Australian Festival Industry Conference releases full program

Thea Jeanes-Cochrane joins the line-up of keynote speakers at AFIC 2021.

The Australian Festival Industry Conference (AFIC) has unveiled its full 2021 program with Thea Jeanes-Cochrane, director of Cochrane Entertainment, joining the line-up as AFIC’s second keynote speaker.

Among Thea’s 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.

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.

“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,” she said.

“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.”

Thea joins Ulrich Schrauth, founder and artistic director of VRHAM!, in the keynote speaker line-up.

Additional speakers to be added to the line-up also include Stephen Galbraith (Royal Queensland Show-Ekka & RNA Showgrounds); Rob Raulings (Ferve Tickets); George Hedon (Pause Fest); Jeremy Fleming (Stagekings & IsoKing); Linda Tillman (Tilma Group & rEvents Academy); and Morwenna Collet (Senior Arts Consultant).

“After such a devastating year in 2020, I want to see the industry recover and grow,” said Carlina Ericson, founder and event director of AFIC.

“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.”

The conference will run on September 1-3 at Sea World Resort. View the full program at