gold Coast and H2 Insurance Solutions.

The event pulled 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 and experiencing three postponements thereafter due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Held over three days, AFIC 2022 included:

  • A number of presentations from almost 20 industry-leading professionals
  • Two panel discussions
  • Two evening networking events
  • Workshops
  • Trade show
  • Gold Coast event venue familiarisation tour of HOTA (Home of the Arts)

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.

“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”, says Carlina.

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.

Two panel discussions were held covering the topics of ‘COVID-19 planning and safety’ and ‘workforce skills and labour shortages’: both stimulated robust discussions among attendees.

Three workshops were delivered, giving delegates a practical opportunity to learn and apply knowledge and skills in the areas of natural disaster and risk management, grant writing and accessibility and inclusion.

A selection of AFIC delegates were also treated to a site tour of renowned event venue, HOTA (Home of the Arts), having only last year completed the construction of their $60m gallery.

So, will there be another event?

“The industry has spoken loud and clear”, says Carlina.

“They want an opportunity to connect, learn, share, discuss key issues and network with fellow colleagues. If there’s one takeaway message for festival organisers across the country, it’s that they need to be in the room next time in order to stay up-to-date with the latest changes in their industry and continue building industry connections”, says Carlina.

AFIC’s 2022 speaker line-up included the following industry heavy-weights:

Keynote speakers

  1. Thea Jeanes-Cochrane – co-founder, producer and creative director of Cochrane Entertainment
  2. Ulrich Schrauth – founder and artistic director behind VRHAM! Festival: the world’s first virtual reality festival, held in Germany

Additional speakers:

  1. Gill Minervini, festival director of Vivid Sydney and Director of Gill Minervini Creative
  2. Luke Pearl, general manager – operations, Rna (Brisbane Ekka and Brisbane Showgrounds)
  3. Jan McCormick, CEO of Major Events Gold Coast
  4. Dr Jamie Ranse, associate professor and founder of the Mass Gatherings Collaboration, Griffith University
  5. Jason Holmes, managing director, H2 Insurance Solutions
  6. Garry O’Dell, senior researcher, Hunter Research Foundation Centre, The University of Newcastle
  7. Rob Raulings, director, Ferve Tickets
  8. Jeremy Fleming, managing director, Stagekings & IsoKing
  9. Morwenna Collett, disability access and inclusion expert
  10. Linda Tillman, director, The Tilma Group and rEVENTS Academy
  11. Dr Andrew Mathieson, senior lecturer, Australian National University
  12. Graham Gordon, CEO, Gardian Technologies
  13. Matt Kreis, head of sales and partnerships, Gardian Technologies
  14. Badi Mahabat, general manager, Casual Hands
  15. Jo Gaddes, lead vocational teacher (events), TAFE Queensland (Gold Coast)
  16. Gayle O’Brien, general manager (tourism policy, partnerships and events), Department of Tourism, Innovation & Sport (Queensland)
  17. Jane Gazzo, broadcaster and AFIC Master of Ceremonies

An announcement regarding the next event is imminent. To be kept informed of future event updates, visit


Hashtags: #afic2022 #austfestconference #playGoldCoast
Further media enquiries: please contact Carlina Ericson, founder & event director on 0431 523 970 or [email protected]