Poll: Music Festival Conventions

Before the NPAC stops rattling around in my head, I want to take a moment to mention the conference’s conspicuous absence of summer music festival managers and board members. It is no secret why they are represented in such low numbers as the timing for most annual conventions fall smack dab at the beginning of their crunch time and jetting away for several days is usually not a luxury they can afford. As a result, I’ve always thought that it would be useful if they could have their own mini-conference during a time of year when they aren’t immersed in active production and operational craziness. An upshot of this is they would automatically have an environment focused on their specialty and given the rise in popularity of festivals among concert-goers, it seems like getting them all together in the same place to discuss shared issues would be a good idea. But that’s just my opinion; instead, I want to know what you think:

About Drew McManus

"I hear that every time you show up to work with an orchestra, people get fired." Those were the first words out of an executive's mouth after her board chair introduced us. That executive is now a dear colleague and friend but the day that consulting contract began with her orchestra, she was convinced I was a hatchet-man brought in by the board to clean house.

I understand where the trepidation comes from as a great deal of my consulting and technology provider work for arts organizations involves due diligence, separating fact from fiction, interpreting spin, as well as performance review and oversight. So yes, sometimes that work results in one or two individuals "aggressively embracing career change" but far more often than not, it reinforces and clarifies exactly what works and why.

In short, it doesn't matter if you know where all the bodies are buried if you can't keep your own clients out of the ground, and I'm fortunate enough to say that for more than 15 years, I've done exactly that for groups of all budget size from Qatar to Kathmandu.

For fun, I write a daily blog about the orchestra business, provide a platform for arts insiders to speak their mind, keep track of what people in this business get paid, help write a satirical cartoon about orchestra life, hack the arts, and love a good coffee drink.

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