Media Release

Friday 16 June 2023


The Australian Festival Industry Conference (AFIC) has today unveiled its full program for its third annual event to be held across Wednesday 30 – Thursday 31 August at Luna Park Sydney.

AFIC is being delivered in partnership with H2 Insurance Solutions and is now the Asia Pacific’s leading industry meeting place for festival management personnel, encompassing music, arts and culture, food and drink, sporting and ‘ideas’ festivals.

Spanning two days, the conference features:

  • Two keynote presentations by Rhoda Roberts AO and Anthony Bastic AM
  • Updates from the NSW Government and Austrade;
  • Presentations from 20+ industry-leading professionals;
  • Three panel discussions;
  • Two evening networking events; and,
  • Trade exhibition

AFIC founder and Event Director, Carlina Ericson, says she is thrilled to present a conference program that will deliver invaluable learning and networking opportunities for the industry.

“This year’s program offers learnings like never before; across a range of hot topics such as accessibility, sustainability and crowd science. Delegates will hear the latest research on audience purchasing behaviour. They’ll also walk away with insights into how to maximise marketing effectiveness, and how best to prepare for crises through careful communications planning. This year is certainly not one to miss!”, she added.

AFIC’s keynote presenters are two of the industry’s visionaries and creatives, Rhoda Roberts AO and Anthony Bastic AM.

Rhoda’s keynote will cover how festival directors can co-design their festival programs with First Nations peoples, and says attending the Australian Festival Industry Conference offers a remarkable opportunity to gain insights from Indigenous and industry leaders, participate in crucial conversations, and collectively work towards creating festivals that are culturally sensitive, inclusive and authentic.

“Together, we can build a festival landscape that embraces diversity, fosters mutual understanding, and celebrates the rich cultural tapestry of our nation”, said Rhoda.

Anthony’s presentation will explore how organisers can activate non-traditional public spaces and take an inclusive approach to program content development – especially relevant for local and state government producers.

“By appealing to diverse audiences, we are fostering a sense of belonging, amplifying community engagement and embracing our shared cultural heritage. The spaces become dynamic platforms for creativity, innovation and collaboration”, said Anthony.

Delegates will receive timely updates from two government personnel:

  • Samantha Palmer – General Manager Visitor Economy and Client Programs, Austrade – will cover what the recently reimaged Thrive 2023 visitor economy strategy means for the festival industry, along with education and funding opportunities; and,
  • The Hon. John Graham, MLC – NSW Minister for the Arts; Minister for Music and the Night-time Economy; Minister for Jobs and Tourism – will provide an update on the government’s priorities moving forward.

A key theme being explored this year is ‘sustainability’. AFIC will feature an Australian-first presentation by Justyna Jochym, CEO of Festival City Adelaide. Justyna will be unveiling Adelaide’s first ever city-wide event sustainability strategy. She’ll outline on how Adelaide’s major festivals have been collectively working together in partnership with Green Industries SA and Green Music Australia on the strategy – the first of its kind in Australia!

Greg Donovan, Managing Director of Big Red Bash, will discuss how he manages waste at the world’s most remote music festival. He also joins a dedicated panel of experts covering sustainability.

Best practice standards and methods for accessibility will be covered via a panel discussion, featuring Liz Martin, CEO of Accessible Arts, and Ashleigh O’Gara, Event Manager of Ability Fest (The Untitled Group).

A third panel has been added this year, entitled ‘ask the experts’: a new Q&A style opportunity for AFIC delegates to ask a panel of experienced industry experts almost anything! Panellists include Lisa Dowsett, Head of Events & Partnerships at Northern Beaches Council; Shannon Green, Senior Manager of Business Development at Sydney Showground; and Rhoda Roberts AO.

Between them, they’ve managed almost every type of festival or major event imaginable, from curating nationally significant Indigenous events such as Parrtjima Festival, to producing food and sporting festivals such as Good Food Month and the Australian Running Festival, to event crowd control and safety to music festivals such as Glastonbury.

AFIC’s full list of 2023 speakers includes:

  1. Rhoda Roberts AO – Creative Director, Parrtjima Festival and First Nations Advisor, AGB Events
  2. Anthony Bastic AM – CEO & Creative Director, AGB Events
  3. Samantha Palmer – General Manager Visitor Economy and Client Programs, AUSTRADE
  4. The Hon. John Graham, MLC – NSW Minister for the Arts; Minister for Music and the Night-time Economy; Minister for Jobs and Tourism
  5. Justyna Jochym – CEO, Festival City Adelaide
  6. Greg Donavan – Managing Director, Outback Music Festival Group
  7. Ashleigh O’Gara – Event Manager, Ability Fest (Untitled Group)
  8. Caitlin McNaughton – Manager, Research and Insights, Patternmakers
  9. Andrew Macarthur – Managing Director, Clean Vibes and City Return and Earn
  10. Shannon Green – Senior Manager, Business Development, Sydney Showground (Royal Agricultural Society of NSW)
  11. Liz Martin – CEO, Accessible Arts
  12. Sally Porteous – Managing Director, Red Lanyard & The Event Planners Workshop; Founder, Event Managers Network
  13. Lisa Dowsett – Head of Events & Partnerships, Northern Beaches Council
  14. Jake Challenor – CEO & Co-Founder, Sound Story
  15. Alana Hay – Founder and Managing Director, Milestone Creative
  16. Roderick van Gelder – Crowd Safety Consultant, Event Safety Institute Australia
  17. Jason Holmes – Managing Director, H2 Insurance Solutions
  18. Jessica Wundke – Manager of Policy Reform, Green Industries SA
  19. Badi Mahabat – Principle Partner, Bold Futures
  20. Dr Abbas Elmualim – Partner, Bold Futures

“We’re also excited to be bringing AFIC to Sydney for the very first time”, says Carlina.

“Luna Park Sydney is one of Sydney’s leading entertainment venues and its spectacular views overlooking the harbour provides the perfect setting for our delegates to network at both our evening events. A welcome function will be held on-site on Wednesday 30 August, sponsored by Ferve Tickets. We’ll then finish off the conference with a three-hour harbour cruise, thanks to our friends at Aggreko.

Tickets are on sale now until 22 August 2023.

To view the full program and to purchase tickets, visit


Hashtags: #afic2023 #austfestconference

Further media enquiries:
Carlina Ericson
Founder & event director
Mobile: 0431 523 970
Email: [email protected]