Conference for Festivals 2022

17 November 2022

The British Arts Festivals Association (BAFA) organised its 2022 Conference for Festivals: The Place to Connect on 22 and 23 November.

BAFA members, festivals, industry speakers and guests were invited to Gloucester’s newly refurbished Guildhall.

EFA's team member Gert Naessens, Business Development Director, attended the conference and took part in the panel Fast forward: future festivals on 23 November from 3.45pm till 4.45pm presenting the new developments in the sector.


Tuesday 22 November

1pm: Welcome

1.15pm – 2.30pm: This is the Place
Nick Green from Arts Council England, Ali Mawle from Cheltenham Festivals, Philip Walker from Gloucester City Council, Nick Morgan from We are the Fair and Jack Whitewood, Ventnor Fringe will discuss the impact of the priority places and levelling up agendas, and how festivals contribute to place-making, chaired by Erica Smith, PortsFest

2.30pm – 3pm: Break

3pm – 3.15pm: Provocation: How do you move away from Artistic Director led programming if you're an Artistic Director? Emma-Jane Benning, Co Artistic Director & Halima Malek, Community Producer Strike A Light

3.15pm – 4.15pm: How was it for you? What 2022 tells us about the future
We’ll be talking about the key themes and trends from this year, how festivals are adapting to meet
these and what they tell us for the future, with speakers including James McVeigh from Festivals
Edinburgh and David Brownlee from Data Culture Change, chaired by Alison Giles, Presteigne

4.15pm - 6pm: Venue tour and wine reception: Jolt/The Music Works

Wednesday 23 November

9am: Registration and tea/coffee

9.30am: Welcome followed by creative provocation by Marc Yeats: Drawing Music
Start your day as a composer with this open, creative, expressive and surprising six-minute guided experience that unleashes your ability to instantly transform listening into a graphic score.

9.40am – 10.40am: We need to talk: making the case for festivals
As BAFA launches its four year PhD on arts festivals at a time of crisis, our panel looks at the value of research and explores how festivals can use data to help festival recovery and development. Speakers include Naomi Taylor, BCU/Chiltern Arts, Jonathan Todd of BOP Consulting and chair Professor Nicholas Gebhardt, BCU

10.40am – 10.55am: Break

10.55am - 11.05: Provocation by Mark Pemberton: That's no way to run a business!

11.05am – 12.05pm: Failing Fast: Sonia Stevenson of Music Patron and Sarah Gee of Spitalfields Festival lead a session to help festivals navigate new ways of creative practice, including MPV solutions and agile working

12.05pm – 12.45pm: Roundtables – breakout sessions to look at different topics including Research and data; New ticketing models; Introducing the European Festival Fund for Emerging Artists (EFFEA); Burnout and recovery; Working with Composers - times of changes for contemporary music with chairs including Gert Naessens of European Festivals Association and Sonia Stevenson of Music Patron

12.45pm – 1.40pm: Lunch

1.40pm - 1.45pm: Creative provocation by Supriya Nagarajan Sound & Silence
An interaction of silence and sound within a melody. Using South Indian vocals, Supriya embellishes and glides across notes to create moments of reflection and joy.

1.45pm – 2.30pm: Taking the lead: new takes on governance and leadership
Jonathan Mayes of Clore Leadership/Cultural Governance Alliance, Nick Green of Arts Council England, Naomi Belshaw and Alexis Paterson of Three Choirs Festival discuss trends in governance and explore how festivals can refresh and revitalise their organisations

2.30pm – 3.30pm: Breakouts: closed sessions for boards/chairs and executive – a chance for delegates to discuss issues in a safe, facilitated space under Chatham House rules

3.30pm – 3.45pm: Break

3.45pm – 4.45pm: Fast forward: future festivals – James McVeigh of Festivals Edinburgh chairs a panel presenting new developments in the sector, including Emma Whittle of Cheltenham Festivals’ VOICEBOX, Gert Naessens of European Festivals Association and Emma-Jane Benning and Halima Malek of Strike a Light

4.45pm – 5pm: Close