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Phoebe Rodwell-Carson, a member of our 30under30, is the membership & operations manager at the Association of Independent Festivals, a national not-for-profit festival trade association representing the interests of more than 200 independent UK music festivals. Rodwell-Carson spearheaded AIF’s ‘Safer Spaces at Festivals’ campaign and helped to launch its EDI policies and action plan in 2023. Here, she reflects on her time at AIF and discusses the importance of schemes such as the 30under30.

What made you want to get involved in the industry and why?

My complete inability to sing or play an instrument, whilst still being a massive music fan, made me curious as to how I could work in the industry without being a performer.

What aspect of your role do you find most fulfilling?

It would definitely be supporting our membership. We receive a huge variety of questions – ranging from straightforward ones like toilet supplier recommendations, to more complex scenarios like what to do when your site is inhabited by a herd of deer! It’s nice to feel like you’re part of their event in some small way.

What is the first career highlight that comes to mind?

Relaunching our Safer Spaces at Festivals campaign in 2022 was a special moment. It’s a hugely important issue that needed to be tackled head-on so it was exhilarating to be working on these impactful campaigns that are supported by the industry. I take pride in contributing to making festivals a safer space for everyone, though of course there is still work to be done.

If there was one thing you could change about the live events industry overnight, what would it be?

With the increasing costs of recording and touring, we’re seeing more and more talented musicians priced out of the industry. I would like to see changes that make the industry more financially accessible. Similarly, AIF advocates for the introduction of a ‘Cultural Voucher’, similar to what is provided to 18-year-olds in countries like Spain, which grants young people a certain amount of money to spend on cultural activities such as festivals and concerts. Providing this opportunity for formative experiences is crucial for developing future audiences.

How important are schemes such as AAA 30underThirty and do you believe the industry does enough to support young professionals?

The 30Under30 scheme is great for promoting the new generation of talent within the industry, and it’s definitely an industry with a lot of opportunity. One of my favourite supportive resources is NOWIE – I’d recommend checking out their network and events.

The Access All Areas 30Under30 is proud to be sponsored by Event Crowd. Founded in 2021 by Bournemouth 7s Festival founder Roger Woodall, Event Crowd has since welcomed more than 700 students onto its course and helped hundreds of alumni break into the events industry.

Find out more.