The Power of Networking

"There's No Better Place to Connect than at WFEA's Annual Conference"

Our members say that the No. 1 reason why they belong to WFEA is to learn and to network.

Social networks like Linkedin are useful, but they are no substitute for direct personal connnections and the kind of history you develop with people when they have known you, when they have learned to trust you, and when they have come to value the relationship.

Yes, networking can be a power tool, and there’s no better place to connect than the Washington Festivals Events Association Annual Conference, which will be April 3-5 at Red Lion in Bellevue.

You will have the opportunity to mingle closely with some of the top festival event professionals and suppliers in the country. And the great thing about our industry? Most of us don’t compete with each other, so everyone is willing to share ideas that worked for their festival and event.

You can grow your network considerably if you attend the 26th annual WFEA Conference. You not only will be able to learn from people during educational sessions at the event, but also to develop a relationship where you can pick up the phone or email them to ask questions and share ideas way after the conference is over.

Red Lion , Bellevue WA

11211 Main St
Bellevue, WA 98004

Reservation Counter Call Center: 

(425) 455-5240

Reserve Online:
Washington Festival and Events

The Group code is WAFE0402

REGISTER NOW: 2019 WFEA Educational Conference


(Requires Separate Entry)

Wednesday, April 3, 2019


9:00 a.m.–4:00 p.m.

  • Sponsorship Marketing Plan
  • Outstanding Events and Leadership Sell Sponsorship
  • Researching Potential Partners
  • Benefit Packages
  • Activation and Being Creative
  • The Keys to Successful Sales
  • Sponsorship Fulfillment
  • How to Keep Sponsors Coming Back

Instructors: Mike Berry, Kentucky Derby Festival; Melissa Jurcan, Compass Group, USA; John Thorburn, Bold Hat Productions; Paula Beadle, Caravel Marketing




Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Affinity Sessions

4:00 - 5:45 PM

These sessions are held for professionals on a specific topic 1.75 hours. Held in a roundtable setting, attendees can pick their topic and ask questions in an informal setting. It’s a great opportunity to get to know people in your area of expertise.

  • ASSET (A Seattle Special Events Team): David Doxtater, Beth Knox, Co-Chairs
  • Sponsorship: Paula Beadle, Caravel Marketing
  • Music Events: Erika Olsen, Winthrop Rhythm & Blues Festival, Portland Waterfront Blues Festival
  • Performing and Visual Art Events: Jon Stone, CEA Partners
  • Parks and Recreation Departments: Mark Hendrickson, City of Kent
  • Healthy Active Lifestyle Events: Jared Loranger, Fizz Events; Tom Anderson, AndEvents, Inc.; Patty Swedberg, Raise the Bar Events
  • Marketing/Social Media: John Thorburn, Bold Hat Productions
  • Event Production: Mike Prebezac, Event Management Services

NewComers Session

5:30 - 6:00 PM

First timers are urged to come and meet WFEA Board members and learn how they can best learn from the conference experience.

Opening Reception

6:00 - 8:00 PM

Thursday, April 4, 2019

Opening Keynote

9:00 - 10:00 AM

Deal or No Deal: Mike Berry, CEO, Kentucky Derby Festival

The loss of a major sponsor can be challenging to the financial well-being of any event. However, the impact isn’t just measured in sponsorship fees. We will discuss a case study of how the Kentucky Derby Festival replaced an event sponsor while ensuring a viable future and reassuring a nervous public.

Professional Development SEssions

10:15 - 11:15 AM

The Nuts and Bolts of Building and Strike

Mike Prebezac, Event Management Services

Learn the basics of how to set up your event at the lowest possible price. This session will also delve into what type of vendors you should use in order to make your event efficient and safe.

Let’s Make a Deal

Mike Berry, CEO, Kentucky Derby Festival

Just like the popular game show, sponsorship activation can be a game of negotiation, strategy and choices. Should you keep providing the benefits you offer to a sponsor or entice them to trade for what’s behind Door Number Two?

Update on Liquor and Cannabis Laws for Festival and Event Organizers

Enforcement Sergeant Steve Telstad, Lt. Steve Grassfield, Officer Kevin Russom, and Licensing Customer Service Manager Beth Lehman

Here what all event organizers should know about this very important subject. The WSLCB Licensing and Enforcement Divisions will be educating you on having safe and legal events with alcohol. They will cover types of licensing and permits, ways to obtain and sell alcohol, and relationships with alcohol industry members at events. Although cannabis can’t be sold at festivals and other related events, they will also discuss the new world of cannabis related events such as trade shows.

