AFO NEWS DECEMBER 2001 – edited highlights


It was a bumper year for some and OK for others, and due to the effects of Foot and Mouth 2001 was a sad season for a good number of our members. The AFO will be gathering in Buxton to mull it all over. The Association of Festival Organisers Annual Conference will take place from 15-17 February 2002 in the Palace Hotel, Buxton, Derbyshire.


After the success of the 2001 Conference, members generally agreed that Buxton was a great place and the Palace Hotel was ideal. So plans are already well ahead for a re-run. This is the annual gathering that you should not miss with the comforts of the hotel, ideal Conference working areas, the company of over 150 other festival organisers exchanging views and news. It all makes for a worthwhile trip.

Speakers and seminars are already lined up and include Alan James, Head of Contemporary Music at the Arts Council of England (not speaking about funding) and Hamish Birchall, the Guru of Public Entertainment Licensing, especially the ‘Two in a Bar’ Rule. He will bring us the latest news and we can discuss thoughts for how we can help bring the Governments plans for reorganizing licensing to a workable conclusion. We have requests from members for sessions on stewarding, security, the latest news on PRS, the effects on the Governments shift of the late May Bank Holiday into June and many more breakout sessions and main speakers.


There is still plenty of time to send in your ideas, questions and thoughts on what you would like on the Agenda. We can discuss anything that we know about or we can invite speakers to cover the areas where we need some help. The Conference programme is always packed and very busy with lively debates, interesting speakers and this is your opportunity to join in. We can programme anything to do with festival organising and planning from choosing the venues, site management, artistic issues, contracts, FEU and PRS. The list goes on right through to whether Ringo Starr is a good drummer or not.


The Conference venue will house Trade Stands, an Agency Forum where lots of the country’s agents will all gather together in one room – book your whole festival here. After the success of last year’s Showcase Concert, Alan Bearman with the assistance of one or two other members has put together a stunning guest list including Croft No 5, North Cregg, Shine, Kieron Means and Sarah Hayes. The Concert will be FREE so will be publicised widely around the Midlands to attract other people. There will be a charitable collection. See Conference Booking Form for more details.

Make this the best Conference we have ever had. We are here to help one another. The AFO Conference is the best place to be 15-17 February 2002

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Many of the Regional Arts Boards have got special funds, some called ‘Go and See’, others are called ‘Artistic Development’, other called ‘Training and Professional Development’, ‘Training Bursary’ and many others. Talk now, try your Regional Arts Board and ask them to fund the small amount of money it will cost for you to attend this year’s annual Conference. If you can’t afford it, they should help you and we will see you there.

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Saturday 16 February, Palace Hotel, High Peak Ballroom
Buxton, Derbyshire, 8.00 – 11.30pm

sponserd by

Stage Electrics

The 2001 AFO Conference Artists Showcase was a huge success with Cara Dillon, Tarras, Drop The Box, The Jabadaw Trio and Emily Druce playing to a large audience of festival organisers and local enthusiasts. Top class PA and lighting gave the artists an ideal setting for demonstrating their talents and they all rose to the occasion. Festival bookings proliferated and the event was immediately deemed to be an annual event. Suggestions of artists for this year’s Showcase rolled in, with more than 70 received by deadline day. After many hard choices the line-up can be announced.

Croft No. 5
Are a dynamic combo of six young Highlanders with an up to the minute approach to their Scottish Traditional music. Hailed as the new Shooglenifty, fiddle, whistle and accordion combine with bass, drums, effects and samples to create a high-energy dance mix to end the evening.

North Cregg
Voted “Best Traditional Newcomers” at the Irish Music Magazine Awards 2000, North Cregg’s star is in the ascendancy with their second album Mi:Da:za being released to great critical acclaim. Expect the traditional tunes of Cork and Kerry along with music of Shetland, Quebec and Nova Scotia and dashes of swing and bluegrass.

“Three voices, two electro harps, one sensational, vibrant, contemporary sound.” Shine are Alyth McCormack; the voice at the leading edge of Gaelic song, Corinna Hewatt (Bachue, Chantan) and Mary MacMaster (The Poozies, Sileas)

Kieron Means
Anglo American Kieron Means is a singer of traditional and contemporary songs and a distinctive guitarist. He has toured in the States and performed with his mother Sara Grey. His festival performances and appearance on the Evolving Tradition 3 album brought high praise from Colin Irwin in MOJO.

Sarah Hayes
: Sarah is 15 and lives in Northumberland. Heralded by Kathryn Tickell as ” …a lovely singer of mainly English songs and an excellent flute and whistle player”, she is a finalist in The Radio 2 Young Folk Award for the second year running.

The concert will be introduced by Ian Smith of Prego and stage managed by Ken and Sue Bradburn of Emerging Music and Brampton Live.

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Foot and Mouth had its effect on many festivals. Dave Francis sent us this report from Scotland:

“In Scotland the outbreak was confined to Dumfries and Galloway and the Border country. Precautions meant the two festivals in Dumfries and Galloway, Ceilidh Gall Gallowa’ (CGG) and the Port William Festival, had to be cancelled. CCG was to have taken place on open farmland in May, so was clearly going to be in trouble. This would have been its fourth year, and for organiser Liz Holmes the loss of momentum has been as important as the loss of income. Bands Burach, The Sons of Arqa, Drop the Box and other local musicians have lost income too. The same team also runs a festival in September, and plans are well advanced for that, and the hoped that this festival would make up for the disappointment in May.

Further along the coast Port William also had to cancel. The majority of their audience would have been drawn from local people who work in the countryside, and as the village was surrounded by outbreaks, the reasons for cancellation were as much psychological as practical. Given the circumstances no one was feeling particularly festive. Musicians affected here included Ceolbeg, but the latest information from organiser George Butterworth was that because the Festival was given a certain amount of grant aid, it should be possible to re-schedule with the same line-up in the autumn, availability permitting.

In the same area, the annual Gatehouse of Fleet Festival, which also takes place in May, went ahead. After checking with the Council, they were told that their status as an indoor event in a village on a trunk road meant that there were few impediments to the festival taking place. Numbers were slightly down, but not significantly.”

Throughout the UK there were festivals curtailed, postponed and even cancelled. We don’t have any accurate lists at the moment but others are collecting data. Some Regional Arts Boards have pulled together information about how Foot & Mouth affected the economies of tourism and the arts and will be publishing their information, not only to the public but to the appropriate Minister. It was certainly the case that more than farmers suffered.

Having said that, there were several great successes on the festival scene. Hundreds of festivals did very good business with many selling out. The V Festivals at Chelmsford and Stafford both reached 60,000, Tea in the Park reached 50,000 and from the AFO Membership Chippenham, Warwick, Towersey and Trowbridge all recorded excellent years.

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There has been quite a lot of activity throughout the summer as the Government continues work on the complete revision of our licensing system. Not only is the ‘Two in a Bar’ rule officially considered outdated, the whole issue of Public Entertainment Licensing is receiving a great deal of attention.

As from 8th June the PEL issue in Government circles is now with the Department of Culture. The Arts Council is still showing a great deal of interest and the AFO will be writing to the Arts Council Group to see if anything is moving. Andrew Cunningham is still the Civil Servant handling the changes in the law.

The Government have officially recognised that the “Two in a Bar” Rule definitely out of date and the review will come. One of the lead players in the campaign to reform PEL’s is Hamish Birchall from the Jazz world but with an interest in Folk. He will be a speaker at our Conference in February.

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“I am pleased to report to fellow AFO members that Fylde 2001 was very successful. The quality of the music was outstanding and the festival supporters seemed to enjoy themselves immensely. The management structure of the events worked well apart from one or two overcrowded concerts. Difficult to predict, but the problem was resolved.

Fylde 2001 was our 29th festival. There is no doubt in my mind that 2001 has been the most difficult year for ticket sales I have experienced. The uncertainties created by the plague of the Foot and Mouth outbreak affected ticket demand in the spring. However, a mail shot to our regular supporters assuring them that Fleetwood was not affected produced results and all was well. We will be celebrating our 30th Anniversary Festival in 2002 and we hope it will be a joyous occasion.”


Broadstairs Festival are to be congratulated for securing a major grant from Government Funds for their European Regional Development Area around Broadstairs. It has led, according to Director, Jane de Rose to the most successful festival Broadstairs has ever had and furthermore, they have produced an A4 full colour brochure to trumpet the fact that the festival was a great success. To quote “What a week it was. The town buzzed throughout the whole week and thousands of people attended the many events. From concerts in Pierremont Park through ceilidhs, children’s events, processions, displays and season ticket sales up by 50% with most events bursting at the seams.”

A great success and congratulations to Jane for putting Broadstairs well and truly on a firm footing. For more details of how she did it and to see their very classy report contact Jane de Rose, Broadstairs Folk Week.

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All AFO members who have given us their email addresses should by now have received their invitation to join the AFO eGroup. As soon as you have joined, you can post your news, views and queries about Festival related matters to the rest of the Association who subscribe. Please try to keep your contributions ‘on topic’. If you want to unsubscribe you are able to do this an your introductory email tells you how!

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Directory of Social Change

The DSC has published many guides and handbooks on the funding systems and fundraising. Contact them for their catalogue. See contact sheet for details.


The Directory of Social Change is organising some courses for ‘EU Funding for Beginners’ (17-18 Jan 2002, 21-22 March 2002) and ‘Managing EU Funded Projects’ (27-28 Nov 2001, 14-15 Nov 2002).

The Beginners course looks at EU Funds in Context, An Overview of the EU Funding System, Finding the Funds, Developing EU Funded Projects, Costing and Budgeting for EU Funded projects, Overheads, Record Keeping, Transnational Projects and making successful applications.

The Managing EU Funded Projects concentrates on the Nature of EU Funded Projects, Setting Project Objectives, Setting Smart Objectives, Setting Jointly Accepted Project Objectives in a Partnership, Planning for Delivery, Developing a Plan for Delivery, Using Planning tools, Record Keeping, Setting up a Monitoring System, Disaster Management and Audits.

Contact the DSC for further information


An annual conference that covers all aspects of law for charities, run by The Directory of Social Change, and Bates, Wells & Braithwaite Solicitors. This will take place on Thursday 28 February 2002 in London. Contact DSC for further details.

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The former Minister of State at the Department of Education and Employment has taken over at DCMS. Our good friend and supporter Chris Smith MP is now on the backbenches. Taking on her new role, Tessa Jowell told the media that she wanted her department to be thought of as a “Ministry of free time” and vowed to help people achieve a balance between their work and their leisure time. Many new things have already started to happen and she takes over heading work on restructuring the Regional Arts Boards and the Arts Council that had already left the starting block before her appointment. It is quite simple – to keep our music and your festivals on the agenda, you write direct to the top and tell her about your event. Flag up the dates for the new season; talk briefly about the ups and downs of running community arts events. It’s not all about funding; it is about support, confidence, tourism, heritage and profile. If 152 AFO member festivals wrote to Tessa Jowell, I’m pretty certain somebody would notice. DCMS has subdivided departments and clearly the new minister has support.


The new Minister for the Arts, is in charge of arts, crafts, music, the Government Art Collection, museums, galleries, libraries, cultural property, Royal Estate, architecture and design, women’s and green issues, training and education and international cultural affairs.


Minister for Tourism, Film and Broadcasting, will handle creative industries, Information Technology, social policy access and equal opportunities issues along with jurisdiction over censorship and licensing.

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The Event Industry’s newspaper ‘Access All Areas’ is undergoing a transformation into a new look publication. The new layout will have clearer sections, regularly sections on Concerts and festivals; Conferences and corporate entertaining Community and pubic events; Exhibitions; Sport and People. There will be a large comment section, as well as the regular health and safety and IT updates.

Access All Areas is a great source of up-to-date information about what is happening in the Events Industry.

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Direct Roots was published in June 2001 as the first in-depth guide of its kind and was quickly welcomed as a much-needed resource for this sector of the music business.

