Gimme Your Answers (Beyond the Stage): An Interview w/ Andy McLean, founder of Muskoka Sound Music Festival

Andy McLean
Ever wonder what happens beyond the stage? Well we do. These roadies, managers, guitar techs, lighting directors, publicists (and even positions you may not have known about) make the music you love come alive! In a recent interview, A Music Blog, Yea? spoke with Andy McLean, a musician, songwriter, and founder of Muskoka Sound Music Festival. Running from September 12th-14th, Muskoka Sound is a three-day, ticketed, outdoors, all-ages event with headliners Walk Off The Earth, Serena Ryder, Mother Mother, and more. Ahead of the festival, Andy took the time to speak with us to discuss organizing the festival, working in the world of music, Manchester United — enjoy!

AMBY: Hello Andy, thanks for speaking with us today! How did you first get into your industry?

Andy McLean: As an artist. I came to Toronto from Manchester UK in 1982 and joined The Tenants as lead guitarist, songwriter and background vocals. We signed with CBC (Sony) within a year and put out two albums including the hit single “ Sherriff”. From then on, I’ve been in the music industry as a manager, promoter, booker, event organizer and performer/writer.

AMBY: Please explain to our readers what you currently do.

Andy McLean: I am :

a) Executive Director of the Muskoka Sound Music Festival. I founded the event and am also the talent booker/programmer so I deal with all aspects of the festival.

b) Executive Director of the East Coast Music Association – based in Halifax NS. I’m responsible for producing the ECMAs which are taking place in St John’s Newfoundland in April 2015.

AMBY: This year’s line-up at Muskoka Sound Music Festival includes Walk Off The Earth, Serena Ryder, Mother Mother, and many others. Which artists do you look forward to seeing the most?

Andy McLean: I’m very excited to see all at the acts on the festival’s main stage. Each one has a special quality so its really hard to pick a favourite. Let’s not forget the amazing local talent in the Home Grown Stage.

AMBY: What has been the craziest thing to happen to you while organizing the festival?

Andy McLean: The ones I can actually write about would include watching a tractor trailer full of the festivals beer slowly sink into a parking lot and fall on its side. Not one of the best days!

AMBY: What is the best and worst thing about your gig?

Andy McLean: Best – working in the world of music everyday. Discovering new bands – creating new opportunities for musicians, the industry and the fans  – knowing I can help artists to further their careers. Worst – no complaints. I make a living by doing things most folks would consider fun.

AMBY: If you could be a fly on the wall at any given time or event, where would you want to be?

Andy McLean: In the dressing room of Manchester United football club before their next match.

AMBY: And lastly, what’s something about you that nobody knows yet?

Andy McLean: When my daughter was totally into The Backstreet Boys, I went to the show with her – and enjoyed every moment!

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Follow Muskoka Sound Music Festival on Twitter here. And, of course, thanks to Andy McLean for giving us his answers! Click here for more information on the festival.

Interview by Alicia Atout | @AliciaAtout

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