The Greening of Events

Melissa Johnston, Waste Connections of Washington, Sally Fisher, Clark County

A growing trend is that event attendees are becoming more aware of the environment. Learn the many ways on how you can green up your event.

NEtwork Supplier Lunch

11:30 AM - 1:30 pM

Building Connections – Expo Speed Dating

Discover the latest trends in our industry with many top event suppliers and producers. Each table at the lunch will be hosted by a vendor/exhibitor, who will distribute materials and discuss the merits of their product with fellow table members. During the four course lunch, each table will be visited by four different suppliers, who will discuss four different topics.

Professional Development SEssions

1:45 - 2:45 PM

Pass the Pepper: Spicy Ways to Increase Food and Beverage Sales

Jody May, Festivals Inc.

Food, along with boutique spirits, wine and Craft Beer focused events have taken over the festival landscape in the past 10 years, and with that, have created an increased level of competition that currently challenges major festival producers to step up their game, stay relevant and find new and creative ways to increase food and beverage sales. It takes more than just great food. Join Jody May, President, and Trudi Webster, Media Director and Culinary Liaison from Festivals. Inc. to hear about current trends, social media and marketing, and the value of how local knowledge and partnerships can assist to ‘spice up sales,’ at your festival. 

Website Visibility

Jon Stone, CEA Partners

Explore SEO tips and tricks that can help you better connect with those who are searching for your product or service. Learn about best practices including link-building, site speed, long-tail keywords and image optimization. Discuss the shifting role of websites in an increasingly social environment.

The Volunteer Staff Partnership

Trevor Lane, WSU Ferry County Extension

Volunteers are an essential part of festivals and events. There are three evidence-based aspects to supporting festival and event volunteers in your community: recruit, reward, and retain. Learn how these aspects can improve your festival and help volunteers feel engaged and appreciated.

Events and Municipalities

Chris Swenson, Film + Special Events Program Manager/Seattle Special Events Committee Chair

Professional Development SEssions

3:00 - 4:00 PM

Insurance – Are You Ready?

Dale Johnson, Francis L. Dean & Associates

This session will cover what to insure against, and how to apply for coverage and get the best deal. Here ideas on walk-throughs, golf carts, certificates of insurance, volunteers and several other subjects.

Practical Project Management

David Doxtater, The Workshop

One of the Northwest’s leading event producers will give a practical approach to planning and managing a complex live event project. Learn how to budget, develop a team, track work flow and milestones, document a production plan, and how to train and manage an onsite team.


George Sharp, Rural Program Manager for the Thurston Economic Development Council Center for Business and Innovation

This session is both for you as a professional and for your festival or event. You will learn ideas on how to be seen as leader and expert in your field and community, as well as how to have your festival or event standout from the 1,000’s of festivals taking place annually. Learn how the National Lentil Festival was in the New York and L.A. Times in its second year of existence in 1990 and how the Tiny Town of Bucoda, Washington and their first year Boo-Coda Spook-Tacular Festival received an estimated $100,000 of earned media in 2018, including a 2 minute segment on King5 News. 

Festivals and Events on the Microsoft Campus

Microsoft Panel led by Melissa Jurcan, Principal, Compass Group, USA

Some of the best festivals and events in the state are produced on the Microsoft campus. Here’s the opportunity to learn many new ideas – hundreds of events are created for business reasons, and for employees and their families.

Professional Development SEssions

4:15 - 5:15 PM

Building a Marketing and Communications Plan

John Thorburn, Bold Hat Productions

The success of every event hinges on an effective plan to attract guests or ticket buyers. Learn how to develop a comprehensive marketing and communications plan and build your own playbook to increase engagement and grow attendance.

4 Easy Steps to a Waste-free Event!

Heather Teegarden, CSEP, Natural Resources Outreach Programs Coordinator, WSU Snohomish County Extension

Did you know that converting your event to "waste-free" can actually save you money? Join this fun and engaging session to learn the steps to success for planning your next event or festival. We will cover the benefits, the challenges, and the solutions that make it possible, with real event examples and templates that you can use for your next event! New recycling rules will be covered too!