Published by Mrs Casey Music in association with The Musicians’ Union, Ledgard Jepson and The AFO Direct Roots contains verified contact details including email addresses and websites; of thousands of artists, venues, festivals, record labels, media, organisations and services with useful annotations to help find the right entry.

As well as directory information, Direct Roots provides Resource Sections for ten English Regions as well as focus sections on Ireland, Scotland and Wales. There’s specialist articles, from leading authorities such as Colin Irwin, Ian Anderson and Andrew Cronshaw and “How to” sections on a host of topics from “working with agents ” to “attracting audiences”.

The second edition of Direct Roots will be published in January 2003 with new sections, updated resource lists and plenty of fresh ideas. Listing entries and amendments are now welcome as are suggestions for articles.

Direct Roots is available at only £17.50 inc p&p. (Overseas p&p added at cost) from PO Box 296, Matlock, Derbyshire, DE4 3XU Tel. 01629 827014

Forms for inclusion in the next edition are available from the same address or can be downloaded from

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I recently wrote to Ian Anderson, Editor of fROOTS and asked him if he could consider a discounted advertising rate for AFO members. He was happy to make all possible discounts available to AFO members with camera ready artwork discount, early payment discount etc. The price of advertising in fROOTS is not as expensive as you think and considering its coverage is pro rata by far the most economic. What Ian does offer is an opportunity to make more money for your festival by having fROOTS on sale. Talk direct to Ian’s office to make sure that you get your share of the cake.

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A tour inspired by the ancient musical traditions of Finland will be on tour next year funded by the Arts Council as part of the prestigious Contemporary Music Network. Developed from the CD of the same name by Andrew Cronshaw, the tour involves some of Finland’s best-known traditional musicians including Jenny Wilhelms of the group Glallarhorn. Contact FolkWorks for the tour dates.

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This one will run and run and once again pops up its head at the end of the summer season. Organisers of large public events are being asked to contribute towards the escalating costs of Policing. One of the big ones, Notting Hill Carnival was reportedly a cost of £4 million pounds on tax payers money, a total of 10,000 police officers. I can report that Sidmouth International Festival has been asked in the past and is still negotiating. Towersey Village Festival pays a small contribution and several other AFO members have reported police bills in the past. How was it for you? Do you think we should? Should we take any action? In support of charges or against charges? Write to AFO NEWS and let us know. This issue will be raised at Conference, hopefully with a prominent speaker from the Police Offices.

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For many years now The Association of Festival Organisers has run a ticket swap scheme. How and Why? Quite simply members can call each other and achieve free entry into one another’s festivals. It is good that we as members can get around to see how others are doing it. We can pick up ideas, share experiences and it all helps with the debate at Conference and furthers the work that we do together. There is no pressure on anyone who cannot be involved in the swap scheme for whatever reason, maybe local authority restrictions etc. However, I would encourage members to be fair and reasonable. It is quite often the case that up to half a dozen weekend festival tickets are made available to AFO members, perhaps on a first come first serve basis. You may wish to give away more. For those running a full week festival, it is normal to offer one or two days or perhaps the weekend free! Please join in where you can.

AFO NEWS JUNE 2001 – edited highlights


As previously reported IN AFO NEWS on 15th March, the Arts Council of England (ACE) announced proposals for a radical overhaul of the arts funding system in the document ‘A Prospectus for Change’. At the centre of these proposals is the plan to abolish the ten Regional Arts Boards and replace them with nine Regional Offices. These offices will form part of the new Arts Council of England (Southern Arts would be completely abolished and divided between the South East and South West). Peter Hewitt (ACE Chief Executive) has been on a countrywide tour asking artists, managers and Regional Arts Boards staff to take on board his vision of this major change.

It all sounds very simple but it is not. Members will have read in arts press, local and national press and magazines a great deal of how the regions, the RAB employees and the artists feel about these changes. It was the Arts Council’s intention not to have too much more consultation and fast track the changes. Some say that the consultation is purely academic. However, although some Regional Arts Boards are sympathetic to the proposals, in the main they have been received a little stormily and the brakes have been put on.

The Arts Council of England is currently holding more discussions and explanatory meetings and intends to eventually pursue this radical change. Full transcripts of “Prospect for Change” and responses from Regional Arts Boards including discussions between key players have been widely published in arts magazines throughout the country. Copies can be found on various web pages and are available from the Arts Council, National Campaign for the Arts, Voluntary Arts Network and many others.

There are several sources where you can get the full facts. The new magazine ArtsProfessional in Issue 1 (7th May) has a double page spread called “Mission Impossible” outlining Peter Hewitt’s point of view. You could talk directly to your Regional Arts Board Officers; look at the Arts Council’s web pages or you could look at Issue 1 of Arts Industry (4th May) there the front page leads with the story “ACE faces backlash from the Regions”.

Whatever the source, we strongly recommend that you keep up-to-date with these major proposals for change. They will affect you and the way you are viewed by your Regional Arts Board. What do you think? The AFO has a voice on this issue. Read and discuss. Write and report. We can have a say. These changes will certainly affect you and your festival.

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As we go to print with this June edition of AFO NEWS the Foot & Mouth crisis in England is clearly on the decline although there are still some sporadic outbreaks. Sadly a small number of festivals either had to cancel or postpone their event in the early part of the festival season but the majority are GOING AHEAD. There have been minor restrictions in some country areas and a few issues of inconvenience at campsites but in the main there is an upbeat feeling for the rest of the season. Some Festivals have trimmed down to just one day, others have shifted their dates to later in the year but we must support each other and promote the ‘festivals-are-going-head’ message so there are no more casualties after this devastating epidemic.

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15-17 February, Palace Hotel, Buxton

We need to know now what it is that you most want to do, hear about and talk about at next year’s Conference. Already on the list is Agents, Sponsorship, Forming Charities, Funding, PA, Updates on the changes in the Regional Arts Boards and the Showcase – for which we need nominations of artists and much more. Send in your thoughts now as planning has already begun.

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The Disabled Discrimination Act 1995 is a comprehensive piece of legislation. The AFO has several copies of advice leaflets including: an introduction for small and medium sized businesses; rights of access to goods; facilities; services and premises. If you need help and advice in this area these are an invaluable starting point. They are available free to AFO members or direct from the Stationery Office.

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The Voluntary Arts Network (VAN) Briefing No 53 (April 2001) was a very useful document on helping us all provide better and clearer written publicity especially for customers who are blind or partially sighted. The RNIB provide bullet points and basic guidelines in the VAN Briefing. It is well worth a read.

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A booklet produced by Health & Safety Executive to help you sort out your Risk Assessment is now available (free of charge) to members from AFO Office. Sections are headed “What is Risk Assessment?”, “How to Assess Risks”, “Looking For Hazards” and the information is set out in an easy chart, and demonstrating a simple procedure for Risk Assessment. This booklet is a valuable and vital piece of your festival equipment. Get your copy now by contacting the AFO Office.

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Thanks to contributions from AFO members and others at the Showcase Concert at the AFO Conference 2001. Amnesty International has very kindly sent us an acknowledgement and a receipt for your kind contributions. Well done. Ideas for Showcase at the Conference 2002 (15-17 February) are welcome at the AFO Office now.

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As the Country piled into election fever and AFO NEWS was being assembled, rumors were growing that the DCMS was to be abolished after the General Election.

Chris Smith, Secretary of State at DCMS has been a good friend of Festivals, folk, roots and traditional music scene and the AFO will thank him for his support. The Prime Minister has decided to introduce new faces into the Cabinet and as we say farewell to Chris Smith we have been informed that Tessa Jowell is the new Secretary of state for Culture.

We will be in touch as soon as she has had time to sharpen her pencil and AFO information will be amongst the first to hit her desk. More on this change in the next AFO NEWS.

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There was a great deal of interest in running some one-day seminars. In particular more information on the topic of Risk Assessment was requested. In the autumn of 2001 it is hoped to stage two Risk Assessment Seminars with Richard Limb, one being held in the north and one in the south of England. More on this when it is ready.

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As previously reported in AFO pages over the last two years and now on BBC News, the government is considering major changes in school holidays that will affect festival dates throughout England.

The most recent discussions on this issue have been raised prior to the election when the Minister at the Department of Education and Employment crossed swords with Christian churches that strongly objected to the moving of the Easter School holiday.

See back issues of AFO NEWS and we will also try to keep you up-to-date as we hear the news. Your opinions and news on this issue are needed for our lobby work, which ever way you jump. Send your opinion in now.

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The Hollis Sponsorship book has been purchased by AFO and is in the office. I’m not sure we can mail it out to everyone concerned but if you do want to have a look then we can work out a way of getting the right pages to you. Hollis also publish a Newsletter which the AFO Office can also make available. There is absolutely no doubt that the majority of sponsorship available from commercial enterprise in England today goes to sport and especially that which is covered by television. You can hardly blame them. With the welcome scrapping of tobacco sponsorship in most areas of the arts and sport, it makes the job of finding money even harder. Racing cars that used to be tobacco sponsored are now mobile phone sponsored. A major mobile phone company recently reduced its sponsorship to the Arts in favour of motor sport. It is a tough battle to fight. Whilst I am very happy to see tobacco sponsorship declining we must work hard to convince major companies that the Arts and the community, and in our case, festivals are a first class market place for the promotion of their products. More on this at the next AFO Conference where we will have a sponsorship speaker.

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Broadstairs Folk Week has succeeded in receiving a major Lottery grant as well as European Regional Development funding via the Thanet District Council. Broadstairs Folk Week (AFO member) has played an important role in the folk scene throughout its 34 year history. The fund has enabled the festival to embark on a three year development plan aimed at improving the artistic programme and making full use of the new 500 seater concert tent sited in the centre of town. For full information see their web page.

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The organizing committee of the Flyde Folk Festival (AFO member) is very pleased to announce details of a recent prestigious award made to Alan Bell, Fylde Folk Festival Director.

Melanie Cookson, Wyre Borough Council Tourism Liaison Officer said, “The nomination for this award is based on your efforts to develop the Fylde Folk Festival into a highly commended international event. It recognises the fantastic development over the past 29 years and your individual enthusiasm for maintaining the heritage of Fleetwood traditions and history.”

In accepting the award Alan said, “I am very proud and very pleased to received such a prestigious award from my own Local Authority. It gives me great honour to accept this award, not only for myself, but also for all the local people who have shared my enthusiasm and given me their support over the years. To them and the people of Wyre Borough I give my thanks.”

Fylde is an AFO member and Alan Bell was at the very first meeting when the AFO was conceived. Congratulations from all of us to Alan Bell and Fylde Festival (31st August -2nd September 2001).

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“The business has needed this for years”
At last, a comprehensive useful guide to the folk and roots world! The long awaited Direct Roots; the new directory/resource book for the folk, roots and acoustic music business, is targeted straight at the thousands of people in this corner of the arts. As Direct Roots is published on 1st June 2001, already at Mrs Casey Music enthusiastic statements from wholesalers, retailers, musicians, venue managers, record producers, publishers and writers are being received.

What is in it / Who is in it?
Direct Roots contains thousands of verified free entries providing contacts (addresses, phone, email and websites) for artists, venues, festivals, record labels, media organisations and services. It contains detailed resources in the ten English regions plus In Focus sections on Ireland, Wales and Scotland and a special European chapter.

The entries are annotated to help find the right artist, venue, festival or service. Recommendations from dozens of people at grass roots level will point readers in the right direction. Specialists including Colin Irwin, Ian Anderson, John Kirkpatrick, Andrew Cronshaw, John Howson and many others share their knowledge and a major section on the Internet provides a guide to folk and roots music on the web. Direct Roots contains hundreds of website addresses.

It will be invaluable to anyone who is interested in knowing more about the business, finding the contact, the instrument, the venue or just learning more about the music, dance and song available in the British Isles today. Available now by mail order @ £17.50 (plus £2.50 overseas p+p).

