On Sunday-Tuesday, November 22-24, professional festival organizers from around the country are converging at the Fess Parker DoubleTree Resort to discuss the state of the fest biz. On Thursday, November 5, 5-7 p.m., co-organizer Laurie Kirby is hosting a free public event at the Wayfarer Hotel (with Lagunitas beer!) to let Santa Barbarans know why they should attend. She answered some questions in anticipation.

What is FestForward? FestForward is a conference and convergence of music/film/food/wine and beer/other genre festivals that will examine the industry in areas such as new technology, sustainability, innovation, safety, and collaboration. The discussion will focus on solutions, trends, and resources in the marketplace and how to improve the fan/attendee/talent experience.

Why should everyday Santa Barbarans want to attend? Have you ever wondered what goes on behind-the-scenes at a music/film/food and wine festival? We are pulling back the curtain so those who wish to work for or volunteer for a festival can meet icons from SXSW, Coachella, Lollapalooza, San Francisco Film Festival, Vans Warped Tour, L.A. Food & Wine, and more in one spot!

Is the events industry a viable career? Absolutely. Many festival workers travel and work at different festivals, and the individuals that come to FestForward make a living running these events.

What makes a fest great? Establishing an authentic identity, proper organization, adequate funding, quality programming, great staff, and volunteers.

What is your favorite fest? I’ve really enjoyed Outside Lands, the Toronto International Film Festival, and Casa Pacifica. As for my favorite that I ran, I loved running the Newport Film Festival. It reminds me a lot of Santa Barbara as a beautiful coastal town.

Do you have a fest nightmare? So many … where do I start?

See aboutfest.com.


UCSB’s NRS 50th Anniversary Celebration culminates with a harvest dinner with Chef Jeff Olsson of New West Watering, Zaca Mesa Winery, and renowned nature photographer Rick Rosenthal on Saturday, November 7, 3-9 p.m., at Sedgwick Reserve. See nrs.ucsb.edu/events.


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