How’d You Get That Awesome Gig, Kerry Clarke?

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Name: Kerry Clarke

Occupation: Artistic Director

Location: Calgary Folk Music Festival

First Job: Babysitting. Other early jobs included taking tickets at the Stampede, cashier at Woolco pharmacy and Co-op grocery store, land administration at CN Exploration.

Best Job:  This one.

Greatest Professional Challenge: Having to say not so much.

So, how did you get this awesome gig anyways? A combination of good luck and good management; being in the right place at the right time with some of the required skills. I was on the board of the Folk Fest and had been involved in the independent side of the music industry while program director at Victoria’s CFUV Radio and here at CJSW Radio. I also co-founded Afrikadey!, organized tours for a couple of Canadian bands (Same Difference and Mother Tongue) and produced some local events like Celebrating Women and concerts by Fela Kuti and others. The Festival was quite small—2 days with 3 stages—and a small budget, when I started. So someone who was quite green like myself would likely not have been hired at a larger festival.

What do you like best about your job? The variety, travel, creativity, and networking/collaborating with awesome, dedicated people around the world.

Any special skills required? Diplomacy, music and event experience, organization and communication skills—nothing out of the ordinary.

Favourite experience on the job: Being at Prince’s Island Park and seeing the audience enjoy our sessions and concerts.
 
Advice for people who want your awesome gig: Knock off an AD at a Canadian music festival after you’ve spent time in various aspects of the music, arts and not-for-profit industries! These jobs are, as we like to say at WRAD (Western Roots Artistic Directors collective), ‘special and unique.’

Favourite CDN Music Venue: Hum…I think I should say Festival Hall! I miss the Night Gallery.

Favourite Record of the Moment: Andrew Bird, Armchair Apocrypha

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