Paul Reed is to step down as CEO of The Association of Independent Festivals (AIF) in November, exactly nine years after joining the trade body as general manager.

AIF said Reed had a transformative impact on the association both as GM and then CEO, which has seen its membership grow from 40 to 95 under his leadership.

Reed was appointed CEO of AIF in March 2018, and in the same year he led an operational restructure that saw AIF switch from being a division of the Association of Independent Music (AIM) to an autonomous company.

AIF said that among Reed’s considerable contributions to the organisation and wider festival market was convincing the Home Office to not undertake a detrimental review of Special Police Services charges for events; achieving a reduction in the PRS rate for festivals following three years of negotiations; and triggering parliamentary debates on business rates for festival and event sites.

During the pandemic, Reed was a regular and vociferous presence on national media raising awareness of the impact the lockdowns were having on the independent festival sector. Under his stewardship, AIF successfully lobbied Government for increased support and the inclusion of festivals in the Culture Recovery Fund.

Reed said he would reveal details of his next move in the music industry soon, and thanked AIF’s members for their support: “Leading the AIF for nine years has been an incredible journey, and I’m proud to be leaving an organisation with a growing membership that has real influence on Government and wider industry. AIF has achieved some hugely impactful public campaigns and remains very visible and responsive to the needs of its members.

“The contribution that AIF members make to the UK on an economic and cultural level is undeniable, not to mention the immeasurable impact festivals have on well-being and mental health.”

AIF board member and Kilimanjaro Live COO Zac Fox said, “These are going to be big boots to fill. Paul has done an incredible job for The AIF, raising the profile of independent festivals, and ensuring their voices were heard alongside the global corporations. His work during the pandemic was exemplary and its arguable that the survival of a number of festivals could be attributed entirely to what he achieved on their behalf. He’ll be very much missed by our entire industry, and I envy those who he’ll be fighting for next.”

AIF vice chair and We Are The Fair CEO Nick Morgan said, “Paul has been instrumental in the success of AIF over the last nine years, lobbying various Government departments to ensure we as an industry are never forgotten. Paul was one of the key industry figureheads during the pandemic fighting on behalf of the independent festival sector, ensuring the DCMS better understood our sector during one of the most turbulent periods in our industry’s history.”