Annual Conference

Mark your calendars & register today!

Early Bird Registration Deadline Extended to January 15, 2016

Group Registration Discounts Also Available!


Visit the FEO 2016 Conference Website today for more details and to register.


The festival and event industry is growing at a rapid pace in Ontario. There are more and more festivals competing for audience engagement. New festivals are popping up each year, existing festivals are developing at an alarming rate while others are struggling to survive. Keeping up with the times and differentiating your festival can be very challenging.

Have you thought about how you are going to stand out this year?
Join us as we celebrate your successes and work together to incorporate innovation, to take on new initiatives and strive to stand out. Through this year’s conference theme, we challenge event organizers, both the festival and supplier industry to “Dare To Be Different” as you grow your much loved festivals and businesses! 

With the industry united under one roof, this is your opportunity to discover what’s new and trending from leading experts. Share ideas, collaborate with colleagues, celebrate the successes of the past year and even shop at our Marketplace filled with suppliers ready to meet your product and services needs.

Check in often for conference updates – see you in Markham!


FEO’S Annual Conference

Festivals and Events Ontario annual conference is held in late Winter (just before festival planning timeframe) in any one of Ontario’s major cities across the province and boasts vibrant presentations, collaborative industry education, in-depth workshops and an outstanding opportunity to learn from and network with top industry professionals. The conference attracts 300+ festival and event professionals from across the province of Ontario. With a major tradeshow marketplace, an industry recognition Award Program and numerous showcase entertainers, the FEO Conference provides the perfect backdrop for industry professionals to soak up the excitement of a successful festival and event year gone by and prepare for another exciting year ahead!


Every year industry members eagerly anticipate the opportunity to relax, have fun and rub shoulders with other festival and event industry professionals. The annual Conference provides an ideal forum for delegates to network, exchange ideas, gather insights and hone skills. Interested in becoming a member? Click HERE or contact Debbie Mann for more details!

Conference attendees come from a wide range of environments across the arts, heritage, sports, food, music and many other platforms. Here is a sample of the industry professionals you might run into at our annual Conference:

  • Festival/Event Organizers, Event Planners and Producers
  • Industry Suppliers
  • Festival/Event Partner Associations
  • Representatives of Municipalities, BIAs and Chamber of Commerce
  • Representatives of Regional Tourism Offices
  • Non Profit Organizations
  • Festival/ Events Corporate Sponsors
  • Educational Institutions
  • Event Management Faculty, Students and Post Grads
  • Recreation and Parks Department Representatives
  • Convention and Visitor Bureaus
  • Community leaders
  • Key Volunteers

Keynotes Speakers

FEO takes pride in carefully selecting top industry professionals to lead dynamic presentations and in depth workshops. FEO’s Keynote Speakers are known for their ability to inform, educate and entertain conference delegates with the aim to motivate and energize professionals as they enter the upcoming festivals and event season. Interested in speaking at a FEO conference? Click contact Debbie Mann, Business Development Manager, for more information or to discuss options. 


Each year as a part of the Annual Conference, FEO provides the opportunity to performers of all genres to give a performance audition in front of hundreds of industry planners and organizers. These performance auditions are built into our special Showcase evening on Thursday and our Gala dinner on Friday night, providing entertainment for the delegates throughout the evening. If you are interested in learning more about the Showcase selection process, click HERE or contact Debbie Mann.   

Silent Auction

Every year as a part of the Annual conference, FEO reaches out to their members to donate at least one item to the FEO Silent Auction so we can continue providing excellent programming value for both the conference and regional educational and networking events. EVERY dollar raised through the silent auction is utilized towards educational initiatives, such as providing guest speakers at these events. Thanks to FEO members like you, last year’s Silent Auction raised over $9,000! If you are interested in learning more about the Silent Auction or need help to brainstorm, please click HERE or contact Nichole Fogarty.


