10:30 – 11:20

2016 was predicted by RFID exponents to be the tipping point for cashless payments in the UK live events market – the point at which the industry’s confidence would finally surpass its fears, allowing it to embrace this shift and reap the benefits. On point with this forecast, there were no reports of failures in the tabloid press (or anywhere else) this summer and only positive feedback from the events that ventured into this new frontier. So has the cloud of Download lifted? Is the UK now ready to play catch-up with its overseas peers? 

Jimmy Coultas (Moderator) has worked in the music industry as a journalist and DJ for a decade, helming Skiddle’s content department for three and a half years. The company has been specifically delivering technological solutions for events of any size since it started selling tickets in 2006, ensuring promoters are one step ahead of industry trends.

Jo Leljevahl is the Event Manager for Snowbombing, Broadwick Live’s Austrian based snowsports and music festival. For the second consecutive year, Snowbombing 2016 utilised RFID technology to enable cashless payments and provide smoother access control.

Rob Star has been working in nightlife since the mid 90s, cutting his teeth working on festivals such as Tribal Gathering, Homelands and Gatecrasher Summer Sound System. Having promoted parties since the age of 16, Star graduated to festival promotion in 2012 with the first Eastern Electrics – and has been running the successful dance music festival ever since. This year’s event went fully cashless, and saw 17,000 people make the trip to Hatfield House in Hertfordshire.

Mark Laurie is the Director of NCASS and has been with the business for seven years. On a day-to-day basis he advises caterers, event organisers and street food traders on all areas of running businesses and events legally and safely. He also sits on a number of government panels, including the Business Advisory Group for the Food Standards Agency.

David de Wever is the CEO and co-founder of PlayPass, one of Europe’s leading providers of RFID solutions at festivals and other live events. Having set a new industry standard for robust, reliable and cost effective delivery at some of Europe’s best known festivals including Lollapalooza Berlin, Rock Werchter and Melt!, PlayPass opened its UK office last October and this summer serviced the country’s two largest cashless festivals: Standon Calling and Eastern Electrics. Worldwide, PlayPass has serviced over 88 major events this year, 72 of them being fully cashless. David is traveling from PlayPass’ HQ in Antwerp, Belgium with an unrivalled wealth of insights to share on this game changing new technology which is already revolutionising the way his clients are running – and monetising – their events.

11:20 – 11:30

Powerful Thinking will attend the UK Festival Conference to deliver an update on Festival Vision: 2025 and the results of the Industry Green Survey.
Last year, at the 2015 UK Festival Awards, Powerful Thinking launched The Show Must Go On, a seminal environmental report on the UK festival industry. As Powerful Thinking celebrates 50 UK Festivals signing the Festival Vision: 2025 pledge to act on climate change, Chris Johnson, Chair of Powerful Thinking will discuss the progress so far and invite festival organisers to join the biggest environmental movement in the history of the UK festival industry.

11:30 – 12:30

The UK festival market has been referred to as ‘oversaturated’ for a good few years now, and so we’re inviting a number of ticketing outlets to discuss how festivals can quite simply shift more tickets. Following on from the release of the Waterson report, we’ll also look at how the exploitative elements of the secondary ticketing market can be successfully regulated and undermined.

Jonathan Brown (Moderator) is Chief Executive of the Society of Ticket Agents and Retailers. For many years he has represented STAR and the ticket industry in the press, on radio and television and as a speaker at industry events. He currently chairs STAFF (the Safe Ticketing Anti-Fraud Forum) as well as a cross-industry group working to improve online access to tickets for disabled customers.

Stuart Cain is the Managing Director of the Ticket Factory, one of the UK’s leading national ticketing agents, selling around 2.5m tickets a year for a range of comedy events, concerts, sporting events, exhibitions, theatre performances, visitor attractions and much more across the UK.

Ben Sebborn is the Technical Director and co-founder of Skiddle, the UK’s largest what’s on guide and leading primary ticket agent. The company and Sebborn are both at the forefront of technological innovations, in particular long term advocates of using cutting edge technologies to make the purchasing process as quick and easy as possible for the customer, and selling tickets easier for event and festival promoters.

Sarah Slater is responsible for Ticketmaster and TicketWeb’s new business development. Her remit covers securing new clients to both brands’ rosters, in addition to ensuring all current clients are getting the most out of Ticketmaster’s leading technology solutions. Sarah’s festival clients include the Isle of Wight Festival, Creamfields, Standon Calling, SW4, Lovebox, V Festival, and Parklife.

