Six Questions With... AIF general manager Paul Reed

Six Questions With... AIF general manager Paul Reed

Welcome to the first edition of Six Questions With..., a new, short and sharp Q&A interview with a live music figure. This feature will form a regular part of the relaunched Music Week Live newsletter. Email if you would like to take part or put someone forward for inclusion. 

First up is Paul Reed (pictured), general manager of the Association Of Independent Festivals (AIF). 

What was your first job in music?

I started out as an independent gig promoter and DJ in Newcastle, around 2003. I was promoting shows ranging from 100 up to eventually 2,000 cap and working with the likes of Maximo Park and The Futureheads. An exciting time for North East music. I also worked in a record shop for a while and basically did anything I could to meet people and get closer to being involved in music.

How long have you been in your current role?

Just over three years (since November 2013). There is never a dull moment! 

What is your favourite thing about working in the music industry?

Meeting a lot of kindred spirits. I feel extremely fortunate to still be working around live music and entertainment. Of course it's a business, but I remain a huge enthusiast and get excited about new festivals, event formats and tours. It's perhaps a cliché but everything is less of a challenge if you fundamentally believe in what you are doing.  

What is the one thing you would like to change about the business?

Overall, I would like to see the industry properly commit to tackling diversity issues this year. It needs to be part of the overall mentality, not simply a quota to meet. Also, for Government to sit up and listen a little more carefully to the festival sector. We add invaluable cultural and economic value to the UK and may not be on a soapbox about it every day but are facing myriad challenges.   

What has been the highlight of your career so far?

I’m not one for looking back much. Right now, the highlight is getting to work with and support some of the leading entrepreneurs and creative minds in the festival industry through my role at AIF. We play a small yet crucial part in supporting them bring their plans to fruition.  

What is the best gig you’ve ever been to?

Too many! This would change on a  daily basis. Two that especially stand out are Iggy And The Stooges at All Tomorrow’s Parties in 2006 and Sufjan Stevens at Royal Festival Hall in 2011 - that was a truly transformative gig for me. The list goes on and on.

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