As the largest trade show of its kind for festival and event professionals, FEO’s Marketplace promises to feature suppliers from a wide range of services and products. This is a one stop shopping opportunity under “one roof” so to speak, as vendors and suppliers are available to share and reveal industry products and services meeting almost every festival need. This is a great opportunity to engage, connect and collaborate in the sustainability and success of Ontario’s festivals and events industry!  Interested in purchasing a booth? Click HERE to download the form, or contact Debbie Mann for more details! 


FEO’s annual Conference is the place to be as each year, FEO rolls out the red carpet, so to speak, to acknowledge and recognize industry excellence through the annual Awards Program. These highly revered Awards and award winners reflect the best of the best in industry practices, the hard work and commitment of those who make the festivals and events industry in Ontario such a success. * If you are interested in learning more about the FEO’s Award Program, click HERE or contact Martha Cookson. 


FEO welcomes the opportunity to partner with any organization that shares an interest in the festival and event industry. Festivals and Events across Ontario span over many platforms such as the arts, heritage, sports, food and music. There is plenty of opportunity to narrow your reach within a variety of target markets. Creating a perfect forum for businesses to connect directly with a large number of industry professionals on a personal level, the conference allows companies to interact with major players within the festival industry, revealing valuable demographic and psychographic insights and enabling businesses to steer their brand visibility to a more targeted audience. FEO has a wide range of sponsorship opportunities for companies who want to be involved in our annual conferences.   Interested in becoming a sponsor at the FEO conference? Please download the Conference Recognition package HERE or the Award Program Recognition package HERE. Please contact Debbie Mann, Business Development Manager, for more information.  

FEO’s Past Conferences

2015 Niagara Falls: Let the Inspiration Flow is reflective of what we do! We share ideas, innovations, trends and best practices. All great ideas start with inspiration! That was the guiding principle in 2015

  • Chip Conley, Fest300, San Fancisco, CA “Finding Your Humanity Through Festivals”
  • Bernie Robertson, Centre of Excellence for Public Sector Marketing, Ottawa, Ontario “ Taking Control of Your Event Brand”
  • Stephen Fischer, Welland International Flatwater Centre, Welland, Ontario “International Sport Tourism – The Intersection of Sport, Festival & Attraction”
  • Shannon McNevan, Republic Live Inc., “Creating a Brand/Event that Transcends its Economic Impact for the Province, Region & Municipality”
  • Rebecca LeHeup, Ontario Culinary Tourism Alliance, Prince Edward County, Ontario “Embracing the Local Food Movement & Culinary Tourism”
  • Brent Barootes, Partnership Group, Calgary Alberta “What the Future Holds – The Trends and Opportunities for Corporate Sponsorship & Overall Life Growth”

2014 Richmond Hill: Excite & Energize theme speaks to the very nature of the Festivals and Events industry!

  • Hon. David Peterson & Saäd Rafi, TO2015 Pan Am/Parapan Am Games, Toronto, Ontario “The TO2015 Pan Am/Parapan Am Games! United We Play!”
  • Michael Kerr, Humour At Work and Canadian Speaking Hall of Fame Member, Canmore, Alberta “Putting Humour to Work for Less Stress and More Success!”
  • Chrystal Dean, 2014 WorldPride, Toronto, Ontario “Pride on a World Stage – WorldPride 2014 Toronto!”
  • Joann Flaminio, Boston Athletic Association, Boston, USA, Martin Kenneally, TO2015 Pan Am/Parapan Am Games, Toronto, Ontario and Jim Laurendeau, Calgary Stampede, Calgary, Alberta “The Show Must Go On! Overcoming and Preparing For the Unexpected”

2013 Mississauga: Celebrating Cultures Acknowledging the multicultural nature both of the City of Mississauga and the many ethnic/multicultural/diversity festivals and events that are staged annually in Ontario

