Part 2 of the Summer Lights Festival is set for this Thursday night with another free concert set up in Princess Park. So we decided to track down the man with the plan to get more info on the popular concert series. Summer Lights Festival Coordinator Dylan MacDonald just happens to be out east in the Middle of his summer tour with his band The Middle Coast. So we asked him how he manages the balancing act of planning a festival while he`s halfway across the country, among many things. Here`s our conversation via correspondence:
Captured in an intense mid gig moment, guitarist, singer, songwriter and festival coordinator Dylan MacDonald is one busy dude this summer! (Photo submitted)
FM: Your band the Middle Coast has had an incredibly busy year with tons of shows. Just how many have you played so far and how many are on the calendar for the remainder of the summer?
DM: We have been busy indeed! I believe we are around the 130 mark in the last 12 months which doesn’t include travel days! We’ve already done quite a few summer festivals and we’ve got probably 8-10 still to go!
FM: When and where is the next Middle Coast gig?
As I write this I am in a hotel room in Charlotte Town PEI, we just played at Cavendish Beach Festival here, what a blast!
FM: How do you find the time to do duties with the Summer Lights Festival?
DM:We do a ton of planning together in the van when we are on the road which is great! Summer is also unique because it is mostly weekend slots due to summer festivals being the “thing to do” from May – Sept. This allows me to be in the office working all week!
FM: How many years has the festival been running?
DM: We did a few one off concerts in past years, however, last year was the first year the we presented a concert series! This year is also special because we are actually including a festival in addition to the series! We will still offer the 3 free concerts in Princess Park (June 16 (Valdy), July 14, August 18) but will also present a ticketed full day festival on September 10th.
FM: Will there be street / food vendors in the area?
DM: Absolutely! Both the Concert Series and Festival will have vendors – Looking forward to that!
FM: Give us a brief overview of the festival layout in Princess park.
DM: Well we of course have our fantastic artists playing on the existing Princess Park stage. We bring bleachers down for the event and we will even see our “Musicians vs. Politicians” hockey game return to 7th street adjacent to the park. Side stage we have our “Free food table” where guests can enjoy some complimentary locally made bannock and honey before slipping over to the musician merch booth to grab a record or T shirt!
FM: I've heard several positive comments regarding the free Valdy concert last month. You had a chance to meet him right? What kind of a guy was he and what was the best thing you took away from your chance meeting with one of Canada's legendary musical artists?
DM: Valdy was a total sweet heart and I had a blast hanging out with him while he was in town! Definitely a quirky dude! Valdy still plays 200 shows a year even at 70 years old which is amazing! He attributes his longevity and success to the fact that he simply loves playing music and doesn’t care about fame and money etc.. I think that’s important!
FM: Unfortunately that first free concert in the Summer Lights Series featuring Valdy had to be moved inside due to inclement weather. Will you be using the same location for the next concerts if there is rain?
DM: In the case of poor weather we will be indeed be back at McDiarmid Drive Church!
FM: Tell us about the next artist set to perform this Thursday night (July 14th) for the Summer Lights Concert Series.
DM: Ridley Bent is a fantastic alt country performer who I have seen a couple times now. Amazing songs, top notch musicianship and Ridley is great with a crowd!
Ridley Bent recently released his fourth album entitled “Wildcard” He’ll be performing tunes from his recent CD and much more this Thursday night during his live show at Princess Park in Downtown Brandon for the Summer Lights Concert Series. Show starts at 7pm admission is free! (photo submitted)
FM: As Coordinator of the Summer Lights Festival since day one, what are your hopes for this Brandon event?
DM: It’s great to see more live music shows coming through Brandon and I hope this program continues to grow!
FM: Thanks again for taking the time to do this Dylan! Best of luck with the remainder of your tour and enjoy the rest of your summer!!
DM: Thanks Frank! It was a pleasure. Hope you have a great summer!