Steve Heap, who has been running the Association of Festival Organisers, since 1987 has announced that he is to retire in April and the management of AFO will be taken over by John Rostron and the team at the Association of Independent Festivals (AIF).

Steve Heap, who also chairs the Events Industry Forum, has been AFO’s General Secretary since its formation, seeing the organisation grow from a handful of founding members to representing 101 festival and event organisers, with events ranging from as small as 500 to over 25,000 capacities.

The Association of Independent Festivals (AIF) is the UK’s leading national not for profit festival trade association representing the interests of 101 UK music festivals, ranging from 500 to 80,000 capacity.

Together, the AIF and AFO will have a collective voice representing 202 festival promoters and event’s organisers across the UK.

The two trade bodies have come together many times in the past to fight for the combined interests of their members, often as a catalyst for significant change benefitting the UK festival industry. 

Achievements include negotiating a new reduced percentage licence deal for live festival performance with PRS for Music; negotiating a reduction on VAT for tickets sales to 5% during Covid; lobbying government for financial support and leading to the contribution of over a billion pounds from the Cultural Recovery Fund to a wide variety of Arts organisations.

Steve will remain a consultant to the new organisation after retiring and plans to carry on his work for the Events Industry Forum.   Steve was presented with the Industry Legend Award at the 2022 Event Production Awards.