Jen Long is Music Editor at start-up DICE. Graduating from Cardiff University in 2006 she went on to work at XFM South Wales and BBC Radio 1 in Wales. Working as a presenter for the BBC’s Introducing show up until 2012, Jen also launched record label Kissability with Transgressive Records, ran Zero Core Magazine, founded Cassette Store Day, presented all of BBC Three’s festival coverage and has contributed to Clash and The Line Of Best Fit, amongst others. In addition to her work at DICE Jen has also DJ’d at Reading, Green Man, Glastonbury, Latitude, Field Day and Visions, to name a few.

12:30 – 13:30

13:30 – 14:30

Although still in its infancy, the potential applications for virtual reality across the festival scene are as diverse as they are exciting. With an assortment of content creators and technology enthusiasts, we’ll be examining how the rapidly evolving phenomenon can be utilised across events.

Stephen Partridge (Moderator) is Head of Academic Department for Media & Creative Industries at Bucks New University, where approximately 500 students undertake undergraduate and postgraduate courses spanning the creative industries – from music management, performance and production to filmmaking and animation. Stephen is also Director of Spacerocket Media Ltd, a production company that specializes in filming live music performance with particular focus on high resolution capture in 360 mapped to 9.1 surround sound.

Eleanor Whitley is the Executive Producer of Marshmallow Laser Feast, a creative studio whose work spans kinetic sculpture, film, live performance and virtual reality.

Steven Hancock is the Chief Operations Officer and co-founder of MelodyVR. Prior to launching the venture, he accrued over 15 years’ experience at senior management level within events management.

Independent Music Industry advisor and Director of Entertainment Intelligence Sammy Andrews has a long history at the forefront of the digital landscape. Having gained a 360º view of the music industry through her background as a concert promoter, artist manager and independent record label founder, Andrews took on a position as Head of Digital at the record division of 19 Entertainment in 2005.

14:30 – 15:30

 According to figures obtained from the Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers, approximately half of the UK’s nightclubs have shut down in the last decade. The struggles of local independent venues are multifaceted and well documented, so this panel will elucidate how the destruction of this vital ecosystem will affect the festival scene – both in the lack of viable metropolitan spaces and removal of a platform for tomorrow’s headliners to break through.

Paul Bonham (Moderator) works in the Music Team at Arts Council England the national development agency for the arts in England, distributing public money from the Government and the National Lottery. Arts Council England supports musicians and venues through programs such as Grants for the Arts and Momentum that is delivered by PRS Foundation.

Beverley Whitrick is the Strategic Director of the Music Venues Trust, a registered charity created in January 2014 to protect the UK’s live music network by securing the long-term future of grassroots music venues.

Sybil Bell is Founder & CEO at music consultancy I Like The Sound Of That, which creates and runs events and campaigns for the music industry. This includes Independent Venue Week, a weeklong celebration of gigs supporting and celebrating the vital work that small venues do, for artists, the music industry and local communities.

Having worked on Sheffield’s Tramlines Festival since it started in 2009, Kate Hewett is now the festival’s Marketing and Programming Director, and takes care of its overall line-up as well as its marketing.

Jeff Thompson is the co-founder of Un-Convention and Off Axis. Established in 2008, Un-Convention is a UK based global music network and development agency. His current work includes a revolutionary new UK based touring model called Off Axis, which recently partnered with Kendal Calling on an innovative new concept for the live music sector – one which enables festivals to stimulate significant activity in grassroots music venues across the country.

15:30 – 16:30

With a number of high profile events forced to cancel due to lightning strikes and unusually severe weather, an increasing dependence on potentially vulnerable technology for access control, and a shift in focus from military targets to ‘Western lifestyle’ events by terrorist organisations, it is apparent that festivals are still soft targets for disaster. We’ll be examining the ways in which these threats can be mitigated and avoided.

Dr Chris Cocking (Moderator) is a Senior Lecturer at the School of Health Sciences, University of Brighton, with a research interest in the psychology of crowd behaviour (particularly during mass emergencies), collective resilience and post disaster psychosocial support.

As Head of Civil Contingencies at the Met Office, Mel Harrowsmith leads the Met Office Advisor team, which provides support to emergency responders across the UK during periods of severe weather. Harrowsmith provides direct support to the Civil Contingencies Secretariat during severe weather events and any weather related emergencies.

Dick Tee is a highly respected production manager with over 35 years’ experience working within live events. Founder of EnTEEtainment, Tee has provided site coordination, event management and production services to a wide variety of shows ranging from Glastonbury Festival to BBC Radio 1’s Big Weekend.

With over 20 years of experience in the music & live event industry, serving as a musician, audio engineer, artist manager, and entrepreneur, Darren Gallop now serves as the CEO & Chief Security Officer (CISSP) of live event management software firm, Marcato.

Beverley Griffiths is responsible for the management and development of the faculty and services of the Emergency Planning College, the UK’s leading centre for organisational resilience, delivering emergency and crisis management, business continuity, cyber resilience, event and public safety training, exercising and consultancy services.

All panellists are subject to change.