AIF leader Paul Reed resigns

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Association of Independent Festivals (AIF) leader Paul Reed is stepping down after nine years with the trade body.

Reed served as managing director and later CEO of the organization, which saw its membership grow by more than 137% (from 40 to 95) under his leadership. The AIF now represents just under half of all UK festivals that have a capacity of over 5,000.

The AIF won a number of key battles for independent festivals with Reed at the helm, including convincing the Home Office not to undertake a prejudicial review of special police service charges for the events; obtain a reduction in the PRS rate for festivals following a three-year industry-wide negotiation; and trigger parliamentary debates on professional rates for festival and event sites.

During the Covid-19 pandemic, AIF successfully lobbied the government for the inclusion of the festival in the Culture Recovery Fund and supported every member festival application – 70% of which were successful, unlocking more of £11million in survival funds for festival promoters.

“I am proud to leave an organization with a growing membership that has real influence in government and industry at large”

“Leading the AIF for nine years has been an incredible journey, and I’m proud to leave an organization with a growing membership that has a real impact on government and industry at large,” says Reed. “AIF has carried out extremely impactful public campaigns and remains highly visible and responsive to the needs of its members.

“The organization has risen to the challenge of representing and supporting members throughout the devastating effects of Covid. As the first full festival season since the pandemic draws to a close, it seems like the time has come for me to look for new challenges and the right time for AIF to appoint new leadership.

Reed also transitioned the AIF from a division of the Association of Independent Music (AIM) to an autonomous limited company in 2018, and scheduled six editions of the AIF’s flagship congress.

The organization is now looking for a successor, with application information available on the AIF website.

“I hope to share details of my next steps in the music industry soon but, in the meantime, I would like to thank all AIF members who have supported us, as well as board members, past and present, as well as partners and staff, and I had the pleasure of working alongside him,” adds Reed.

“Despite the challenges that independent festivals continue to face, doing this work has been a huge privilege and extremely enjoyable. The contribution AIF members make to the UK economically and culturally is undeniable, not to mention the immeasurable impact festivals have on well-being and mental health. The sector will remain dear to my heart and I look forward to seeing AIF and its members continue to thrive.

“Paul has done an incredible job for AIF, raising the profile of independent festivals and ensuring their voices are heard alongside global businesses”

Members of the AIF Board of Directors paid tribute to Reed’s contribution.

“These will be big boots to fill,” says Zac Fox, AIF board member and COO of Kilimanjaro Live. “Paul has done an incredible job for AIF, raising the profile of independent festivals and ensuring their voices are heard alongside global corporations. His work during the pandemic has been exemplary and arguably the survival of a number of festivals could be entirely attributed to what he has accomplished on their behalf. He will be sorely missed by our entire industry, and I envy those he fights for next.

AIF Vice President and We Are The Fair CEO Nick Morgan added, “Paul has been instrumental in the success of AIF over the past nine years, lobbying various government departments to ensure that we, as an industry, are never forgotten. Paul has been one of the key industry figureheads during the fight against the pandemic on behalf of the independent festival sector, ensuring that the DCMS better understood our sector during one of the most turbulent times in history. of our industry.


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