Canadian Musician - July/August 2017 - Page 62

PHOTO: MARINA HASHEMI BUSINESS Miranda Mulholland is a Canadian singer-songwriter, musician, label owner, advocate, and the artistic director and founder of the newly-minted Sawdust City Music Festival, set for August 4-6, 2017 in Gravenhurst, ON. She is currently a member of Harrow Fair, a duo with Andrew Penner of Sunparlour Players. Along with festival performances with Harrow Fair this summer, she will appear in an Off-Broadway production of the award-winning musical Spoon River in NYC this July. By Miranda Mulholland Founding a Music Festival I ’ve always liked curating things – from playlists to dinner parties to a local concert series I presented to starting a boutique record label. Launching the Sawdust City Music Festival was like a large- scale manifestation of all those things. The idea came very organically. I’ve always approached choosing the artists for my label like a festival. Things I value are collaboration, musical excellence, and crossing genres. The town of Gravenhurst, ON has been my second home since I was literally in embryo. My family has a long history there. My great great grand- father owned the lumber mill that gave the town the nickname Sawdust City. He was the mayor of the town twice and while in office, had an opera house built on the main street. The Location It was this history that really made the idea come together. I decided to use existing ven- ues in the town – including the Opera House – as well as a barge in the Rotary Park that has held a free Sunday night concert series for decades. There is an excellent microbrewery in Gravenhurst, also called Sawdust City. They are supporters of live music and have a great venue on their premises. Being able to present the festival in these already existing and wonderfully run venues allowed for several things to hap- pen. We got to work closely with their staff and understand the town and our expected festival guests better, be part of their exist- ing concert seasons, and be conservative with initial overhead costs to balance the budget of an ambitious first year festival. Lessons Learned What I found out pretty early is that begin- ning a festival is a little bit like putting a fitted sheet on a bed. (Well, at least the way I make 62 • C A N A D I A N M U S I C I A N the bed.) It was a lot of approaching artists, getting them interested, then heading over to another corner with the venue staff and getting them on board, then to the money corner to find sponsors based on the inter- ested artists and venues, then back to the artists to make sure they were still onboard – all while hoping the other corners weren’t coming untucked. The Team I sought out a great team to help me with all of this. I put together a board of directors and started a not-for-profit organization. ]\›XYH\و]\X[\H\\\[\˜H]Y\[Hܘ][\\[\ۙ\HZHYH[[XXܛ8$ݙ\[XB\\YX[^\Y[\8$HX[^Y]Z]HX\Hۈ]HYYY^\\H]HZXܛˈH\YYY[H\\X܈و\][ۜˈH\]X\][^\Y[K\XX[Hۙ\وH[Z[\^K[\[][\[KX[X[ۜˈ\ۛYHو[Y[[\۝X[[\ZY[HۈYHو^Bܘ^Y\YX\\Y[X][H\[X[ ^HXX\ ]][Y \HY[B]Hۛۈ܈YX\[]H[ܚY]YܙH[H]\X]Y\ˈH\\ BY\ۈ\[K]8&\HܞHš]\\X[Z[]H\ۈHX[K][H[][X]]H[ۋBXYX[H\[X^[ˈ\[˜\H\HY\[[x&]HY[XH\H[H[\Y[YKH]H[YXKXX]^H۝XYY[\[]H]Z[ۋ[]\H[\YY\܈H[[Y\YK[][]BۙHو\[YX[[][]\]]H[][]Hۘ\ [H\HYXH܈H\][ H\XYܚ\Bܙ^K\HX[Y\و\[[\B[Hۈوܘ][\ HYX[B\[Y[܈H\][\\Y[\HBZY]HX[H[&]]HZYY\™\\H[[Y&]ۛ۝[YBH۝\][ۈ\HYY[^X[B[[HHܚ\x&\\ܝ\Y[^[܋B[\KHܙ[^YH[\[[XH[Hۈ[H\XH\[H\][[ZZ\ˈH[\X\H\\B[ݚ[ˈ^H[[YYX][H[\B[Y]Hۈ8$[\[Kو\K][[[X[KH]HY[ܚ[]H[X\و[Y\H\H\[\\Y[\BX][ۜXZH\HH[][]HY[œ\\[Y[\وH][ [HBܘ[[Z[H\][ ^H[\XZB\H\H\Hو[[[\[\›][ۘ[[[[\]X[[\\\[B][ۋx&[H\H[YX]H[[[]\ [H\HY H^YYH\]\[YBۈ\[[ܙH JH[Y[B [HYH]Y\ݙ\[ ]\وB[YH\[[[H[X[\[\H]\[Y[HY&]ۛ[܈ˈ[[[[XY\š[[[\H\H]ZH\[]\X[Bܘ]YZ[YHYX\و\ܞH]\\[\HY[X\[ܙX]\[Y\[]H[\ܛY\H[\XX[K[[ܙYXH[[\\ۜܜ˂H[[H[\HZH\]ٝ[]œY]XYHHܞHوH8'ݙ\YXB\8'HH[H^K[HXB]H][[ۈ[[Y[HH[[[[]\[X[ \\H[Z[\][X^[[[\[][\][ۂ\Y][YH[H[YHوX\Y[][ۜ\