BAFA Conference for Festivals 2022: The Place to Connect

Thank you for attending the 2022 BAFA Conference for Festivals – this page contains full information on the event, including programme, delegates’ list, information for attendees and post-event resources.


Tuesday 22 November

1pm: Welcome

1.15pm – 2.30pm: This is the Place
Speakers including 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 from 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

Nick Green, Arts Council England’s slides are here and ACE’s Culture Change toolkit, to help follow best practice in recruitment and develop a diverse workforce and leadership, is here

Philip Walker’s slides are here

You can listen to the session here

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 and Halima Malek, Community Producer, Strike a Light

You can listen to this provocation here

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 of Presteigne Festival

James McVeigh’s presentation is available here contains further information about David Brownlee’s work and these two key reports are relevant to David’s presentation:

Cost of living –

Attendance –

You can listen to the session here

4.15pm: venue tour of Jolt/The Music Works and wine reception

7.30pm: optional evening meal at Cote, Quayside
If you want to leave a review for Amy or Sacha at Cote, the link is here

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

Listen to this creative provocation here

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, Fiona Goh of BAFA and chair Professor Nicholas Gebhardt, BCU

Listen to this session here

10.40am – 10.55am: break

10.55am – 11.05am: 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, chaired by Ashley Morris of Newbury Spring Festival

Download The Blob Tree here

The Failing Fast presentation is here

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

Download more information about the EFFEA funding scheme here

12.45pm – 1.40pm: lunch

1.40pm Р1.45pm: 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.

Listen to this creative provocation here

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

Post-session resources:

Governance Now conference (8th February 2023 at MAC, Birmingham). 10% discount for anyone signing up as a CGA member before the end of November.

Cultural Governance Alliance

NCVO Governance Guide

Charity Governance Code

Young Trustees Movement

Association of Chairs (providing peer-support for chairs & vice-chairs)

Blog by David Jubb advocating for radical changes to governance models

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 festivalsJames McVeigh of Festivals Edinburgh chairs a panel presenting new developments in the sector, including Ellie Petrie of Cheltenham Festivals, Gert Naessens of European Festivals Association and Emma-Jane Benning and Halima Malek of Strike a Light

Download Gert Naessen’s presentation here

Ellie Petrie’s slides are here

4.45pm – 5pm: close

The programme is also available as a PDF here.


The delegates’ list is here.


Please see venue access information, speakers’ biographies, event sponsor details and further information on the event here.


It would help us to plan future events if attendees could please complete a short survey here – thank you!