Media Release

02 OCTOBER 2019


Coffs Harbour has been selected as the host destination of the country’s first ‘Australian Festival Industry Conference’ (AFIC).

The event is the only one of its kind in the country and aims to discuss key national issues facing all types of festivals (incl. arts & culture, music, food & drink, ideas and sporting festivals).

This comes off the back of Friday’s announcement that Coffs Harbour has won the globally-acclaimed International Festivals and Events Association (IFEA) ‘World Festival and Event City Award’ for a fifth year in a row.

Conference founder and event director, Carlina Ericson, who is also a Coffs-born local, says “we could have chosen Byron Bay or Sydney to host the first event; however, Coffs Harbour was selected because of its clear track record of IFEA awards.

“We wanted the opportunity to act as a ‘destination showcase’ so that the Council, local festival organisers and the wider community could be proud of what they all deliver”, says Carlina.

“Last week’s award only reinforces Coffs Harbour’s international standing as a quality ‘event destination’ in the industry and I congratulate the Council on this achievement.

“Furthermore, being the host destination of Australia’s first ‘festival industry conference’ only cements this position even further.

AFIC was launched earlier this year and will be held later this month (24-25 October) at Opal Cove Resort, Coffs Harbour.

Festival organisers will be travelling across the country to hear from some of Australia’s leading festival management experts.

“We have people registered that are coming from as far as South Australia, Tasmania and Far North Queensland”, says Carlina.

Over two days, delegates will hear from some of Australia’s top festival management experts, participate in professional development and Government funding workshops.

Local talent, Dave Horsley (Screenwave Film Festival), Chris Spencer (Saltwater Freshwater Arts Alliance) and Dan Heather, Section Leader, Stadium and Major Events, Coffs Harbour City Council will all be appearing as presenters.

Coffs Harbour City Council will be giving delegates a tour of the recently upgraded C.ex Coffs International Stadium, followed by a site visit to Park Beach Reserve to witness Jimmy Barnes’ concert of ‘By the C’ being set up in action.

Dan Heather, Section Leader, Stadium and Major Events at Coffs Harbour City Council, says “the entire basis of the IFEA awards is that they are all about highlighting communities that work together to create successful festivals and events”.

“As a city we recognise the value major events and festivals bring to both our economy and community, and it’s fantastic to see a local organisation like AFIC launching an industry event on behalf of NSW and the nation”, says Dan.

Confirmed presenters include:

  • David Horsley (MC) – Co-Founder and Director of Screenwave International Film Festival
  • Dan Heather – Section Leader, Stadium and Major Events, Coffs Harbour City Council
  • Chris Spencer – Director of Saltwater Freshwater Alliance
  • Carol Hughes – Events Officer of Tamworth Shire Council (Tamworth Country Music Festival)
  • Phil Tripp, former Senior Business Development Manager – Australia, New Zealand & Hawaii – for SXSW (South by Southwest) Conference & Festivals (USA)
  • Heather Croall – Director and Chief Executive of Adelaide Fringe – the Southern hemisphere’s largest Fringe festival
  • Jon (J.C.) Corbishley FSIA – Director, The Safety Officer Pty Ltd
  • Mike Hammond – CEO & Director, EMS Event Medical
  • Elliot Williams – Clinical Lead, St Johns Ambulance
  • Daniel Madeddu – Director, Alcohol and Other Drugs, NSW Ministry of Health
  • Glenn Hardy – IER Pty Ltd
  • Alana Hay – Director, Milestone Creative
  • Leah Trafford – Australia Event Director, SailGP
  • Sam Wild – Create NSW
  • Dane Hunnerup – Australia Council for the Arts

“If there’s one takeaway message for festival organisers in the region, it’s that they need to be at AFIC if they’re going to stay up-to-date with the latest changes in the industry”, says Carlina.



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