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FestForums Salutes “The Year of the Woman” at its Upcoming Santa Barbara Conference, November 14-16


Guest performers and speakers include Lifetime Achievement Award honorees Michael McDonald, Dennis Quaid and Harry Shearer, along with Christopher Guest, Dishwalla and Judith Owen

The 9th semi-annual FestForumsconference will take place on November 14th-16th at the Hilton Santa Barbara Beachfront Resort in Santa Barbara, California. The three-day flagship event of FestForums is a unique, engaging and diverse interactive networking conference event where festival organizers, entertainment industry leaders, event producers and artists converge.


Addressing cutting-edge technology, sponsorships, talent, ticketing, scheduling, working with brands, operations, sustainability, charitable work, innovation and safety, FestForums unites festivals and events from around the world of all sizes for lively collaboration, camaraderie and professional development.


The theme for the FestForums SB ’18 conference is “The Year of the Woman.” Supporting this focus will be a roll-out of a brand-new TechTrender program highlighting women in the music festival industry who create noteworthy advancements in technology, presented in partnership with FestivalSquad as well as Julie Johnson and her company Armored Things.


FestForums will feature two keynotes. The first featured speaker at FestForums is Hope Hall, the noted documentary filmmaker, cinematographer and photographer, who also served as President Obama’s principal videographer at the White House in the Office of Digital Strategy. She will explore mindfulness under the tutelage of 44. Other female speakers include sponsorship guru Lesa Ukman, who was presented with a Lifetime Achievement Award at FestForums NYC 2018, former RI poet Laureate Lisa Starr, festival producer Giselle Coy, Another Planet executive Danielle Madeira, actor/musician Nia Peeples, Tribeca’s Rachel Mandel, TIFF’s Anita Cotic and many more luminaries of the festival world. 


FestForums SB ’18 will honor Maureen Ford as its Woman of the Year. As President of Live Nation’s Media & Sponsorship’s National Sales team, Ford oversees one of the most innovative sales forces in the industry.


There will also be a Salute to Women Lunch, sponsored by Lynn King Smith and her female helmed-company TicketForce, as well as a very special musical performance by acclaimed artist Judith Owen.






Hope Hall (left) and Maureen Ford (right)


“More so than at any other time, it feels very appropriate that we salute the incredible leadership women have had in this industry,” says Laurie Kirby, who co-produces and co-founded FestForums with Stuart MacNaught. “I’m so thrilled to have Stuart as a business partner because of the way he supports our mission of highlighting women and their successes. We are an inclusive event, a family of sorts, that delights in giving voice to the best and the brightest. We know that women do the heavy lifting in so many areas of our culture, and they are the unsung ‘sheroes’ of our community. This is our chance to celebrate them.”


Echoing Kirby’s sentiments, MacNaught quotes Martin Luther King, Jr.: “’Darkness cannot drive out darkness. Only light can do that.’ And so, 2018 is our year to shine our light on women. Having a brilliant, dynamic and very capable female partner, I regularly witness sexual discrimination directed her way. It doesn’t happen every day, but the fact that it happens at all in 2018 means we need to spotlight and address the problem.”


Past guest artists and musical performances have included Kenny Loggins, Jack Johnson, T Bone Burnett, Jeff Bridges, Matthew Modine, Quentin Tarantino, Cat Cora, Alice Cooper, Fisher Stevens, the Coen Brothers, Frances Fisher, Rita Coolidge, Dave Mason, Bruce Dern, Chuck Leavell and Shep Gordon, among others.


The FestForums Santa Barbara conference features a glittering array of talent. Among the artists lined up are Carly Jo Jackson, DJ Darla Bea and Chris Pelonis. Featured artists performing are Michael McDonald, Dennis Quaid (who will appear with his band the Sharks) and Dishwalla.






Dennis Quaid & The Sharks (top) and Michael McDonald (bottom)






Judith Owen (top) and Dishwalla (bottom)


This year’s event will see three performers receive Lifetime Achievement Awards for their contribution to the arts. First up is acclaimed actor Dennis Quaid. Chris Pelonis will present the award to Michael McDonald, and he’ll be joined by last year’s Living Legend Award recipient, Kenny Loggins. The event will conclude with a keynote address by actor, musician and comedian Harry Shearer (who just so happens to be married to Judith Owen), who will receive his own award from his Spinal Tap bandmate, actor and director Christopher Guest.






Harry Shearer (left) and Christopher Guest (right)


“We’re always thrilled and honored by all of the stars who lend their time and talents to FestForums,” says Kirby. “I have no doubt that everybody attending this year’s event will have an incredible time with all of the musicians and guests we’ll be featuring.”


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About Fest Forums

Kirby Laurie

FestForums l Hilton Beach Front Santa Barbara, CA l November 14-16, 2018

Santa Barbara

United States

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