Why We Sponsor What We Do

Corporate Sponsorship Representatives

Erin Combs, Head of Marketing, Lyft

Come hear from this expert panel who will share how they partner with events as a tool to connect to their audiences, to support and become more rooted in the community, as a marketing vehicle and more. We’re covering the sponsorship cycle with them – from prospecting, developing relationships, activation and through recapping.

Learning From Your Mistakes

Craig Cooke, Pacific Rim Talent

As event organizers we all make mistakes. Look at these mistakes as opportunities to learn a better way. Craig will share some of his blunders and then discuss the lessons learned and the remedies moving forward. Blunders include incorrect placement of vendor booths as they pertain to water drainage, fire lanes, power lines, and facing the sun. Handling signature gatherers, service animals, and public nuisances. Placement of Port a Potties and generators in relation to the neighbors.

WFEA AWards and Auction Dinner

5:45 PM

Help us recognize the best of our industry, as we welcome new inductees into the WFEA Hall of Fame, the State’s Volunteer Year, and the winners of the Summit Awards, which embodies the best of the festival and events industry.

Friday, April 5, 2019

Professional Development SEssions

8:30 - 9:30 AM

Measuring Economic Impact

Scott Nagel, Dungeness Crab & Seafood Festival, Port Angeles

The need for information about the economic impact and demographics of the audiences of festivals and events has never been greater. Festival management is serious business, but sometimes it’s difficult to persuade government, sponsors, and business, that a festival contributes to the economic vitality of your community. Learn the basics of economic impact and demographic studies, what they can do for your organization, and how this can answer those LTAC grant questions required by the State.

Operations From Vision to Reality (2 hr., 15 minute session)

Becky Genoways, Genoways Event Management, Rockford, IL

Operations contributes significantly to the success of any event or festival. This session covers four main elements of operations: site selection and design, event infrastructure, support services, and planning and implementation tools. Successfully planning for these essential operations elements can make or break an event and the planning tools provided will make the event planning and execution appear seamless.

Developing Programming for Your Event

Peggy Doering, Spokane Valleyfest

Whether you are a new or old event, programming needs to be constantly refreshed. Learn how to get new ideas in order to keep up with your audience’s expectations. Also discover how to utilize community resources to beef up your event.

Working With the Washington Tourism Alliance

Mike Moe, Managing Director, Washington Tourism Alliance

2018 marked a significant milestone for Washington’s tourism industry, as the legislature unanimously supported legislation to reestablish statewide tourism marketing. Learn what’s underway, what’s planned for the future, and how events can benefit.

Professional Development SEssions

9:45 - 10:45 AM

Beginner’s Panel: Ask the Experts

Bruce Skinner, WFEA, moderator; David Doxtater, Workshop Events, Beth Knox, formerly of Special Olympics USA Games

Bring your questions to this seasoned panel of event producers. Between them they have over 125 years of experience!

Event Disaster Management

Robert Ezelle, Washington State Emergency Management Director

Robert Mitchell, Director of Community Disaster Medicine

Events will never be disaster-proof, but they can be disaster ready. Learn how you can develop a program that will provide for safety for community leaders, first responders, bystander/victims, as well as festival performers and the audience. 

Lessons Learned at Big Festivals

Greg Flakus, GF Strategies, Bonnaroo, Coachella

Many festivals sometimes say we are small and we don't have the same challenges as big festivals do. Come hear Greg Flakus from GF Strategies share with you what he has learned from working with three of the largest music festivals in North America, and two of the most successful in the world. Bonnaroo, Coachella, Outside Lands. Greg will share his findings from having worked with these festivals as they have evolved in the past five years. He will share how these festivals have managed to adapt to the attendee and create new concepts every year.

Closing Keynote

11:00 AM - 12:15 PM

Ten Steps to Maximize Your Revenue: Becky Genoways, Genoways Event Management, Rockford IL

In an industry that is constantly looking for new revenue streams and how to maximize current streams, this is a “Top 10” checklist of critical areas to revisit at your event for increasing non-sponsorship revenues.

REGISTER NOW: 2019 WFEA Educational Conference


Bruce Skinner, Executive Director
Washington Festivals & Events Association
Mailing Address
1015 Georgiana Street
Port Angeles, WA 98362

Membership Rates

We offer 3 different membership rate levels. For students, individuals and organizations - each based on annual budget.

$95 / $125 / $195

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