The Association of Independent Festivals provides a collective voice for the independent festival sector, representing members on a range of issues and pushing for positive change.
National trade organisation The Association of Independent Festivals (AIF) is the UK’s leading festival representation body, the key aim of which is to help individual members and to address the overall needs of the independent festival sector.
Founded in 2008 by Rob da Bank (Bestival) and his manager Ben Turner (Graphite Media), the AIF operates as an autonomous division of the Association of Independent Music (AIM) with its own board and governance structure.
The combined attendance of AIF’s 60 member events exceeds 600,000, contributing over £200m to the UK economy annually. In 2015, AIF published audience research revealing that in the four year period from 2010-2014, AIF member events generated an estimated £1bn for the UK economy in audience spend, £80m of which was sent along the supply chain to local businesses.
AIF currently represents over 60 member events, ranging from the 800-capacity Starry Skies to the 55,000-capacity Isle of Wight Festival.
Uniting a national network of promoters
This is the core reason the association was formed – to enable promoters to connect to each other and take the temperature of the industry. Meetings take place four times a year, working through a structured agenda of industry issues facing members. AIF is an effective vehicle for change within the industry.
Campaigning and lobbying
Providing a collective voice for the independent festival industry, AIF represents members on a range of issues, interacting with government and other relevant bodies, responding to consultations and pushing for positive change. Issues it is currently involved in include producing a detailed response to the PRS tariff consultation, lobbying the Treasury on business rates for festivals and events sites, and providing evidence to government on secondary ticketing and ticketing abuse.
The association works across the live industry, forming strategic alliances and leading on key issues. In 2014, AIF led a coalition of the live industry in successfully lobbying the Home Office against moving ahead with an all-out review of the system for charging event organisers for special police services.
AIF sits on the UK Live Group of UK Music, the umbrella organisation representing the music industry to government, and this is an effective channel for making a case to government on various issues. AIF is also a member of the Creative Industries Federation.
AIF plans and delivers impactful public facing campaigns, including in 2015, a ‘Festival Fever’ campaign celebrating the economic and cultural impact of members and a co-ordinated digital blackout of festival websites to highlight the dangers of legal highs in 2014 and 2015. Such campaigns have attracted global media attention and reached millions of users on social media.
Business support and development
Members receive a range of tangible benefits, including a free financial health check with a certified accountant, a certain amount of legal support including help with commercial disputes, and an AIF mentoring scheme offering pragmatic business affairs advice throughout the year.
AIF also offers members unique cost savings from suppliers through its Friends of AIF scheme in areas including insurance, accreditation and production. Members have access to a range of resources including annual audience survey data, market reports and guides to legislation and best practice.
AIF events and The Festival Congress
AIF promotes a range of conferences and training opportunities throughout the year such as the ‘Festival Futures’ events in locations across the UK, which feature a mix of festival promoter keynotes, quick fire ‘talking heads’ sessions and fireside chats with industry experts.
Launched in 2014 in Cardiff, Wales, the Festival Congress is AIF’s annual flagship event – a two-day conference and celebration of the independent festival industry.
In 2014 and 2015, the event attracted over 400 delegates and speakers; this was the largest gathering of independent festival operators ever to take place. The event provides a unique opportunity for AIF members and their teams alongside the wider industry and those interested in the industry to connect, celebrate and shape the future festival landscape through networking, industry discussion and celebration. For more information please visit www.festivalcongress.com
- Registered charity, community interest or free event – £500
- Less than 1,000 capacity – £500
- 1,000-5,000 capacity – £750
- 5,001-7,500 capacity – £850
- 7,501-10,000 capacity – £1,000
- 10,000+ capacity – 15% of capacity (capped at £5,000)
- 50% discount for international festivals
Multi venue, city-based festival fees
- One day event below 10,000 capacity – £250
- Multi day event below 10,000 capacity – £500
- One day event above 10,000 capacity – £750
- Multi day event above 10,000 capacity – £1,000
‘Independent’ is defined clearly by market share; businesses that do not hold more than 5% of the global market share of the live music industry and businesses that are not 50% or more owned by an entity who holds 5% or more.
“Being part of an organisation that looks after the interests of all its members, whose events range from under 800 to over 60,000 is really invaluable. You have access to very experienced event organisers that are happy to help you when you need advice and guidance, from current health and safety legislation, to marketing master classes and access to numerous online resources. Best of all are the informal social sessions so that organisers can all have a good gossip over a few pints!” Sid Sharma, Starry Skies
“The AIF; the closest thing you can get to a union as a promoter. Indispensible.” Freddie Fellowes, Secret Garden Party
“Becoming an AIF member was invaluable for our business, especially as we expanded to multiple festivals. The AIF team work tirelessly to offer a support network to events organisers, facilitating the crucial sharing of information and allowing the independent festival sector to have a stronger voice in the industry.” Andy Smith, Kendal Calling