John Rostron has been appointed as the new CEO of the Association of Independent Festivals.
The appointment was announced today during AIF’s 2022 AGM, with Rostron officially beginning his tenure on November 18 following a two-week handover period with current CEO Paul Reed.
Rostron has leadership experience in the creative industries and is a former member and vice-chair of AIF. He co-founded AIF member Swn Festival in Cardiff in 2007 and completed an exit strategy sale in 2018.
Rostron is also the founder and current chair of the Association of Independent Promoters (AIP). He will step down from his role at AIP upon starting at AIF.
Rostron is a former CEO of the Welsh Music Foundation and co-founder of the Welsh Music Prize. He has also held consultant and advisory roles at Arts Council Wales and Sound Diplomacy, as well as having been a development manager at From The Fields.
Rostron joins recently appointed chair of AIF and Notting Hill Carnival CEO Matthew Phillip in leading AIF into its next phase.
Vice-chair Nick Morgan will stay in his role for several months to support the new CEO and chair and ensure continuity.
Rostron 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.”
Matthew Phillip said: “It’s a pleasure to welcome John to AIF. 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.”
Four new members were also rotated onto the AIF board of directors at today’s AGM. They are Steven Campbell (CEO, Eskimo Dance), Suze Bayliss (festivals and marketing Director, Vision Nine - Boardmasters and NASS), Stefan Poelman (co-founder and director, Zenfest), and Joe Barnett (managing director, New Bohemia Music - We Out Here, Outlook and Dimensions Festival).
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. Dates will be confirmed soon.