Link to presentations and materials presented during the event:


Keynote: William Brandt Wood, Pilgrimage Music & Cultural Festival (Franklin,TN) Focus: “Program Development: Designing & Creating the Event Experience”

Wood has over thirty years of experience in creating, developing and operating iconic music venues, restaurants and festivals that has currently culminated to the successful and popular Pilgrimage Music & Cultural Festival in Franklin, Tennessee.

Pilgrimage Music & Cultural Festival was inspired by friendship, history, experience and the desire of Franklin resident Kevin Griffin (former front man of Better Than Ezra) to create an authentic music festival.

Partnered with lifelong buddies Brandt Wood & Michael Whelan, the trio formed and established what has now grown into six stages with heralded lineups year after year, an expanded cultural focus, a popular Lil’ Pilgrims program, and the Americana Triangle Experience that showcases a collection of municipalities from the rich music heritage of the South.

Find out more about Pilgrimage and our special guest Brandt Wood at

Other Amazing Sessions/Topics

Lori Ducey, Arkansas Cornbread Festival (Little Rock, AR) Focus: “Putting the COMMUNITY in Community Events”

Lori Ducey, director of the Arkansas Cornbread Festival, takes an inclusive and creative approach to engaging the community with their award winning annual event. Featured in AAA Southern Traveler Magazine and named one of the Top 5 Fall Festivals for Food Lovers in the United States by Forbes Magazine, Lori and her team of organizers incorporate all facets of their community into the festival by forming unique and strategic partnerships that benefit everyone. Find out how you can utilize partnerships in your area to literally put the community into your community events.

Martha Londagin, Start Up Junkie (Fayetteville, AR) Focus: “Engaging Your Local Business Community for Festival/Event Day Success”

Often times festival or major event coordinators will hear massive grumbles from local businesses that don’t perceive that they “get anything out of” the festival weekend or event day except for the headaches caused by traffic issues, disrupted store parking, and lowered store sales as the locals supposedly stay home or leave town. Martha Londagin, Executive Consultant for Startup Junkie, speaks about how she has worked with two towns in Arkansas to develop ideas for local businesses and public schools to get involved and feel a part of two attendee-target specific, local festivals that require some creativity to get the whole town involved. As festival and event organizers, it is our responsibility to project AND create a positive enthusiasm for the event day or festival weekend and to realize not everyone may think the event is wonderful… so we must show them it is!

Mary Margaret Satterfield, Toad Suck Daze (Conway, AR) Focus: “Sponsorship Structure & Benefits”

Conway Chamber of Commerce, producers of the world famous Toad Suck Daze festival, share their experience in productive and effective sponsorship structures and benefits from throughout the years. Approaching businesses and individuals regarding partnerships to make your events possible can be intimidating; learn some tools to help you understand your event’s worth and how to create packages that are beneficial to all parties involved.

Travis Smith & Robert Busiek, Crowne Group (Fayetteville, AR) Focus: “Entertainment/Talent Booking in a Modern Market”

The Crowne Group joins AFEA for the 37th Annual Conference & Trade Show to highlight what can be a component of festival and event planning that is sometimes tricky and difficult to know where to start: booking talent and entertainment. The Crowne Group is an event operations, management, and marketing group based out of Fayetteville, AR, with operational oversight of 280+ concerts and 30+ events annually. The group oversees contract bidding, operations, and management of vending in a multitude of events from concerts, comedy, and performance to large-scale festivals. The Crowne Group is owned and led by Brian Crowne, owner of George’s Majestic Lounge and Vice President of the Walmart Amp. Crowne Group team members Travis Smith and Robert Busiek, who oversee business operations, talent buying, artist management, and event marketing for Crowne Group events, bring 30+ years of combined experience in the industry to this session to help festival and event planners gain confidence in the process of buying local and national talent for their events by being better equipped and better educated on current industry standards.

Jack Moyer, 1886 Crescent Hotel & Basin Park Hotel (Eureka Springs) Focus: “Developing Business Plans for Events”

Behind the scenes of firework finales and entertainment headliners, a truly successful event is operated much like a well-run business. Jack Moyer, General Manager for the 1886 Crescent Hotel and Basin Park Hotels instructs how to construct a business plan that will help the execution of your event work more like a well-oiled machine and arrive at your bottom line in a structured manner. As an industry that strives for excellence, a business plan for your event could be a must!

Arkansas Department of Parks, Heritage & Tourism Research Section Focus: “Gauging Your Event’s Impact with Surveys, Evaluations, & Economic Impact Studies”

Having a grasp on the tangible impact an event is having on its immediate and surrounding community can be essential for the event’s growth and longevity. It can also be hard to know where to start deriving the numbers needed for such a study. Economic impact studies can play an effective role in recruiting and retaining volunteers, sponsors, vendors, and local business partnerships for events. The Tourism Research section of the Arkansas Department of Parks, Heritage, & Tourism has taken great strides in collecting data from around the state and assisting events with putting value to their local impact, regardless of if hotel room numbers are part of the equation. They join us to educate on how their department can assist with these processes and steps that events can take to start gathering the necessary information to derive these valuable numbers.

Glenn Crockett, Dave Creek Media (Conway) Focus: “Top 10 Ways to Utilize Digital Marketing For Events”

Are you maximizing potential for digital platforms that are available to you for marketing your event to potential attendees such as: email campaigns, custom social audiences, websites, and effective use of video? The team from Dave Creek Media helps attendees learn ways to easily implement traditional, social, and creative marketing mediums to help cover the gaps in current marketing campaigns.

Sgt. Jeffrey Plunkett, Little Rock Police Department Emergency Management Focus: “Emergency/Risk Management”
Construct and compare event action plans in this session led by the Emergency Management Division of the Little Rock Police Department. This session will also include case studies and updates to threat assessments to consider while planning for your event.

Jacqueline Wolven, Main Street Eureka Springs Focus: “Wayfinding: Make Sure Your Attendees Know Where To Go”

Having presented on this topic around the United States and other areas of the world, Jackie Wolven joins us to help spread her motto of Do Good Work through Wayfinding for events. It is essential after all of the work event planners put in to planning logistics that attendees know where to go. Labeling bathrooms, aid stations, food courts, specialty vendor sections and other parts of an event can ensure that attendees have an enjoyable experience as well as the businesses and organizations participating resulting in maximum foot traffic. Jackie presents ideas and tactics for practical production of wayfinding and mapping materials while staying true to your brand.

Focus: “Food, Beverage, & Other Vendor Programs”
Lunch panel featuring representatives from the Main Street Food Truck Festival, Toad Suck Daze, & more.

Focus: “Getting The Most Out of Your AFEA Membership”

Don’t let membership benefits slip by you! Join us for a delicious breakfast provided by Ben E. Keith foods and hear how you can get the most out of you membership with AFEA. We want our organization to be a blessing to the events and businesses in Arkansas and utilizing the benefits that are available to you through membership is something we want to make sure you know how to maximize. AFEA board members and association members will highlight all of the ways you can use your association membership to your advantage.

SCHEDULE (subject to change)


While the bulk of events will take place at the Basin Park Hotel, there are blocks of rooms for this event at both the Basin Park and the Crescent Hotel. When booking, mention the AFEA rate of $93/night.

Basin Park Hotel: (479) 253-7837 Crescent Hotel: (855) 725-5720