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Jazz Services, Musicians’ Union (MU) and the English Folk Dance and Song Society (EFDSS) have teamed up for a day of action on Thursday 19th July 2001. The current legislation regarding licensing of venues for music is, to say the least, difficult to deal with and there have been recent cases in London that have caused the closure of live music events. The proposed new legislation does little to improve the situation and the above group have organised the day of action to bring these difficulties to the attention of the Government, Press and many others. As a musician or band you could join in. As a supporter of live music you might like to attend. Contact Tim Walker at EFDSS.

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Dave Townsend’s Hands On Music Weekends at Witney have developed considerably and now boast a list of eight separate events running from late September 2001 to March 2002. These include concertinas, fiddles, melodeons, strings, accordions, wind, plucking and voices all known as ‘… at Witney’. The courses have gained in reputation and popularity over the last few years. For full details of the brochure contact Dave.

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Mrs Casey Music is one of the leading companies involved in the Folk, Roots & Acoustic music scene. Earlier this year the company successfully filled a vacant post in its busy office. However, after acquiring further contacts a brand new post has now been created and the Mrs Casey Music team is looking for someone else to join them and be prepared to move to a new office base in Derbyshire later this year.

Mrs Casey Music is involved with many different areas of work, ranging from organising Sidmouth International Festival, Towersey Village Festival and the Folk in the Fall series of concerts at the South Bank Centre, London.
The company is one of the major partners producing Direct Roots – the definitive guide to the Folk, Roots and Acoustic music scene in the British Isles. It also plays a key role in the work of The Association of Festival Organisers.

The new post needs someone who has some publicity and marketing experience, is able to update and create web pages, can offer basic DTP and design skills and has general office skills. Added to that they need to work under pressure, meet deadlines and be a strong member of a small team. Salary is c. £13K depending on experience.

If anyone is tempted to join in with the Mrs Casey team – then a CV and letter about themselves needs to be sent to the Matlock office asap.

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Workshops organized by Musicians’ Union (MU) in collaboration with community music agency Sound Sense, and funded by the Department of Education and Employment are aimed to help musicians provide a way of passing on their skills. Information will be provided about the various training opportunities available to musicians –from practical courses and workshops to on-line training.

Research by the MU has shown that the proportion of musicians involved in community music over the last 20 years has risen from 1.5% in 1978 to 6.8% in 1998. For more details contact Sue Borland at the Musicians’ Union or Carol Coleman at Sound Sense.

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Folkworks have published their summer newsletter which included information about the Durham Gathering 26-28 July, the African Ceilidh in Hexham on 11 July and the announcement that they will again be organising and hosting the heats and semi-finals of the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards. This award was won by The Black Cat Theory last year.

The competition is for young musicians aged between 12-20 who are invited to enter as a soloist, duo or band of up to 6 people. The music can reflect any acoustic tradition, folk, blues, bluegrass and although entrants may reside in the UK the music can be from anywhere in the world.

Entrants should send recordings along with the entry form, available form Folkworks and from these a number of acts will be invited to attend an audition weekend in Kendal from 5 – 7 October.

‘FolkWords’ is packed full of information about the work of Folkworks and is available from their offices.

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Janet Brown of the Morpeth Gathering sent us this item. A warning for all of us who run dancing events on good dance floors.

“We have just has our annual event, the Morpeth Northumbrian Gathering. All went well until we were notified that at our barn dance somebody had been wearing stiletto heels, which are, apparently coming back into fashion.
These heels have made pock-marks all over a newly treated floor in a hall that we know well and have used for years with no problems. Fortunately we know the owners well and they are taking no umbrage but we have to investigate who dunnit (we are almost sure we know). We also have to claim off our insurance policy, which we hope will cough up.
The average woman wearing these heels exerts the same amount of pressure as three elephants on the tip of the heel. If these are reinforced with a steel spike, the weapon is lethal and the damage potential to floors and manicured lawns is enormous.
I thought maybe AFO could warn members to put up “No stiletto heels” notices to protect themselves.”

AFO NEWS MARCH 2001 – edited highlights

“The Best Conference Ever” is what a good number of delegates have said in the Conference Questionnaire after this year’s Buxton event. Some said best venue; others said best collection of speakers, subjects and debates; most enjoyed the Showcase Concert and we even had a bit of snow in the beautiful Peak District.

For the first time the Conference opened on Friday night for early arrivals to get together in an informal session. Led by Sue Torres and John Eeles (Stroud Festival) the discussion focused around new festivals having an opportunity to speak about their events and the ups and downs of how it all was for festivals in 2000. The debate went off in several directions, a good number of which were covered later in the weekend in the main agenda. It was generally felt that opening on Friday evening was a great idea and will be continued into next year’s Conference. More than half of our delegates arrived for Friday night. In welcoming early arrival delegates to the Conference, the General Secretary Steve Heap reminded delegates of the “hazards” waiting around the corner for Event Organisers.
Formed in 1987 the AFO thought it was probably a small group in the Events and Entertainment industries. “We did very little except listen in those early days and only in recent years has the AFO begun to touch base with other similar associations in the same field of work.” Associations like Production Services Association (PSA), the Mobile & Outside Caterers Association (MOCA), The Event Services Association (TESA) and the National Outdoor Events Association (NOEA) have discovered, along with the AFO that they too thought their association was representing quite a small corner, all thinking someone else must be doing the real moving and shaking. Well, in fact they weren’t, and Steve kicked off the Conference with a message to all Event Industry Association leaders:
“Get together and talk to one another and do it this year. Pool resources, ideas, experiences and through our collective weight the authorities, who are not our enemies but should be regarded as our partners in organising events, will pay attention to our experience. Some of the decisions that officers, councillors and government officials can make that effect the Event Industry can lose people’s jobs, can change the way we operate and have a long lasting effect without those officials even knowing that they have done it …unless we talk to them”.

Many Thanks to the sponsors of this year’s Conference:

Spadger Sound Services,
Eve Trakway,
The Musicians’ Union,
GLS (PA & lighting)
Arts Council of England.

My sincere thanks to Kathy Aveyard of Cleckheaton Festival for taking notes and providing these for this NEWS report.
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The AFO can now announce that it has another link in the insurance market. Specially developed by PJT Insurance of Dublin for Festival and Event Liability, the scheme can cover from £3 million Public Liability and up to £10 million Employers Liability, with optional extras for property insurance, hired equipment, money carrying insurance, abandonment and cancellation. The Director of PJT, Peter Thomas said at the recent AFO Conference that he was delighted to be working with the AFO and was expecting a large take up in this very competitive insurance scheme specially devised for festivals. Peter has experience of working with festivals in the AFO sister organisation AOIFE, now with over 200 Irish festivals taking advantage of the excellent scheme. The scheme also includes Motor Contingent Liability and Peter can advise on special needs.
An application form is available from the AFO Office, or downloaded here. This is now the AFO recommended scheme, however members may wish to contact other insurance companies like Stafford Knight and Insurex Expo-Sure, previously quoted in AFO NEWS.
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1. The PRS licences have been held at 2% of door takings for a third year. AFO is keeping up the pressure to retain 2%.

2. The AFO is now invited to speak and be represented at many local and national levels.

3. In the last few years there have been thousands of very successful festivals, something we should all be proud of.

4. The AFO is a growing association with clear targets and strong membership.

5. AFO receives financial support from the Arts Council of England without which a great deal of this work could not be done.

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After a night of meeting and greeting around the various bars in Buxton, the full Conference re-assembled on Saturday morning for a welcome from the Mayor of High Peak, Jane McGrother who reminded us that Buxton was no stranger to festivals. It has an enormous Fringe Festival and a wealth of musical talent in the district. The Mayor welcomed us to Buxton and recognized the serious side of organising festivals and it appeared to her from the agenda that Health & Safety was going to be a key issue. She wished us all well and a welcome back to Buxton next year.
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In this new century festivals are certainly ‘on the up’. Back in the 1960’s there were lots of folk clubs. Now in 2001 there are loads of festivals and a good number of them are very successful indeed. In keeping with the title the Conference discussed issues that were changing in this new century. Health & Safety was high on the agenda and Conference was reminded that we have a ‘duty of care’. And we do care – we are a caring organisation. We deliver excellent music, dance & song to an ever-expanding audience that demands value for money, high standards, safety and great festivals. With that in mind we got down to business.
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The first of these titled “Children at your Festival – what price children’s events?” led by Bev & Ray Langton (Sidmouth International Festival). A copy of their presentation is available from AFO Office. As expected there were loads of questions. Bev & Ray have a great deal of experience in organising children’s events and their paper is well worth a read. We are expecting to invite them back to next year’s Conference to cover other subjects in their area.
The early afternoon brought the second of the sessions of Children at your Festival. Ian Chambers (Middlewich Folk & Boat Festival) led with “Other People’s Children”. The discussion centred on who was actually responsible for these children while they were attending your event. Did parents devolve responsibility to you the organiser, or the workshop leader whilst they went off to enjoy something else? or were you not wholly responsible? It is likely that in the next 12 months Bev & Ray Langton will collaborate with others and work alongside Victor Ryan (AOIFE) in producing a paper provisionally titled “Children at Your Event” as a guideline for AFO members in the area of children festival management. Victor Ryan gave an overview of the AOIFE document “Happy Children” in the third of our children’s sessions. A full copy of this is available from the AFO Office or AOIFE (see contact sheet). After 3 sessions on ‘Children at your Festivals’ there was a delegate understanding that there is more to it than a few toys and a Punch & Judy show.
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Richard Limb chaired the working party which prepared the new revised ‘Pop Code’ which he went on to assure Conference was not as scary as many had first thought. In fact some organisers have been observing our ‘duty of care’ and caring for our audience for many years. What is now happening is that legislation is dropping into place to ensure that everyone follows suit. We all have lessons to learn and Richard’s presentation gave us a variety of pointers. Risk Assessment is now almost universally requested by Local Authorities before a Public Entertainment Licence (PEL) will be issued. Even if your festival works without a PEL, a Risk Assessment is still a vital part of your preparation and will almost certainly be asked for by the Insurance company. Risk Assessment involves:

1. Identifying hazards;
2. Evaluating the risks;
3. Considering how to reduce the risk to an acceptable level.

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An informal discussion about Youth Culture at festivals was led by Ross McKinlay (ex-Folkworks, now of Mrs Casey Music). Government definition of ‘Youth’ is 13-19, the age between GCSE and A Levels, when you start to decide for yourself what it is that you like. This discussion, often quite heated, tried to investigate what was already happening for young people at festivals. It was noted that quite often if you bill something as a Youth activity the group that won’t go to it are the Youth! There was a more subtle path required and Ross had a great deal of experience in this area. The young people themselves need to be involved in the organisation, development and promotion of Youth events. Young people are more likely to respond to people of their own age group. It is important that Youth events are an integral part of the festival rather than being sidelined on the fringe.
The discussions included a debate on physical events like dancing rather than sitting in concerts, both at workshop and performance level. It may also help that some of the dances are unstructured rather than formal. Youth may not want to be organised and structured. They quite often enjoy being on the fringes of ceilidhs and involving themselves in what some people perhaps refer to as “messing about”. There are quite a lot of young bands coming through these days and these are a great attraction to young audiences. Young people may be more openly critical of each other and the criticism may be more acceptable than from older people.
There is often a communication problem between Youth and Festival Organisers. Organisers may not be aware of what are good young bands and what the Youth are looking for. Equally young bands may not know the best approach to make to festival organisers to get the booking in the first place.
Delegates generally agreed that it was a very useful discussion. Youth issues were vital as a good number of the current AFO member organisers started their festival careers in the 1960’s and 1970’s and a new generation of bands, performers and ticket holders are required. We need organisers too.

