The Association of Festival Organisers (AFO) has announced the dates for its 2018 conference.

Now in its 32nd year the conference will take place November 9-11 at the Stratford Manor Conference Centre and Hotel near Stratford upon Avon.

Discussions and talks at the conference will aim to address ways in which the festival industry can play its part in helping to conserve valuable resources focusing on the current crisis with plastics, recycling and other pollutants and how festivals can reduce reliance on non-renewable energy. The impact Brexit may have on the festival industry will also be high on the agenda.

Topics that affect festivals of all sizes will include planning your festival site to make the best practical use of your space, how to deal with waste management and how your festival impacts on the local community.

Other seminars will cover how to stay on the right side of new legislation following the introduction of GDPR, the new PRS tariffs and changes in health and safety requirements. And for festival organisers juggling with the finances of running an event, how to maximise charitable funding in the digital age through crowdfunding.

On hand too are experts in many fields to answer specific questions on insurance, legal issues and accounting, dealing with contracts and artists, licensing and security.Showcase concerts on the Friday and Saturday evening will give delegates the chance to find new artists for their festivals. The concerts are also free to the public.

Steve Heap, general secretary at the AFO, commented: “Over the years the AFO has grown from a meeting of minds and shared experiences to an annual gathering that helps guide those involved in the festival industry towards best practices across all areas of an event.

“By keeping our finger on the pulse of changes, new legislation and new initiatives as they affect the events industry we can bring those subjects to the conference to share the knowledge and the ramifications”.