At its 2021 AGM, the Association of Independent Festivals (AIF) has announced a 34% year-on-year rise in membership, as well as confirming six new board members and the return of its flagship Festival Congress event in February 2022.
The membership increase means that the organisation now represents 90 festivals, an estimated 40% of all UK festivals that are 5,000 capacity and over.
At the AIF’s AGM, whose theme this year was ‘resilience’, CEO Paul Reed (pictured) welcomed six new board members: Lauren Down (End Of The Road), Zac Fox (Kilimanjaro Live), Kate Osler (AEI/El Dorado), Jon Walsh (Shambala), Chris Rutherford (Boomtown Fair) and Gill Tee (Black Deer).
It was also confirmed that the AIF will resume its Festival of Congress, a one-day conference and party that will take place next year in Bristol on 15 February.
AIF also announced a new partnership with Music Support, which will provide discounted Mental Health First Aid training for members and free access to Music Support’s recently launched Addiction and Recovery awareness training.
In addition, the organisation pledged to support and fund an industry-wide green code of conduct that will be developed by Vision 2025. The code will set out practical steps to manage the industry’s impact on the climate, and will build on the AIF’s ‘Drastic on Plastic’ and ‘Take Your Tent Home’ initiatives.
Also announced is the relaunch of AIF’s ‘Safer Spaces’ campaign and charter before the 2022 festival season, which works to raise awareness around sexual harassment and violence.
CEO Paul Reed said: “When considering the last 18 months, resilience really is the word, and our sector should take great pride from the way it has adapted and survived during the pandemic. AIF is pleased to have played its part in supporting independent festivals and fighting their corner. The fact that AIF has welcomed so many new members in recent months demonstrates the power of the collective and the need for community in difficult circumstances.
“The pandemic isn’t over, of course, but it’s good to be able to turn one eye to the future with some new faces on the Board to drive us forward. There are plenty of other issues facing our industry that we have a duty to confront head on. Not least reaffirming our commitment to taking practical action on the climate emergency, as well as sexual violence and harassment at events.
“I’d also like to thank Music Support for their partnership in helping us strive for better mental health provisions for our members. It is more vital than ever given the turbulence of the last 18 months that they have access to the right support services.”