AFO NEWS JANUARY 2001 – edited highlights

AFO members, Associate Members and colleagues in the community arts and events industry meet in Buxton 2-4 February 2001 at the Palace Hotel for the annual Conference of The Association of Festival Organisers. This year the title is “A New Attitude For A New Century”. A packed programme has been developed by a small group of advisors from within the AFO.
Conference subjects will include:

health & safety
crowd control
insurance issues
risk assessment
children at your festival
town based events
green field sites

artistic policies
youth culture
arts funding
the press
the internet and your festival
publicity and marketing

…and much more! In particular, the very popular “How do you do that?” session will give delegates an opportunity to bring up those subjects that are most bothering them and hopefully gain some answers or at least some advice from colleagues in the “same boat”.
Speakers include:

Victor Ryan – AOIFE
Simon Ancliffe – Legion Crowd Safety
Peter Thomas – PJT Insurance
Richard Limb – Symonds Group
Colin Irwin
Network of Stuff Theatre
Bob Fox (TESA & MOCA)
representatives of North West Arts.

Other sessions, chairs and seminar leaders are gleamed from the vast amount of experience available to us within the AFO from our own membership, but most of all input, debate and discussion from you the conference delegates.

New this year
After many years of starting at 10am on Saturday morning we have had an enormous number of requests to open up on Friday. So – registration will be from 6pm on Friday evening with an early welcome and a session of the ups and downs of Festivals in 2000. It is likely that this session will break up into new festivals and more established festivals. So, get to Buxton early for a big debate on how 2000 was for you.
If you can’t make Friday night, registration reopens at 9am on Saturday, and Conference starts at 10am. We expect to run through to the early evening on Saturday (see also showcases) and work through to around 3.30pm on Sunday.

Someone said that we all book the same artists just like a merry-go-round travelling through English folk festivals. Most of us don’t agree but if you want to break the cycle the Showcase Concert might well be the place to spot somebody new. Alan Bearman (Sidmouth International Festival) and Ken Bradburn (Brampton Live, Cumbria) have solicited, collected and organized a number of top-line acts for this year’s Showcase Concert.
The concert is open to the public with free entry. All are welcome to the Showcase, which commences at 8.30pm through to midnight in the High Peak Ballroom, Palace Hotel, Buxton. That is the Conference for 2001. Don’t miss it. It is already filling up. The hotel has plenty of rooms but they are going fast. Book early – see you in Buxton.

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Steve Heap (AFO News editor) attended the one-day conference organised by The Events Services Association (TESA) at Birmingham Library Theatre in November. A day packed with meeting and greeting, catching up with colleagues and friends and discussions about how the season had been. The Conference also included an excellent presentation by Andrew MacGill, Promotions Manager from Leeds City Council, who talked about not only putting a smile on the face of our customers, but on the face of us –the organisers too. Bob Fox of MOCA gave us Concession Crazy, which will also feature on the AFO Conference Agenda.

In an open debate with a panel of leading experts in Event Organising there was much discussion about public entertainment licensing and the hope for uniformity in application and in costs. Debate also continued about Police bills to events, security, staging, crowd control and many other issues. The end result was that TESA, AFO, the Local Government Officers Association and many others should be working together in preparing papers and encouraging debate on these issues connected to the Events Industry. AFO will play a leading role in this work.

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By the time that you read this the Millennium Dome will have played to its last audience and closed. If there was ever a prime example of how the media of England can make or break an event then this was it. I (your editor) attended the Dome and viewed it not only as a member of the public but also as an Event Organiser. The transport network that got me there, the entry system, the stewarding, the pattern and programme of entertainment, exhibitions and items of general interest were laid out and planned, in my opinion, in an excellent way. I spent 9 hours there and had small children with me who cried when we were leaving and wanted more. I ought to have found time to go back but sadly never did.

The media had the down on it from the start and whether we like it or not what we read in the papers influences the way that we think and before we got to February of 2000 the Dome was doomed. The management may well have over-estimated their target numbers, I am one for pessimistic planning and budgeting, but that should not have signalled the death of the project. Whatever your views – if you didn’t go you should have.

There were things to learn there about how to look after crowds, how to organise and lay out an event and I for one was very sad to see the way the British media demolished it before it had a chance. It can happen to your festival too. Keep your local media involved and included. Don’t let them speculate on the ups and downs of your festival. Give them the press releases and in the main they will print them because they know them to be true straight from the horses mouth.

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A new directory/resource book for the folk, roots, acoustic music and arts business is being prepared by Mrs Casey Music in association with the Musicians’ Union for summer publication.

It will contain thousands of verified free entries covering artists, venues, festivals, resources, record labels etc. What will make Direct Roots different is that alongside these entries will be articles and resource lists on various musical genres, a regional guide and loads of useful information about folk and acoustic music on the web.

With an introduction by Martin Carthy (MBE) and the support of the Musicians’ Union, Direct Roots
aims to be the most desirable handbook this corner (stone) of the business has ever seen.

Direct Roots is for artists, organisers, venue managers, agents, service providers and enthusiasts alike, anyone involved in and interested in the folk and roots scene in its widest sense.

Information is being collated throughout the winter of 2001 and verified in the spring, with a view to publishing on 1 June in time for the British festival season.

Advertising is welcomed from the potential users and will be appropriately placed in the various sections of the guide to achieve maximum impact. For a free entry in Direct Roots email or download the form from the web page at For advertising information see the web page or email

More information, details and interviews available by contacting Alan Bearman/Steve Heap at:
Tel/Fax: 020 8292 1131

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We have been banging on about duty of care and safety at your events for many months, probably years. The Health & Safety Executive has now published a new guide called Managing Crowds Safely. AFO has a copy in the office, however it is only £17.50 and very valuable. You could get yours direct from Health & Safety Books (PO Box 1999 Sidbury, Suffolk, CO10 2WA) Health & Safety Books also publish many other guides that could be of interest. They have a catalogue and it comes free. Ask for one.

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In 2002 the Government have decided to move the Spring Bank Holiday from the end of May to the first Monday in June to co-incide with an extra Bank Holiday celebrating the Queens’ Golden Jubilee. This will clearly affect such festivals as Chippenham, Bishopstock and probably more. But more importantly the Events Industry will have its diary thrown into disarray leaving the Industry with one weekend with no bookings and many double bookings on the new Bank Holiday. More information on this is needed, any contributions welcome.

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On behalf of our members we are constantly looking for the best possible deal and arrangements for insurance. In these days of litigation, insurance is a vital part of event and festival planning. There are plenty of insurance brokers out there able to offer some kind of service – but very few specialise. In the past we have recommended particular companies and we would now like to add to that list by recommending PJT Insurance Services

Peter Thomas has been working closely with our colleagues in Ireland on a special AOIFE insurance scheme for many years and has now been invited to offer the same service to AFO members. Cover can be arranged for £3 million pounds or £5 million pounds public liability. Local Authorities generally have been asking for the £5 million pound limit in recent years before issuing a Public Entertainment Licence. A calculation on premiums is usually set on the number of people attending the event i.e. the maximum at any one time.

Peter is currently preparing proposal forms in association with AFO Office. Some general publicity and information will be available shortly. Peter will be in attendance at the AFO Conference in Buxton where you can hear the full proposals. If you require a one-to-one consultation, Peter will welcome you to his insurance clinic. So, you could pick up new insurance in Buxton.

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The AFO is conducting a survey to discover how much Public Entertainment Licenses cost in various parts of the UK.
Many thanks to all those who have already submitted the information either by post, fax, email or on their Conference booking form.

There are hundreds of you out there who still haven’t and it would be helpful to all of us to know. We have been invited by other associations and event organisers to take part in a campaign to inform the Government of the anomalies throughout the country. This is a prime example of how we can all help one another.
I look forward to hearing from you.

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Mrs Casey Music, the Matlock based Folk, Roots, Festival and Record Company has announced at least one vacancy in this famous team responsible for such events as Sidmouth International Festival and Eliza Carthy’s first album.

The ideal candidate would have some experience in arts administration, customer contact and ticket sales, together with a team spirit and a professional, yet pleasant personality. The applicant should be well-organised and able to deal with deadlines, work hard and understand the time and effort needed to meet targets. Mrs Casey Music is offering a salary circa £13,000 depending on experience, and is asking for a CV and a covering letter to

Folk, Roots and Acoustic music is enjoying a real boom and is reaching out to new audiences every year. If you want to be part of this expansion try contacting Mrs Casey Music.

AFO NEWS NOVEMBER 2000 – edited highlights

In the last AFO NEWS we asked members to get in touch and let us know how much their licence cost. These issues are under serious review, not only by local government associations but by the Core Cities Group and HM Government themselves. AFO can play a leading part in trying to get some kind of uniformity of entertainment licence but I need your assistance. To date we have the information in from Towersey Village Festival, Sidmouth International Festival, Trowbridge, Stainsby and Gosport. It is easy to do – just email or visit the web page Tell me what your licence costs and help the case to improve the current unfair situation.

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The festival scene seems to have done OK. More and more members have been getting in touch saying that their festival went well. Is this a signal of a boom in the outdoor event industry, the festival scene or the economy? Is it that we just put on top class entertainment in great venues? Is it the decline in the club scene or more people looking for live entertainment? Could it be young people getting involved because it is real music and turning their back on the pop world? Whichever one of the answers you choose and indeed you may choose others, there is no doubt that the events industry and the festival scene – especially in the acoustic music world – is not only increasing in volume but in quality and standards.

The AFO Conference to be held in Buxton, Derbyshire on 2-4 February 2001 will highlight a good number of these developments and concentrate on best value, best practice and delivering the goods. We have come a long way from the early folk festival scene, which were no more than expanded club gatherings, to the much wider events that we run today. Don’t miss the Conference, booking forms now available. If your form is not in this package, call the AFO office, see the web page, get in touch but don’t get left out.

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We have been in touch with all the Regional Arts Board in the UK and asked them to give us details of any funding that might be available for AFO members to attend Conference. Even though the cost of Conference is remarkably low budget and certainly best value, you might still need some assistance with accommodation, subsistence, travel etc. Wherever you live you should contact your Regional Arts Board (see contact sheet for details). The following are the ones that responded with very positive opportunities.

North West Arts Board – Individual and Company Artistic Development Scheme. The scheme provides for funding to artists, administrators and companies to attend training sessions.
West Midlands Arts – Go and See Awards. For performing and combined arts, individual performers, artists, promoters and programmes. To offer support towards attending conferences, seminars, courses and event throughout the UK and abroad.
Northern Arts – Training and Development Bursaries. The purpose is to provide bursaries to meet the cost of training undertaken by individuals and organisations. Funding can be provided for the cost of attending training courses and programmes where they are relevant to the training and development needs of the attender and organisers, such as conferences and seminars.
Yorkshire Arts – Training and Professional Development Scheme G31. For both individuals and organisations to attend conferences, including conference fees, travel and accommodation costs.
Eastern Arts – told us that “as part of our restructuring we are looking at delegating small grant provision to other agencies in the region and consequently it is very unlikely that Eastern Arts Board will be making such awards in the future”. I suggest that you contact Rosie Greenlees of the Arts Development Team, Eastern Arts nearer the time to establish whether such grants are available. Talk to Rosie. She didn’t say no.

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Our sister organisation in Ireland has just published Issue 3, Volume 1 of their new glossy newsletter Shenanigans. Our good friend Victor Ryan sends us a few copies and these are readily available for any AFO member who might want them. In the recent October edition, full details of the AOIFE Conference were available and a report on how that all went will be in the next AFO NEWS.

AFO NEWS JUNE 2000 – edited highlights

AN AFO SURVEY: Public Entertainment Licence – How much is yours?
We are constantly receiving reports in the AFO office about the cost of a Public Entertainment Licence (PEL). The costs vary enormously from one District Council to another. It is time to survey what these charges really are and join the lobby to uniform the PELs. The Government have recently published a white paper called “Time for reform. Proposals for the modernisation of our licensing laws” which is available from the Home Office (see contact sheet). However, the paper principally concentrates on licensed premises and not small, medium or large one-off events. We would like to start a chart collating information about the cost of PELs and would very much appreciate it if all AFO members and readers of the AFO NEWS were to send, phone or e-mail the AFO office with details of their PELs. The item will then feature at AFO Conference in February 2001.

