AIF to recruit new Chair with Jim Mawdsley stepping down after 7 years

Organisation and staff pay tribute to outgoing Chair

London, 15th February 2022 Jim Mawdsley is to step down as Chair of The Association of Independent Festivals (AIF) in May 2022, after seven years in the role.

The announcement came today (Tuesday, 15 February 2022) at AIF’s Festival Congress, currently taking place in Bristol, with more than 300 independent festival professionals in attendance.

The organisation will recruit a new Chair, with the role being advertised next week.

Mawdsley joined AIF as Chair in 2014. He is also the Principal Advisor for Events, Culture Arts and Heritage at Newcastle City Council. Previous roles include a 20-year stint at music and creative digital development agency Generator, with 12 years as CEO. He has also run music events ranging from 50 capacity bar gigs to 30,000 capacity festivals, including 12 years as co-promoter of world-renowned dance brand Shindig, and 13 years as Director of the Evolution Festival.

AIF CEO Paul Reed said: “Jim joined AIF as Chair in 2014, more or less in tandem with when I started as General Manager, when we were looking at a lot of organisational change with ambitions to become more impactful as an association. We’ve been on quite a journey since then, from forming an AIF Board and providing some much-needed structure, to breaking away from AIM and setting up AIF independently. We fought for a reduced PRS tariff for festivals and implemented hugely impactful welfare and climate action campaigns.

“Crucially, Jim has been incredibly supportive and an excellent sounding board throughout the last two years of the pandemic as we rose to the challenge of representing and supporting our members. We thank Jim for his service, expertise and wise counsel over the years.”

Jim Mawdsley said: “I feel really privileged to have been Chair of AIF for the past seven years. We have achieved a great deal for such a small organisation.

“When I took the Chair role, it was an important body for independent festivals but we sometimes felt that we were a bunch of pirates that no one wanted to let dock. Following a restructure and departure from AIM, we claimed our own independence, and oversaw some sometimes bruising campaigns including a lower PRS rate and recognition that Cultural Recovery Funds were needed for festivals as much as the established cultural powerhouses.

“As a result, we have grown in number and in stature and I leave AIF as an extremely significant body that is respected and consulted by the media, HM Government and, most importantly, our music industry peers.

“I will certainly miss the members and all the people who have given up their valuable time to support us as Board members.

“With Paul Reed at the helm, AIF is in great shape. Now is the time for the next chapter and for a new person to help steer the ship. I can only say to my successor that one thing is for sure: despite the inevitable choppy waters, they will have a blast. I certainly have.”

The AIF board currently comprises: Jim Mawdsley (Chair, AIF), Nick Morgan (The Fair and Vice Chair, AIF), Lauren Down (End Of The Road), Katherine Goodenough (Greenbelt), Kevin Moore (Vision Nine), Gill Tee (Black Deer), Zac Fox (Kilimanjaro Live), Kate Osler (AEI Group), Jon Walsh (Shambala), Alex Trenchard (Standon Calling), Becky Ayres (Liverpool Sound City), Chris Rutherford (Boomtown Fair).


The Association of Independent Festivals (AIF) is the UK’s leading national not for profit festival trade association representing the interests of 105 UK music festivals, ranging from 500 to 80,000 capacity.