National Events Conference

Two more world class keynotes announced for 2019 National Events Conference

 Helen Marriage MBE, Director of arts production charity Artichoke, and leading events academic, Dr Beatriz Garcia, will join the Cabinet Secretary Fiona Hyslop MSP, VisitScotland Director of Events Paul Bush OBE and fellow keynote speaker Bruce Dewar at this year’s National Events Conference, taking place at the world-renowned Gleneagles Hotel on 9th September alongside The 2019 Solheim Cup.

During her keynote address titled “Imagination Sets Us Free”, Helen will consider how our collective imagination and the vision of artists can transform our public spaces and create new connections with our surroundings and those around us.  Through her work at Artichoke, Helen has helped create some of the most celebrated outdoor art in recent times, including the Lumiere light festivals, The Sultan’s Elephant, Antony Gormley’s One & Other Fourth Plinth commission and last year’s PROCESSIONS, a mass participation artwork celebrating 100 years since some women won the right to vote. Artichoke are currently working with Galway 2020 European Capital of Culture having recently been appointed to the role of Creative Director.

Dr Garcia has been at the forefront of debates about culture-led urban regeneration since 1999. Her pioneering work on the cultural impact and legacy of mega-events has informed city strategists around the world, from Sydney to Liverpool and from London to Tokyo.  Her keynote address, “Impacts 18: Legacy from Major Cultural Events”, will consider the long term legacy from Liverpool’s year as European Capital of Culture ten years on and provide a wider understanding of impact and cultural legacy around other major cultural events, such as the Olympic Games.

The National Events Conference is the flagship industry conference for the Events & Festivals sector in Scotland.  Delegate places are selling fast and as in previous year we anticipate a full house on the day.

Taking place at the world renowned Gleneagles Hotel on Monday 9 September and alongside one of the world’s greatest women’s sporting events, this is the flagship industry conference for people working in Scotland’s Events & Festivals sector, including arts, heritage, sport and wider cultural activity

Under the title Embracing Innovation, Delivering Change the conference will consider innovation, change, future opportunities and challenges across the sector. The day will comprise inspiring keynote presentations and practical breakouts session. It will provide delegates with a first-class opportunity to hear from industry experts and share experiences, plus plenty time to meet with industry colleagues and enjoy the fabulous surrounds of the Gleneagles resort.

The 2019 National Events Conference - Early Bird Tickets + Keynote Announcement


The Early Bird delegate places are now sold-out. The full delegate rate is £145 plus VAT will apply.  We are also pleased to offer full-time students a limited number of Student delegate places at £30 plus VAT.  As in previous years, we anticipate the conference will sell out so don’t miss this chance to secure your discounted delegate place NOW.


We are delighted to confirm our first keynote speaker:

  • Bruce Dewar, President & CEO at LIFT Philanthropy Partners and Legacy Advisor to the International Olympic Committee (IOC)

Bruce is a world-leading influencer in policy innovation around major events. His keynote conference address is titled “The Game is Changing: Policy Innovation and Social Impact for Major Events”.

Other speakers announced so far include:

Elected in the first session of the Scottish Parliament in 1999, Fiona has been returned as the Constituency MSP for Linlithgow since 2011. She was Cabinet Secretary of Education & Life Long Learning in the first SNP Cabinet in 2007 and was the Minister responsible for abolishing backend university tuition fees.  She has been a Minister continually since 2007 with responsibility for Culture & External Affairs since 2009 and is currently the Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Tourism & External Affairs.

Paul Bush OBE is VisitScotland’s Director of Events, leading the EventScotland, Business Events and Industry Development teams.  EventScotland takes a strategic lead in the Scottish events industry and is responsible for working with partners to attract, bid for and secure major sporting, cultural and business events.  Paul is also the current Chair of Commonwealth Games Scotland.

Keep up to date with all the conference news and announcements by visiting the website at

Please direct any enquiries to 

To secure your delegate place please visit our website

A look back on the 2017 National Events Conference: Setting the Stage for 2025

A day of lively debate and discussion was had as Scotland’s events and festivals industry came together on 27 November 2017 at the last National Events Conference: Setting the Stage for 2025. Hosted by sports broadcaster, Eilidh Barbour, and held at Glasgow’s Technology & Innovation Centre, 42 expert speakers and a capacity audience gathered for the flagship industry conference to share best practice and discuss the challenges and opportunities facing Scotland’s events industry.

To view a video of the day, please visit our conference website >> 

Keynote speaker David Coletto delivered a timely and thought provoking speech, providing invaluable insight on understanding the future of events through the eyes of a millennial during his presentation ‘Disruption and Generational Change’; part of the opening plenary session, ‘The Changing Audience for Events’.

He gave the 300 strong audience three things to take away from his talk when thinking about millennials around events. Firstly they are a ‘do’ generation not a ‘have’ generation. They prefer experiences over owning goods. Secondly, it’s all about the experience. Millennials want a quality experience that is authentic, natural and value for money. And lastly, they want to be told a story but they want it to be authentic.

“From my perspective, there’s never been a better time to be in the events and festivals business.”

The day’s 11 break-out sessions also provided further opportunities for the industry to delve into the latest trends and issues facing the sector, with eventIMPACTS, the National Culture Strategy Consultation, Event Tech, Social Media as well as Security, Stewarding and Policing among the popular topics delegates engaged in.

Following the break-out sessions, the delegates came together for the closing plenary session ‘‘Scotland’s Assets & The Perfect Stage’, with five of the industry’s leading professionals discussing the assets that are the cornerstone of the country’s event strategy – our people, our cultural identify and heritage, our natural environment, our built facilities, and our signature events.

Building on the success of the previous conference in 2015, the 2017 event provided the industry with a forum to learn, share knowledge and network, allowing event practitioners to remain up-to-date and ensuring Scotland maintains its reputation as a world-leader in event development and delivery.

A post-event survey showed 91% of respondents would attend a future conference while 83% of delegates were either satisfied or very satisfied with the choice of speakers and workshops. 

To view a video of the day, please visit our conference website >> 

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