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Everyone who attended Glasgow in January 2000 enjoyed The Celtic Connections Festival so much that they want to go back to experience more music, so we have shifted the Conference dates one week on to avoid a clash. It will now take place on 2-4 February 2001 in the Palace Hotel, Buxton, Derbyshire.

We have checked out the venue and it is a first class conference facility and hotel. There are plenty of bars and catering arrangements in the hotel and in the surrounding town. The railway station is next door, the bus station is nearby and the hotel also has a large car park.
Buxton is situated on the edge of the Peak District, south east of Manchester, south west of Sheffield and easily accessible from M6 or M1, and has only been cut off by winter snow once in 11 years.

Conference Accommodation
On your behalf 90 rooms have been put on reserve at the Palace Hotel. However, these do need booking soon. You will need to talk directly to Jenny Potts, Conference Organiser, Palace Hotel, Old Palace Road, Buxton, Derbyshire SK17 6AG Tel: 01298 22001
and make your reservation. The Palace Hotel should be able to provide you with a shared room and bed & breakfast for £35 per person per night with a £10 per person per night supplement for single occupancy. We have financial support from the local Buxton Authorities to subsidise the cost of the Conference so the delegate price will be kept to the best possible minimum.
But remember … budget for Conference now. Book your room as soon as possible as we expect to be full as your Conference continues to grow.

There are already plans to start on Friday night with “Earlybird seminars”. What do you want to talk about? Several members have already been in touch recommending ideas for seminar sessions and speakers. This is your chance to do the same. Tell us now what you want to talk about. Who you would like to see at Conference. Indeed, anything to do with the structure of the whole event. Get in touch now.

Funding to get you to Conference 2001.
We have been doing some research into the funding available from the Regional Arts Boards. They can supply assistance to get you and your colleagues to the AFO Conference 2001 without breaking the bank.

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In previous editions of AFO NEWS we have talked about the way the Folk Arts Network (FAN) had been working
towards encouraging the Arts Council of England to have a Policy for folk music. This is looking very close to the finishing line now and the only change is in its title.

Rather than write a Policy paper the Arts Council have decided that it should be called ‘Folk Music: A National Strategic Overview’. The sub title would be ‘A paper developed in consultation with the Folk Arts Network, Folk Constituency and the ACE/RAB Joint Officer Group’.

It should be published in early summer this year. Talk to your Regional Arts Board contact now to get your copy and work together on making this strategic overview a way of communicating between our own movement and your Regional Arts Board.

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In a recent edition of Sounding Board the magazine of Sound Sense, the voice of community music, Folk South West Director Eddie Upton was seen proudly being photographed with Cultural Secretary Chris Smith MP. Chris Smith was being given a full briefing on the work of Folk South West on a trip to the region for a meeting of the new Regional Culture Consortium.

Chris Smith has been involved in several folk events and activities since taking his post. I think the folk, roots and traditional music scene can look on him as a friend and supporter who is always interested to hear what our area of work is doing. Don’t hesitate to write to Chris Smith. Invite him to your festival.

Send him your publicity information. Let Chris Smith and your local politicians know that there are over 350 folk/roots and traditional music festivals in the UK every year. It gets noticed.

[Sound Sense, Riverside House, Rattlesdean, Bury St Edmonds, Suffolk, IP30 OSB Tel: 01449 736 287 Fax: 01449 737 649]

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PROFILE OF A FESTIVAL ORGANISER: Dick Dixon, Warwick Folk Festival Director
Born 1945 County Wexford, Eire
Christened Patrick Edward Dixon, also known as Patsy
Current Occupations Father to Joanne, Claire, Jessica, Patrick and Rory; Grandfather to Declan and Ben. Proprietor of Kilrot; Director of Warwick Folk Festival; Artistic Director of Bromyard Folk Festival; partner in All Sorted Event Management; Coventry Mummers; Coventry Folk Club Organiser, and part-time student at Higher Education.
Likes Beer (occasionally!), good company, good music, Mumming, Festivals, walking, listening to Radio 4, and visiting 92 year old grandmother in New York.
Dislikes Early closing time, pubs that stop serving food after 2pm, Coventry City getting beaten, and 90 minute demo tapes
with 3 songs on.

The first 10 years were spent in Ireland. I attended a Catholic School and for a short time this was held in an Orange Lodge. After liberating 200 hares the day before the National Hare Coursing Competitions in Gorey I was deported to England. My various occupations up to that date were farm worker, paper boy, abattoir assistant, altar boy, choir boy, school boy (occasionally!) and of course afterwards: deportee.
Arriving in Coventry, England with red curly hair, a broad Irish accent and the name of Patsy made the following months very interesting. After being moved to three different schools in as many months, someone happened to call me “Dick” short for Dixon and the name stuck.
I left school at 15 and had a factory job before joining the Army for 5 years, where I had the privilege of working with all three services.
On discharge, I moved back to Coventry and had a series of jobs including millwright’s mate, Bus and Truck driver. I then left to work in a factory where I met Joe Sweeney & Steve Nagle who took me to a music session one Sunday lunchtime in the Dyres Arms at Spon End, Coventry. The Fureys were playing and from then on I was hooked.
On the day that two of my colleagues from the factory were retiring, having completed over 30 years’ service, they were called to the Manager’s Office where they were presented with a cup of tea, and two biscuits. I decided I wasn’t prepared to wait another 35 years for a similar presentation. I resigned, went on the dole, so I could take a 6 months’ TOPPS course to train as a carpenter with the aim of becoming self–employed. This eventually led to setting up my existing business Kilrot as a dry rot, wet rot and damp proofing specialist. It was also the start of my involvement in folk music which progressed rapidly from floor singer, to folk club organiser, to festival director. This was only achieved with the help of many good friends, including Coventry Mummers. Fortunately for Morris dancing, I’m banned from dancing with any Morris team due to a total lack of dancing ability.
After doing some recent family research on my father’s side, I found that my proper surname should be Murphy (Spud!). And finally, I await the good Lord’s intervention to create the 8 day week so I can possibly have a day of rest!
Dick Dixon

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After discussions at the AFO Conference in Glasgow a group of AFO members recently gathered to consider guidance notes for
Festival Organisers and came to the conclusion that some basic pointers would be of use. It is hoped to complete the first
draft and publish them in an AFO NEWS later this year for consultation. This may be a topic for full debate at the next
AFO Conference, Feb 2-4 2001.
It was felt that the production of these guidance notes would be very useful, particularly for new and less experienced festival and event organisers. Such notes will also help the AFO offer an even more professional service for its members. As an organisation or as individuals we would not be committed to adopting a ‘Code’, but we are exploring the idea as a means of marking AFO events out as having a certain ‘quality’.
Dave Watmore of the Crawley Festival, Gerry Jackson of the Jersey Festival and Dave Francis from Edinburgh have agreed to co-ordinate the production of the guidance notes. It would be very useful if members could indicate to Dave, Gerry or Dave if there are specific topics for the notes that they would find useful. We would be particularly keen to hear from members who already operate in a business that uses a Code of Practice, Customer Charter or Charter Mark etc.

Risk assessment is a phrase used widely at AFO Conference and in many other Festival Organisers’ debates. “Risk Assessment?
We don’t do that it’s not for us”. A common statement usually born out of lack of knowledge and information about what it is.
Risk assessment actually applies to everyone who organises an event or a festival. We can now offer some guidelines for AFO members, using the vast experiences of colleagues, references to the Health & Safety Guide and other bodies. These are pulled together in a simple bullet point guide now available.
Risk Assessment is part of your planning. You should not ignore it and remember you have duty of care. Get your FREE copy now by contacting the AFO office.

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On a day-to-day basis in the AFO office we are working with, speaking to and encountering folk musicians and promoters; listening to music from the genre and generally being involved in the folk scene. In recent years the work of the folk/roots music scene has been not just popping itshead above the parapet but standing on the parapet shouting loudly and getting noticed.
On just one day in March the Musicians’ Union published a full-page interview with Kate Rusby and featured her on the front page. On the same day there was a review of an Eliza Carthy concert in The Times and a two-page interview with Kate Rusby in Demon Internet International magazine.
The examples of this high profile are endless. I won’t fill the pages here, but if you keep your eyes on the national press and media
circus you will notice folk music is not quite the old joke it used to be. RESPECT is at hand.

Since appearing at the AFO Conference, bright new young scottish band Malinky have got themselves on to the bill of Cambridge,
Sidmouth and many other AFO festivals.
“We launched our album in January at the end of Celtic Connections and it was the same weekend as the Association of Festival Organisers Conference. It was amazing timing as we were able to showcase the album in front of some very influential people and as a result we have been booked at Cambridge, Sidmouth, Tønder in Denmark and Killin” said Karine Polwart, lead singer of the band. Karine has also produced an excellent new song from the tragedies of the recent Balkan Wars shortly to be released on a new Roy Bailey album.
So coming to AFO Conference is good for talent spotting and certainly good for new young musicians.

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A Democratic Net?
As discussed at the AFO Conference, the Internet has opened up new channels of communication between people. None of us know what the effects on our events and/or organisations is of Internet publicity when it is outside or beyond our control.
A recent article in ArtsBusiness reports that whilst the Arts Council of Wales (ACE) has been sending out press statements celebrating its funding awards, and ‘patting itself on the back’ for opening council meetings to the public – those who don’t think ACW are doing such a great job are saying so at
This is one example of how the Internet is affecting us – and yet another reason for all of us to get on-line and find out what is going
on in cyber-space and get stuck in.
British Arts Festival Association (BAFA) has launched a newly designed web site. The site provides an Arts Festival calendar and directory for 2000 with contact details and dates of over 100 member festivals.
European Heritage Web Database (Belgium)
Across Europe, thousands of local associations, museums and volunteer groups preserve, interpret and present different types of heritage to the public. The European Heritage Web database project aims to develop an on-line resource where these organisations can promote themselves and their initiatives and which enables the exchange of information and experiences. A pilot version of the database is already available in six languages (English, German, French, Spanish, Italian and Dutch) and can be found at
Partners are sought from the cultural heritage, museums, cultural tourism and multimedia sectors to further develop the web database.
The project is being led by Conservare nv, established in 1992 to promote international co-operation and exchanges in the heritage sector.

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The British Federation of Festivals (BFF) have reported a successful day of shows at the Millennium Dome from “Merrie England” celebrations with morris men and maypoles, through to “Noel Coward’s England” with flappers and Lambeth Walkers, ending with “England 2000” mixing Robbie Williams numbers with a juniorbrass band, steel pans, sitar and tabla. The activity took place on 23 May 2000 and was organised by the BFF at very short notice. The BFF are also organising the Millennium Festival of the Amateur
Performing Arts, 2-5 November 2000 in Leeds. This is intended to be an international festival showcase for all amateur performers from over 200 festivals – from all over the UK, Ireland and the Channel Islands, Hong Kong, Sri Lanka and Zimbabwe. The Festival will start with a Music for Youth “Schools Prom”, and end with a great firework finale.

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The Showman’s Show will take place from 18-19 October 2000. The show is the most comprehensive exhibition of products,
services and entertainments for the outdoor and special event world. The setting is the The Showground at Chieveley, Newbury, Berkshire and will include a wide range of exhibitors and a continual programme of entertainment.

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Stereophonics, Boys of the Lough, Bert Jansch, Status Quo, Courtney Pine, Shooglenifty, Richard Wood, Kate Rusby, Billy Bragg, “Rootin Aboot Folk Festival Aberdeen” and now the new Arena Marquee in Sidmouth – Jake Loveday takes cover front of house sound in Sidmouth’s major new concert venue.
With a wide range of experience, (see above), Jake is fast becoming a new name on the PA desk’s of the English acoustic music scene. Recently featured in Events Industry Live magazine for the design and installation of a new sound system at the Aberdeen Lemon Tree Arts Centre, Jake is now working freelance and will take to the knobs and sliders at Sidmouth from 4-11 August. CD and interlude music could range from any of the artists named above.

