Michael Hollett is one of the founders of NXNE. He is also a co-founder and co-owner of NOW Magazine and Now Communications Inc., and has been Editor/Publisher since NOW’s launch in September 1981.
He’s been traveling the world hunting down amazing music in festivals, concerts halls, and grimy clubs for NOW and NXNE for over 31 years. A regular attendee of Austin, Texas’ SXSW since the beginning — hell, he was hanging in Austin before South-by was even invented — Hollett has seen what works, and what doesn’t, at music events around the globe.
Hollett’s commitment to building indie, non-corporate arts, especially music, is an essential part of his work at NOW and NXNE. He’s never worn ear plugs at a show! Some of his interview subjects have been Rush, Woody Harrelson, Neil Young, and Iggy Pop and he has reported from behind the scenes at the Junos and the SXSW music festival, among others.
Hollett was born in Oakville, grew up in Toronto’s Flemingdon Park, and has lived in Ottawa and Montreal. He went to York University where he studied English, engaged in left-wing campus politics, and edited the student newspaper, Excalibur. He is a proud member of the Black Stokes in the Downtown Toronto Men’s Hockey League. Hollett lives in Toronto’s Riverdale neighbourhood and has three children. Find out more at his Wikipedia.
Toronto music scene legend Yvonne Matsell helped launch the festival in 1994. A renowned talent spotter, Matsell has also helped launch the careers of many Canadian musicians, as well as introduced international artists to this country.
Matsell has invested years in the hunt for new music and has been on hand since before day one of NXNE. in addition to growing the festival, she has been a key Toronto club booker for decades. Matsell has run the music programming at The Legendary Horseshoe Tavern, the equally legendary Ultrasound, Ted’s Wrecking Yard, the El Mocambo, and more.
Originally from Wales, U.K., her no-nonsense approach is honest, effective, and proven highly insightful and with integrity.
In 2007, Crispin Giles let go of his regular gigs as tour manager, traveling live sound engineer, and venue booker to dedicate himself to a full-time position as Music Programming Manager at NXNE. For the past six years he has upped the programming ante at the annual music festival, playing a central role in NXNE’s management in what has arguably been the fest’s biggest growth years.
Prior to his position at NXNE, Giles was the venue booker at C’est What from 1997 to 2003. During that period, the venue was a vital showcase room and talent incubator for locals such as Danny Michel, Sarah Slean, Feist, Hawksley Workman, Ron Sexsmith, and more making regular appearances during this time.
He was also sound engineer at C’est What (1997-2003) and the El Mocambo (2005-2007) and tour managed Jason Collett, Sarah Slean, Priya Thomas, and Amy Millan.
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