Six Questions With... Renae Brown of the Association Of Independent Festivals

Six Questions With... Renae Brown of the Association Of Independent Festivals

Welcome to the latest edition of Six Questions With..., a weekly short and sharp interview with a live music figure. Email jhanley@nbmedia.com if you would like to take part or recommend someone for inclusion. 

This week's Q&A is with Renae Brown, membership and events coordinator of the Association Of Independent Festivals (AIF). Brown recently spearheaded the organisation's Safer Spaces campaign, which reiterated UK music festivals' zero tolerance to sexual assault. 

What was your first job in music?

In 2010 I started as an intern at Footstomp Music in Australia and grew into the permanent role of promotions manager before moving to the UK in 2014. I got hired permanently when I showed up to the office with a pair of black eyes after being kicked in the back of the head by a crowdsurfer and headbutting the barrier at a concert. I probably owe that particular crowdsurfer a pint.

How long have you been in your current role?

I’ve been working at the Association Of Independent Festivals for just over two years.

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

It’s never boring! (Which is a boring answer but it’s true!) 

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

There are a lot of things I’d like to change but I’m going to focus on secondary ticketing here. The money-grabbing parasites that enable fans to be continually ripped off damages not only the back pocket of the customer, but also their relationships with artists and festivals which is a massively negative outcome for the live industry in the long term. Audiences are only going to get ripped off so many times before they stop gambling their money away on ridiculously priced or fake gig tickets.

What has been the highlight of your career so far?

The first major label artist I ever had to coordinate promo with was My Chemical Romance when I was 19 and I think 13-year-old me would’ve been pretty proud of that. A recent highlight and something I’m really proud of is our Safer Spaces At Festivals campaign, which saw over 30 UK festivals blackout their websites for 24 hours to raise awareness around sexual assault at festivals. Seventy-one festivals have also signed up to our Charter of Best Practice and the campaign reached over 18 million people on Twitter as well as gaining international media attention. It’s such a serious issue and I’m glad festivals are being proactive and looking at ways to make their audience’s experiences better.

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

Any of the 12 times I’ve seen Two Door Cinema Club.

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