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WOMEX 2000 – the worldwide music expo 19-22 October 2000
WOMEX is the biggest profession conference, trade fair and showcase event exclusively dedicated to world, roots, folk, ethnic, traditional and local music of all kinds. It’s the no.1 networking point for the world’s music. It takes place in Berlin, Germany and is as much a friendly meeting point as it is an important business opportunity loaded with essential contacts. It’s a great way to exchange and gain new ideas, be inspired and to recharge empty batteries.
To find out more contact: WOMEX 2000 c/o Piranha Kulture, Carmerstr.11, 10623 Berlin, Germany. and

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Ever since our first Conference we have generally agreed as members that we will welcome AFO festival organising members to
our various events. We normally do this by a ticket swap. Quite simply, if an AFO member contacts another they can acquire tickets for
each other’s festivals. There are one or two who have dropped out of the system for various reasons. For instance, some Local Authority organised events are unable to be involved. Others have decided to restrict the number of tickets they have got because
their venues are quite small.
However, we would encourage the ticket swap system as it brings other organisers to our events to swap ideas, help wherever possible and support each other. If you are unable to be part of the system we would be grateful if you could let us know so that we can inform other members. We hope each organiser sees the benefits and will join in.

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In mid-May, Radio 1 announced that Andy Kershaw’s show of folk/roots and world music was about to be dropped from the
airwaves. After 14 years of filling the gap and presenting a unique programme, he was not to have his contract renewed and so
“make way for new young talent”. This leaves the national BBC airwaves extremely short of folk/roots, traditional and acoustic
music, down to just one hour on Radio 2.

AFO NEWS MARCH 2000 – edited highlights

Glasgow Conference – a Celtic success
The AFO Conference was held in Glasgow at the end of January and was deemed successful by many who were there and our hosts Celtic Connections. The following is a brief report of some parts of Conference with facts, figures and information drawn mostly from the notes of Kath Aveyard, Cleckheaton Festival.

Welcome to Glasgow
The Conference was opened by deputy Lord PROVOST Bailie Jean Macey. She welcomed us to Glasgow and noted that this was the first AFO Conference outside of England. Glasgow hosted the Garden Festival in 1998 which gave the green light to many more festivals, conferences and generally raised the profile of culture in the city. Her kind words in welcoming us to Glasgow were followed by an introductory piece from the Chair regarding the value of festivals within the community.

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The Funding Climate is Changing
The first main session of Conference was with the Music Officers from the Arts Councils of Northern Ireland, Scotland, Wales and England. There are clearly many differences between the four regions in the way they operate but there are certainly funding opportunities for festivals in each of these geographical areas. The four officers then gave their points to Conference.

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Insurance Introduction
Steve Warner from Insurex Expo-sure, the AFO insurance company, gave Conference a very sharp reminder that event insurance in the new millennium is not only very important but crucial and absolutely necessary. It comes in several forms and Steve gave a short presentation on the following details:
(a) cancellation or abandonment, (b) equipment on site,
(c) legal liabilities, (d) participants cover.
The AFO has a special arrangement with Insurex Expo-sure for low budget full insurance and you are strongly recommended by the AFO General Secretary, Steve Heap, to secure Public Liability Insurance to the value of £5 million pounds.
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Our seminars included…

Hitting the Headlines Paul Saunders (Sidmouth Festival)
How Do You Do That? One of the strengths of the AFO Conferences has been the “How do you do that” sessions where delegates simply exchange questions and answers, views, ideas and experiences.
Signage (Steve Heap, Sidmouth and Towersey Festivals)
Funding (Marilyn Tucker, The Wren Trust)
Disabilities Discrimination Act.
Writing a Business Plan (Gerry Jackson, Jersey Festival)
Artists Contracts (Alan Bearman, Sidmouth and Towersey Festivals)
Customer Care (Paul Saunders)
We are not getting any younger! (Organisers over 50)
Steward’s Accreditation and Legal Obligations (Bob Davis,Barnsley College)
It never used to be that loud – PA at your Festival (John Eeles, Spadger Sound)

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and also the following:

WWW listings and links for AFO

This seminar arose out of the growth of websites of AFO members. Today, we expect to find websites for everything – whether we’re looking for higher interest rates, summer holiday or a festival for the weekend. But with so much information – what are the ways in which we, as festival organisers, can attract people through the haystack of the www to our festival sites? The group identified various methods: Listings / links pages, web rings, search engines and their directories, newsgroups/lists, and printed publicity. As promised at Conference, here is a bit more information on some of the above.

Listings / Links Pages: As in magazines, these usually take the form of a long list in alphabetical order giving information for quick reference. As it is in cyber space these lists can be made into links to help us travel around and take us somewhere new. These pose potential problems for Festival Organisers – how do we get more links pointing at our site? How do we keep people at our site once they’ve found it? The benefit of establishing a links page is that people might be encouraged to bookmark it and return time and time again. However, to do this means your site has to be well maintained, the links have to work, and it has to be easy to move around it. A good page should tempt people to check out the site that is ‘hosting’ the links page. And remember – if you host a links page –don’t forget to link your own events too.

Would you pay money for having a link in someone’s list? Many commercial businesses are willing to take £25-£100p.a. off you to establish a link to your page. AFO members are listed free on the AFO site ( If you are on a tight budget you need to make sure you use the free listings (which are colossal) properly. As promised at Conference, here are some starting points:

Search Engines / Directories
Search Engines help everyone find out what sites are out there in the ether. You need to get your events listed on as many as possible. Each Search Engine has its own directory structure (eg: Entertainment/Arts/Music/Festival/Europe/UK …). You need to become familiar with the different sites and work out where you want your listing to appear. Then read the submission rules and guidelines for each site. Here are some links to get to the submission pages of some of the major Search Engines.

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News Groups and List Serves

This seminar was a brief introduction to newsgroups, netiquette and list serves. Many delegates admitted they had not plunged themselves into the ether and played with newsgroups. As promised, here is a link to a site that tries to explain the basics. It also has links to many different newsgroups:

In addition, delegates were urged to practice using Search Engines (see above) to find out information on these topics too. Get yourself logged on to a Search Engine, and type in some or all of these ‘keywords’: newbie, beginners guide, newsgroups, list serves, netiquette. You will find hundreds of pages offered up to you to help you learn about them! If you have problems contact the AFO Office and we’ll try and help.

For Festival Organisers these new forms of communication raise many issues that are worth discussing. We can gain information from them about services, events, gossip etc. People advertise the fact your event/festival is coming up and they’re going to it. People give feedback about your event/festival. We can ask questions of a targeted audience. But is all publicity good publicity? Do we need to be concerned – or do we just ignore it? We don’t know who reads it? Do we answer back? Do we support each other?

So, get practicing and using the information out there. Let’s meet again and discuss progress in 2001!

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PRS – The Truth, The Whole Truth
The Conference was pleased to welcome again representatives from the Performing Right Society. Three Officers from the London office described the very basic system of collection of funds through licence fees, and how the distribution arrangements work. It was then reiterated that all festivals should be licensed. Delegates should note that a special arrangement for AFO members is in place, which in some cases saves several thousand pounds. It is also the case that the monies collected as licence fees from AFO Festivals are re-distributed back into the music from whence it came. This is quite different to the general pot system of distribution for the rest of the music business.

To be part of the AFO system you simply have to be a member and register with PRS. Again the AFO strongly recommends PRS licensing to its members. In order to help understanding and administration of festivals Rhys Evans has been employed as the PRS Festival Co-ordinator and can be found on the festivals hotline 0207 3064506.

Robin Pike brought to our attention the new PRS foundation of £1 million pounds per annum to distribute amongst applications from all styles of music, with particular attention to capital development, performance, promotion, new works and festivals. Here is an opportunity – it is yours to take. Application forms for the Foundation can be acquired from Rachel Neilson at PRS. The AFO NEWS editor (Steve Heap) is attending the launch of the Foundation and will get more information for members.

AFO have secured a licence fee of 2% of box office takings for the year 2000, as in 1999 (the normal rate is 3%). This is possibly the final year of the special reduction however, with assistance and full co-operation from delegates, AFO will continue to work on our behalf at keeping costs to a minimum.
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Performer and Event Management System
Phil Wilson, ex-Director of the National Festival of Australia, is now back in the UK, and since Conference has taken over as Chief Executive at EFDSS.
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The View From Scotland
Dave Francis led this session accompanied by Rob Gibson. It is estimated that there are 65 festivals in Scotland of which 11 are in the Highland and Island region. Some festivals have come and gone whilst others like Orkney have lasted for many years. Dingwall has been running for 19 years. The budgets for these events range around the £15,000 mark with some under £10,000 so indeed they are quite small. Some have exclusively featured traditional music, whilst others have a broad music policy. Their strength is in their uniqueness. The links between Scottish Festivals and the Scottish Tourist Board are more promising than in other regions of the UK.
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What We Thought Of Conference
Several delegates have dropped us a line telling us what they thought of the Conference. Accompanying this NEWS is a questionnaire, which I would be very grateful if you could fill in as soon as possible as plans are already underway for Conference 2001. Most have said thanks we have enjoyed it. Some have offered great ideas for the future and the things they liked and disliked about this year.

From Chard Festival “First of all thank you for such an interesting Conference. There was so much useful information (and as a first time delegate I liked the smiley face idea).”

From Footloose “Many thanks for the amount of effort you all put in to the AFO Conference. It does get better every year, especially with the link to Celtic Connections.”

From Middlewich Folk and Boat Festival “Just a note to say how much we enjoyed the Conference. It was great to meet and chat with other organisers. What value, what a venue, where next?”
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Conference Cost and Your Budget
Did you come to Glasgow? If you did, did you like it? Which bits didn’t you like?
If you didn’t come to Glasgow why not?

We are here for you and to serve you. If you don’t like what is being done we need to know so that we may change it. If you didn’t come to Conference, perhaps it was because you couldn’t afford it. However, going to Glasgow wasn’t as expensive as you think it might have been. Attending Conference clearly has a financial effect on your debit balance sheet, but it has a positive effect on the credit side from the amount that is there to learn, the contacts you can make and the information you can gather to help improve your festival’s income through funding, through tickets sales, through better deals. Budget for it in your next festival and talk to your Arts Board or Local Authority about funding your place.

The Conference will take place at the end of January 2001, venue yet to be announced but if you plan an approximate budget right now you will be able to afford to be there. Can you afford not to be?
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Membership Fees
Thanks to a grant from the Arts Council of England the administration costs of the AFO are being well supported. Members will have also noticed the last 12 months of NEWS has been of a higher quality due to this grant support.

Membership fees for the year to March 31st were £45 per festival. In order to balance our budget a small increase is required to keep up with increased printing, postage and telephone costs. For memberships falling due after 1st April 2000 and for the following 12 months to March 31st 2001 membership fees will be £47. Associate membership will be £60.
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There was more…
That’s all the notes from Conference, but of course there was lots more. There was great music, thanks to Celtic Connections. There were many more seminars and sessions on a wide variety of subjects including Festival Case Studies; Musicians’ Union; We’ve only been going a few years!; MODAL – What is it and what can it do for you, and finally Fireworks 2000 with a representative of Pains Fireworks. There was also good food and company. The Conference is the place to meet friends and colleagues who are doing what you are doing. Running festivals. Don’t miss 2001.
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Editor’s Note
My sincere thanks to Kath Aveyard of Cleckheaton Festival (30 June – 2 July) for her note-taking at Conference. A great deal of this Conference summary is her work.
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AFO Ticket Swop
Members will probably not need reminding that as members of the AFO we provide an opportunity to get free entrance to other member festivals. The system is quite simple, as an AFO member you ring your target festival and ask for the AFO Ticket Swop. There is no obligation to be part of this scheme and the festival has a right to restrict the number of free tickets they are able to give, which is quite reasonable, as I’m sure you will agree.

