John Rostron, co-founder of Cardiff’s Sŵn Festival and the Association of Independent Promoters (AIP) has been made the new CEO of the Association of Independent Festivals (AIF).

With his appointment having been announced today, 2 November, at AIF’s 2022 AGM, Rostron will take up the role on 18 November.

Rostron, a former member and vice chair of AIF, will step down from his current position as AIP chair. His other industry experience includes co-founding the Sŵn Festival in Cardiff in 2007, being a consultant for Arts Council Wales and Sound Diplomacy, and having been a development manager at From The Fields. A former CEO of the Welsh Music Foundation, he co-founded the Welsh Music Prize.

Rostron will work alongside recently appointed AIF chair, and Notting Hill Carnival CEO, Matthew Phillip. He said, “It’s a great honour to take on this role at a time when AIF feels more important than ever. My thanks to outgoing CEO Paul Reed for all he has done for the organisation in raising its profile, value and relevance.

“Festivals are facing numerous challenges as they grapple with pricing alongside growing costs across the supply chain, all while music fans themselves face a cost-of-living crisis. Add to that a vital renewed focus on climate action, audience welfare and diversity, equity and inclusion, and there are plenty of ways that AIF can and will make a meaningful difference for its members.”

Welcoming Rostron, Phillip said, “He’s a tremendously experienced executive, having fulfilled a range of high-level positions at many respected organisations, and with a track record of advocacy and championing independent music businesses. Paul Reed has done an exceptional job in growing AIF both in membership and influence, and I’m confident that John will help continue that trajectory, as well as taking AIF in new directions.”

The AGM saw four new AIF members rotated onto the board; Eskimo Dance CEO Steven Campbell, Vision Nine – Boardmasters and NASS festivals and marketing director Suze Bayliss, Zenfest co-founder and director Stefan Poelman and New Bohemia Music MD Joe Barnett.

AIF has also confirmed that its annual flagship Festival Congress event will return to Bristol for the second year in February 2023, with new venues for both the conference and festival party.