  • Johanna Marsal, Moment Factory, Montreal Quebec ”We do it in Public!”
  • Warren Evans, Canadian Speaking Hall of Fame Member, Hillsburgh Ontario “A  Look at Where in the World the World is Going”
  • Rick Naylor, Accucom Communications, Toronto Ontario and Wendy Kane, Wendy Kane & Associates, Toronto, Ontario “An Invitation to the Nation-The 100th Grey Cup Festival”
  • Deanne Carson, Calgary Stampede, Calgary Alberta “We’re Greatest Together-100 Years of Community”
  • William O’Toole, EPMS, Sydney Australia  “Event Project Management System”
  • Shannon Chow, Emergency Rescue Academy , Toronto Ontario “Crisis Management-Planning, Writing & Implementing (plus emergency first aid & CPR)”

2012 Niagara Falls: Beyond Borders Acknowledging the cross-border locale of our host city and the ability of festivals and events to operate in all jurisdictions of the world..not just in Ontario/Canada

  • Scott Stratten, UnMarketing, Oakville Ontario “Event Engagement 2.0”
  • Kirk Hendrix, Indy 500 Festival, Indianapolis Indiana “A Career of Memories”
  • Becky Genoways, On the Waterfront Festival, Rockford/Chicago, Illinois “ Sponsorship Revenue Programs”-CFEE eligible
  • Paul Gudgin, Festival & Event Management, Dunfernline Fife/Edinburgh, Scotland “Building Successful Festivals”
  • Sara Jones, Disney Institute, Orlando Florida (Disney’s Approach to Customer Service”
  • Kelven Tan, Play Festivals & vents Inc., Coquitlam/Vancouver British Columbia “ The Matrix of Programming a City’s Lifestyle”

2011 Markham: Welcome to FEO’s Fabulous 2011 Conference Acknowledging FEO’s 25th anniversary (1987-2011)

  • Brent Barootes, Partnership Group, Calgary Alberta “Sponsorship in 2011 and Beyond-The Top Trends”
  • Andy Nulman, Just for Laughs Festival, Montreal Quebec “ Confessions of a Festival Lifer”
  • Ira Rosen, EOL Inc., Point Pleasant New Jersey “Administration/Management-CFEE eligible”
  • Brent Barootes, Partnership Group, Calgary Alberta “Proposals That Sell”

2010 Ottawa: Spring into Action Acknowledging Spring, the time when our industry is making decisions/getting things done/executing strategies for its individual festivals or events

  • John “Mitch” Dorger, Pasadena Tournament of Roses Festival, Pasadena California “ I Didn’t Know Then, But I Wish I Had: Lessons Learned from a Decade of Leadership Among the Roses”
  • Bruce Erley, Creative Strategies Group, Bloomfield/Denver Colorado ”Sponsorship Sales, Service  Success-CFEE eligible”
  • Penny Reeh, Indigo Resource Group, Fredricksburg, Texas “Marketing/Media Relations-CFEE eligible”
  • Mike Kujawski, Centre of Excellence for Public Sector Marketing, Ottawa Ontario “Social Media”

2009 Burlington: Growing into the Future Acknowledging environmental/greening theme (organic) and how our industry continues to evolve/grow

  • The Drum Café, Toronto Ontario “ Collective Drumming/Team Building”
  • David Chernushenko, Ottawa Ontario  ”Canada’s Environment-Living Lightly”
  • Sylvia Allen, Allen Consulting, Holmdel New Jersey “Advanced Sponsorship: Seven Sponsorship Steps for Weathering the Economic Storm” – CFEE eligible
  • Becky Genoways, On the Waterfront Festival, Rockford/Chicago Illinois “Managing Non-Sponsorship Revenues”
  • Jo-Anne St. Goddard, Recycling Council of Ontario, Toronto Ontario “Greening Your Event-Zero Waste Community Event Toolkit”-CFEE eligible
  • Paul Tobey, , Brantford Ontario “Social/Online Marketing-CFEE eligible”
  • Tom Bisgnano, (ex) Disney World Parks & Resorts, Orlando Florida “ Festivals & Events From a Kid’s Point-of-View: Panel”-CFEE eleigible