Recent correspondence from Dave Boddy at Ely suggests that they will only have a maximum of 10 AFO exchange tickets available, so if you fancy going to Ely (7th-9th July) then get in touch with Dave Boddy straight away.
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AFO Books To Borrow
The AFO is gradually gathering a large selection of reference books for its members. Recent additions include Crossing the Line, extending young peoples access to cultural venues. We have also just purchased a Guide to European Union Funding, the Arts Funding Guide and the Guide to UK Company Giving. If any members feel they can make good use of these volumes, give the AFO Office a call and we could make arrangements for them to be loaned to you.
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AFO NEWS JANUARY 2000 – edited highlights

Edinburgh Folk Festival Association Declared Bankrupt!
Dave Francis, Director of Edinburgh Folk Festival, has been running an Easter and November event for some years now. Artistically they have been very successful indeed, in particular the Easter event. Unfortunately when Dave took over the job of Director he also inherited the enormous losses created by previous Directors in the job. Try as he would to make profit to start chipping a few of those away, it has become impossible. At his recent November event, door takings were not up to the expectations and have thrown the company into further losses. The bank and the City Council have declared the Association bankrupt, putting Dave out of a job and leaving Edinburgh without a Folk Festival.

One might ask where the Scottish Arts Council and the Edinburgh City Council amongst others see this problem. There have been many examples throughout England and possibly in Scotland as well, of major arts organizations being bailed out with such fancy titles as re-stabilisation funds. In layman’s speak they were bankrupt, they were bailed out. How come the dearly loved traditional folk music of Scotland cannot fit into the same category? Surely the City Fathers, Scottish Arts Council and other powerful and wealthy bodies cannot see Edinburgh go by for a whole year without a traditional folk festival?
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AFO Conference 2000 – January 28-30 Glasgow
A new Millennium! Make it count for your festival Conference 2000
“I can’t get a decent meal and if I did would it be safe?” – ask MOCA
“Who will fund it?” – ask the Arts Council
“Where do I get my ticket?” – ask our Trade Stands
“How much is a licence to make it safe?” – ask Health and Safety Executive and Her Majesty’s Government
“Who do I complain to if the PA is too loud?” – ask the Sound Man

Some of the subjects being discussed at this year’s Conference. We’ll try to pack that and more into a two day Conference when the AFO marches to The Quality Central Hotel in Glasgow in conjunction with Celtic Connections. Our speakers include Lorraine Miller Patel from Health & Safety information all for our customers safety. The funding climate is changing, don’t be left out in the cold. Speakers from Arts Council of England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales.

It never used to be this loud. PA at your festival with John Eeles of Spadger Sound. PRS disguises come off – the A-Z explained. Top level management of PRS (Performing Right Society) will attend the Conference. Bob Fox from MOCA will explain where all the best mobile caterers come from. Paul Saunders will talk you through how to look after your customers. We have the latest technology in Ticket supply. The AFO’s special insurance deal will on a one-to-one if you need it. Bob Adams from Milton Keynes will look after new delegates and introduce them to a few friends in the AFO world.

The popular “How do you do that?” series will be revisited. Let us know what it is that you want to know. We’ll hold a special seminar for Festivals that haven’t been doing it very long. “We’ve only been going a couple of years, how do we …?” and as we went to press we were asked to consider “we are not getting any younger – who takes over from the older organisers?” And if you have enough energy at the end of each day, Celtic Connections will welcome you to a whole host of concerts including for early arrivals Thursday 27th January Savourna Stevenson, The Cast, Swäp, Blazing Fiddles and of course the world famous Celtic Connections Festival Club, which incidentally takes place in the same venue at the Conference itself. On Friday it’s Phil Cunningham’s 40th Birthday Celebration. Brian McNeill, Ray Fisher, Beware of the Dog, Sharon Shannon Band and on Saturday The Poozies Party with all the ex and present members of The Poozies gathering in one concert. Barriage from Canada, the Tartan Amoebas, Celtic Connections Ceilidh and for those who can hang on when the Conference is over, Sunday delivers Eric Bogle, Archie Fisher, Dick Gaughan, Brian McNeill and Tom Paxton or Wolfstone. Special priced tickets will be available.

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Well Done Gateshead Good Luck Folkworks
The Music Centre at Gateshead is now well underway and is proceeding to its building stage with a plan to open in October 2002. A lottery award of £43.81 million pounds from the Arts Council of England has put the final piece into thejigsaw. The new centre will provide a permanent home for Folkworks who were one of the partners and an amazing concert hall and range of workshop spaces, which will surely put Gateshead well and truly on the Arts map of the UK. If you would like a copy of the Music Centre, Gateshead’s newsletter, which is published from time to time.

The Music Centre, Civic Centre, Regent Street, Gateshead, NE8 1HH
Tel&Fax: 0191 276 2665

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Welcome “Folkus”
Alan Bell (Fylde Festival) has launched a new folk arts development agency for the North West with support from the Lancashire County Council, North West Arts and the Arts Council of England.
“As chairman of the steering committee, I am pleased to announce the formation of FOLKUS, a new agency in the North west dedicated to the development of Folk Arts within all social and ethnic communities in the region. In February 1999 the Lancashire Folk Arts network was established as a development vehicle for a Folk Arts Network within Lancashire. This initiative proved to be very successful, and has led to public demand for the franchise to include interested people and groups within the North West. Hence, the Lancashire Folk Arts network has been absorbed into FOLKUS.

FOLKUS will also be supported by the Flyde Folk Festival, the Chairman of the North West Folk federation, Buzz magazine, presenters of local radio Folk programmes, performers, artists and youth development agencies. The creation of FOLKUS in the North West will help complete the geographical map of Folk Arts Network throughout England.” A full artistic mission statement is being written to meet the demands of presenting Folk Arts with communities and this will be published, developed and implemented with the agreement of all the Arts groups involved.

FOLKUS will be staging three one-day tuition courses for beginners with interests in learning how to play the guitar or melodeon for example. These events will be staged in the Lancaster and Morecambe, Hyndeburn and Chorley areas in early 2000. Later the programme will be expanded into other areas and districts. FOLKUS will also develop a programme for visiting artists and musicians to tour rural areas in the North West. The creation of FOLKUS is a major step forward for Folk and Community Music Development in the North West.

Folkus and Fylde Folk Festival

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The Pop Code is launched as the Event Safety Guide
Guidance to ensure standards of health and safety at concerts and festivals has today been published by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) following extensive consultation with the music events industry.

The Event Safety Guide – A guide to health, safety and welfare at music and similar events (ISBN 0-7176-2453-6) will help organisers of everything from major outdoor festivals with a hundred thousand visitors to concerts for just a few hundred local residents. Many of the chapters can be applied to other events that, although not necessarily musical, share some of the same characteristics of concerts, such as millennium celebrations.

The new publication replaces the Guide to Health, Safety and Welfare at Pop Concerts and Similar Events. It has been updated to reflect the continuing development of best practice in the music events industry. The main changes have been to give more advice about planning and management and the guide also outlines how to carry out a risk assessment. It covers areas such as emergency planning, communications, crowd control, first aid, children’s areas and the use of special effects. New chapters cover camping, merchandising and amusements.

Around 200 representatives from HSE, the music events industry, Local Authorities (LAs) and the emergency services were involved in writing the guidance. It has been produced by HSE’s Local Authority Unit (LAU), as LA environmental health officers have responsibility for enforcing health and safety standards at most concerts and festivals. HSE inspectors are responsible for enforcement at LA-run events.

Brian Etheridge, Head of LAU, said: “A great many people helped us produce this guidance and the consistent message it conveys will help us all to work together to improve standards and to ensure that audiences can enjoy concerts in the knowledge that their health and safety has been taken care of.”

Lorraine Miller-Patel, project co-ordinator from the London Borough of Haringey, said:
“The advice in the guide has been tried and tested and it lays a firm foundation on which to organise health and safety at music events. It has been designed to apply to all types of concerts and festivals, not just large-scale pop concerts, and organisers of both large and small-scale events will find it invaluable.”

Dick Tee, from the Production Services Association, said: “The entertainments industry has really grown up over the last few years and the publication of the guide marks an important step towards developing the sector’s safety culture. It has been largely written by the people who understand the issues best – those working in the music events industry. ”

Melvyn Benn from the Concert Promoters Association (CPA), said: “The new guide follows on well from the first edition. The CPA played a full role in the consultation of both editions and it is our members who are ultimately responsible for implementing the guidance to produce safe concerts and festivals. This publication will help us all to achieve that.” Clearly AFO would recommend members to have their own copy of the Event Safety Guide – see contact sheet for details. However, if enough people want us to buy in bulk I would be happy to have a stall selling them at AFO Conference. Perhaps you could let us know.

AFO NEWS NOVEMBER 1999 – edited highlights

The Event Safety Guide – Health and Safety Guidance Launched
Guidance to ensure standards of health and safety at concerts and festivals was published by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) in October, following extensive consultations with the music events industry. The Event Safety Guide – A guide to health, safety and welfare at music and similar events will help organisers of everything from major outdoor festivals with a hundred thousand visitors to concerts for just a few hundred local residents. Many of the chapters can be
applied to other events which, although not necessarily musical, share some of the same characteristics of concerts,
such as millennium celebrations.

The new publication replaces the Guide to Health, Safety and Welfare at Pop Concerts and Similar Events. It has been
updated to reflect the continuing development of best practice in the music events industry. The main changes have been to give more advice about planning and management and the guide also outlines how to carry out a risk assessment. It covers areas such as emergency planning, communications, crowd control, first aid, children’s areas and the use of special effects. New chapters cover camping, merchandising and amusements.

Around 200 representatives from HSE, the music events industry, Local Authorities (LA) and the emergency
services were involved in writing the guidance. It has been produced by HSE’s Local Authority Unit (LAU), as LA
environmental health officers have responsibility for enforcing health and safety standards at most concerts and
festivals. HSE inspectors are responsible for enforcement at LA-run events. Brian Etheridge, Head of LAU said: “A
great many people helped us produce this guidance and the consistent message it conveys will help us all to work
together to improve standards and to ensure that audiences can enjoy concerts in the knowledge that their health & safety has been taken care of.”

AFO and Steve Heap contributed to the Small Events chapter, and Bev and Ray Langton to the Children’s Chapter.
Copies of The Event Safety Guide, ISBN 0-7176-2453-6, price £20.00, are available from HSE Books.

Further details of this are available in the full edition of the AFO NEWS, and will be discussed at the AFO Conference.
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Rusby goes to Mercury
At the end of the summer Kate Rusby was nominated for the prestigious Mercury Award for her album Sleepless.
On the night of the award ceremony at a London Hotel, Kate played before hundreds of big names from the rock,
pop, jazz and classical world and easily held her own in the pressured atmosphere. All 12 of the nominees were regarding by the organisers as winners. The ultimate top prize went to Talvin Singh but from the acoustic music world we can be proud that for a third year a record from our corner of the industry has been recognised by the big boys.
You, as organisers, can make good use of the title when you next book Kate Rusby (which you should!). You can
now say “Kate Rusby – 1999 Mercury Award Nominee”. Contact PureRecords for more news on Kate.
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As from July 5th 1999 MusicAlliance has a new name. This change heralds a new era for the organisation with a range of increased activities on behalf of our sector and exciting plans for MODAL2000, the convention for the UK’s non mainstream music industry, will be in Sheffield from 25-27 Feb. You may need to update your database with the new address (The Workstation, 15 Paternoster Row, Sheffield, S1 2BX) and telephone/fax numbers (Tel: 0114 279 6511 Fax: 0114 279 6522). The email remains the same –
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PRS and AFO – Developing Relationships
We are trying very hard to work with the Performing Right Society (PRS). It can be very confusing to try and solve some of the problems that members are experiencing and we have invited PRS to come to Glasgow Conference and answer
questions and make definitive statements.

Recent experiences include AFO member festivals being told that they should pay PRS but there is some doubt as to how
much. Others include a member Festival actually going to the PRS office to try and pay the appropriate amount to stay
within the law, only to be contacted later and told its payment was due.

Jim Thompson at Alnwick Festival said “I have had a long conversation with local inspectors but we are going to have to
pay them something even though 95% of our music is performed by visiting international groups. We have not included any
PRS potential fees in this year’s budget as this decision was too close to the event to raise admission costs. The major
parts of our events have free access and we have numerous spontaneous performances over which we have no control.
PRS expected us to be able to supply a running order of all the music played. If the musicians do not speak English I think
we will end up with a strange looking list of titles”.

Everybody is trying (on both PRS and AFO side) to do the right thing, but there are some bugs in the system.
Come to AFO Conference 2000 and help get these sorted.

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News from the Arts Council & National Lottery
Successor to A4E
The successor to Arts for Everyone (A4E), the Regional Arts lottery programme, has approximately £13 million pounds a year for the next two years and will be operated by RAB’s in conjunction with the Arts Council of England. There are no fixed application deadlines but applications are already in receipt of A4E funding will not be eligible.

Funds will support projects in each of the following areas:
• Access
• Education
• Production & Distribution
• Investment in Artists

The main features of the programme will offer grants of between £5,000 -£30,000 in any one year. Partnerships will require 10% in cash and grants can be for work within one or more regions. Applications will be assessed according to five national criteria, the quality of the activity planned, its financial viability, the public benefit offered by the project, the ability to
manage the project and the relevance of the project to regional priorities.

For full details and general information contact VAN or speak directly to your Regional Arts Board.
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Barnsley College Update
A seminar held at Holmfirth Festival illustrated ways in which the activities and tasks that people undertake at Festivals and events can be attached to existing qualifications or can contribute to the development of new qualifications. This may lead to specialist and appropriate training packs for specific festivals. The seminar outlined benefits of the scheme, and then went on to announce that a steering group was to be set up to plan the next step forward.
Here is the latest from Kate:
UPDATE Barnsley College has been very busy over the last year, building on the encouragement from last years’ Conference and subsequent enquiries at a variety of festivals throughout the summer.

1. The College is in the process of applying for accredited status through metier, in conjunction with AFO as the ‘industry link’.
2. Two ‘super stewards’ have been collecting evidence and portfolio building at festivals this summer in order to pilot the work and feedback so that a proper ‘launch’ will incorporate their advice and will have ironed out as many potential difficulties as possible.
3. An experienced, qualified D32/33 tutor who is also ‘a folky’ has been identified for verification and support purposes.
4. The College is collating the required support resources for the metier units and this task is mostly completed.

Barnsley College will be offering an updating workshop at the AFO Conference in January 2000. Any queries in the meantime can be directed to Bob Davis or Mark Pulman at Barnsley College on 01226 216216. The College will also be offering a Folk Pathway as part of the BA in Popular Music.

Kate Atkinson (Holmfirth Festival and Barnsley College)
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The National Centre for Popular Music in Sheffield of course!
Kit Bailey writes:
The National Centre for Popular Music (NCPM) opened in March/April 1999, accompanied by a great deal of publicity, locally and nationally, and a lot of anticipation in our city of Sheffield. The first live piece of performance programmed into the NCPM was a FUSE Records promotion of ‘The 2 Duos Quartet’. The acoustics of the room threw The 2 Duos, and what was meant to be an acoustic gig, became quite a complicated amplified one. After estimating we could sell 150 tickets we soon realised that 130 would have been more comfortable. Then the air conditioning had to be turned off so as not to interfere with the PA! Despite these problems, the gig was, of course, a huge success musically as ‘The 2 Duos Quartet’ is a sublime group. We cheered them back, for more than a couple of times, despite the heat!

There’s a palpable feeling from people who have visited the building that they hoped for more live music. There has been puzzlement as to why there is no dedicated space for this within its very impressive walls. The discovery that the downstairs foyer can be easily converted into a sit down or leap about concert area is encouraging. It’s successfully been put to the test and looks like it will be a good showcase area for the MODAL2000 Conference in Sheffield next February. Also, another upstairs exhibition space may lend itself to live music. It worked very well as a host for Billy Bragg’s live broadcast for BBC Radio 2 recently.

The NCPM has had its problems in attracting the visitors it originally expected, but it’s a youngster in the world of visitor attractions and still finding its feet. Live music is very possible in there and as always brings in a good crowd of music fans – the very people it needs to attract. The staff are keen and encouraging people to come forward. The people who have taken up the challenge have been enthusiasts and promoters of roots, folk, jazz and blues music. The pop music industry has appeared a bit sniffy about it in, but fans of real, popular live music are the ones that are recognising its potential and
trying things out.

I think it’s a perfect opportunity to show the world how popular our sector is by being actively involved in the National Centre for Popular Music. The connection is obvious by simply acknowledging its name and what our music is. Where else should popular music be? and what else should the National Centre for it be promoting?!

AFO NEWS JUNE 1999 – edited highlights

28th, 29th and 30th January 2000, Glasgow
In conjunction with Colin Hynd of Celtic Connections and Louise Mitchell of the Royal Concert Hall, Glasgow, we will stage the AFO Conference on 28th, 29th & 30th January 2000 at the Central Hotel, Glasgow on the last weekend of Celtic Connections. Excellent rates at the hotel and special price tickets for Celtic Connections are being negotiated. Top class national and international speakers are being approached. If booked early enough, easyJet and others can provide travel to Glasgow that, for some, will be less than their fuel cost to Warwick. Glasgow is not as far away as you think. Full details will appear in the next AFO NEWS but consider organising your travel plans now.

Talking point is a new piece in AFO NEWS. It gives the opportunity for somebody to stand on a soap box, say their piece on their pet subject and await an avalanche of response. So … who would like to take the rostrum first? Call now, or write, to book your spot 01629 827014.

Due out soon, the National Campaign for the Arts guide to the facts and figures related to all areas of Arts Policies is about to reach its fourth edition. Expanded to twice the size of previous editions, the fully revised version contains chapters on:

The National Lottery
DNH and Government spending
The Arts contributions to the economy
Arts funding in other countries
The Arts in education
Local government and the arts
Broadcasting and much more

Previous editions have proved to be essential reading for campaigners, policy makers, students, teachers, promoters and festival organisers.

… has been a worthwhile and well attended seminar session at Conference for a couple of years now. It’s time to introduce it into these pages. We would welcome questions in from members who just need that little bit of help in working something through. It is almost certain that somebody else in the membership will have had a similar problem and I’m sure someone will know the answer. So if you need some help on “how to do that?” drop us a line and we’ll see what we can do.

The HSE Guide to “Health & Safety and Welfare at Pop Concerts and other similar events” has moved along a fair pace since Conference. Delegates will remember that Penny Mellor and Lorraine Miller gave us a presentation on “How far the Pop Code had come in the 12 months since the revision began”.

It is now available on the Internet at You could download the whole thing if you have a month to spare or you could just take the bits you need. Contributions, revisions, amendments and corrections date is now passed and the HSE are busily collating all the information with a hope (we hope) of publishing sometime this summer. I (SH) have read a copy and made comment both on my own and on your behalf, in particular to the areas of toilet facilities, first aid, small events and one or two other things appertaining to Community Arts Festivals. There is no guarantee that the points I have made will be included but I know for sure that they will be considered. Thanks to all those who contributed and helped, we look forward to the finished job

The Arts Council of Wales has published an information guide to provide organisations with a starting point for counteracting the ‘Millennium Bug’. Contact Andrew Malin or Donald Henderson.

The Worcester Three Choirs Festival Fringe is appealing for volunteers to become involved in the 1999 event. Fringe organisers would like to hear from anyone with ideas and enthusiasm across Worcestershire, Herefordshire, West Midlands and further afield. Contact Lisa Ventura-Whiting.

The Association for Business Sponsorship of the Arts is now to be known as Arts & Business. (Not to be confused with the aforementioned magazine ArtsBusiness) The name change reflects an expansion in the role of the organisation to encompass all types of partnerships between business and the arts.

Ian Smith, Secretary of the Folk Roots and Traditional Music section of the Musicians’ Union, reported recently in ‘Musician’ that he had an excellent opportunity for networking the AFO Conference. Ian has also played a leading role in helping AFO establish a venue for the year 2000 conference in Glasgow.

PRS A Statement from the London Head of the Society that is trying to be loved
The following communication is from Jim Heath, the new Director of the Live Music Section of PRS with whom SH has recently had a meeting to discuss how PRS are organising collection of licence fees from Live Music Festivals. You run the event you need a licence – that’s the law.
“AFO members will have read about PRS in previous AFO newsletters. As you may know, PRS represents directly over 30,000 composers, songwriters and publishers of music of all styles and genres currently in copyright. There are similar organisations in most other countries around the world, and PRS controls a vast international repertoire through links with these. Promoters of music events, and proprietors of venues where music is played, require a PRS licence before music is performed. This then enables the promoter to present any music without infringing anybody’s rights. Copyright in the UK lasts for the creator’s lifetime, plus 70 years. This applies to original compositions, and to arrangements and adaptations of traditional music. It would be rare for any music event not to include some copyright music.

AFO successfully negotiated with PRS a licensing arrangement for events promoted by AFO members, which represented a reduction on the normal charges for a licence. The PRS team in London, supported by regional representatives and field staff, are running a campaign to license all festivals (not only AFO members) taking place this summer, throughout the UK. This involves checking venues, scanning listing magazines and local newspapers, as well as using the Internet. FO members should therefore make sure they apply for a licence well in advance of their events, to take advantage of the special rate, which for 1999 is 2% of admission charges, after VAT is deducted. PRS has an obligation to distribute the licence money to it’s members, fairly and accurately, so that the people whose music is played are rewarded adequately. This means that we need to collect details of the actual songs and tunes performed. Last year, as a direct result of efforts by AFO members, PRS was able to pay licence money using set list details completed at festivals, to writer-performers such as Kate Rusby, Dick Gaughan and Jez Lowe, as well as people whose songs were covered including James Taylor and John Martyn. To ensure the money you pay goes to the right people, we need you to get set list forms completed. These will be sent to you when you apply for a licence. It can be arranged for PRS staff to visit festivals to help and advise.”

If you have any queries about PRS please contact Jim Heath.

PRS have written to us to say that they collected £10841.25 from 9 AFO events in 1998. However, PRS only received the set details for 3 of those events. PRS has decided to use all the monies collected from AFO members over the 3 set details that it has received. While this is not ideal by any means, it does result in royalties going to folk and roots copyright-owners rather than into the ‘pot’ of revenue that will be paid over radio airplay. If any AFO members are not happy with this, remember to send in your own set details when paying PRS.

Try to get to the Newbury Showgrounds for the Showman Show on 20th and 21st of October 1999. More details from Lance Publications.

From a summary of registration forms we know the following. Note that some people obviously filled in several boxes being jack of all trades and small committees. However, it is interesting to note that the jobs covered by people who attended are as follows:

Festival Director – 38
Artistic Programmer – 23
Dance Programmer – 10
Concert Programmer – 20
Press Officer – 18
Infrastructure Manager – 14
Children’s Event Organiser – 15
Trade Manager – 5
Publicist – 14
Secretary – 9
Treasurer – 8
Promotion Officer – 6
Arts Officer – 6
Administrator – 21
Full Time Paid – 13
Part Time Paid – 5
Expenses Paid – 13
Volunteer – 16
My/Our Festival/Event is a Private Cº – 4
Registered Charity – 11
Organisation not for Profit – 23
Unconstituted Group – 4
National Government Funded – 17
Sponsored – 16
Music & Dance Event – 40
Visual Arts Event – 5

Other people filled in such things as jack of all trades, stewards co-ordinator, marketing officer, agent and in the type of festival charities, consultancy, promotional organisation, fairground rides. So who is coming to Glasgow?

September 10th 1999 ~ to be published in October 1999. This is your ‘NEWS’ – talk to us now! If you would like to advertise in future issues please contact the AFO Office.