Drew Marshall of Sled Island: Today’s Notable Young Professional

Calgary comes alive every June during the Sled Island festival when 30,000 fans celebrate the amazing variety of music, arts and performance that come from artists both locally and from across North America. 

During the festival, the streets are taken over by a sea of bicycles as music lovers circulate around Calgary to check out an impressive collection of indie music and big-name headliners that play in a variety of venues. 

Sled Island was cut short due to the floods that swept through downtown last summer but the organizers are excited to be back with a dynamite line up for 2014; festivalgoers this year can look forward to catching Neko Case, Joel Plaskett Emergency, Killer Mike, St. Vincent and many more top-notch acts. We met with Drew Marshall, Sled Island’s Marketing Coordinator, to hear a bit more about what it’s like to work with one of the most exciting festivals happening in Canada right now.

Elevator Pitch: Describe your job in a nutshell.
Every year I put together and oversee the marketing campaign for Sled Island, Western Canada’s largest independent music and arts festival that features over 250 bands plus comedy, film, visual art and special events in 30+ venues spread across Calgary’s downtown and surrounding areas over five days of jam-packed fun in June.

Why did you start working at your company? What was the inspiration for this career route?
I heard about it through a friend before it began in 2007 and was thrilled by the prospect. I got involved as a volunteer that first year and never looked back. I was inspired to work in music, firstly because I’m passionate about it, and secondly because it was a great way to get experience as a young person.

What is the best part of what you do on a day-to-day basis? The most challenging part?
The best part of my day-to-day is working with a group of passionate people. The most challenging part is dealing with limited resources as a non-profit arts organization.

What is one sign that you’ve seen over the years to suggest that your work/life balance is off?
The majority of trips I take usually involve attending other music festivals, which could be considered work for me.

Where do you see yourself in five years?
I’d like to continue to be involved with a project that I’m very passionate about. 

What is one major challenge that you’ve had to overcome in your career? How did you overcome it?
Sled Island has been a seasonal job, leaving me to figure out other plans for a good part of the year. I’ve viewed this as a good thing, getting chances to travel, work in other roles and find meaning outside of work. 

What does success look like to you? Does Money = Happiness?
Success is staying true to something you are passionate about and making a positive impact around you. Money does not usually equal happiness. 

What is the most memorable milestone in your career?
It’s an odd one, but overcoming the adversity of cancelling the festival in 2013 due to the floods. Everyone involved kept their composure and worked incredibly well together through the thick of it. 

Do you have any advice for other young professionals?
Do what you want. Pursue your interests. Be open-minded. 

Where is your favourite place to wine/ dine in your city and why?
I’d have to go with Tubby Dog. It’s a hot dog restaurant that hosts all-ages shows and serves tacos every Tuesday. 

When you’re not working how do you love to spend your “Me” time?
I like to relax at home, get outside, and go see shows with friends. 

Where is your favourite place to travel? Why?
I’ve spent a lot of time in Thailand where I partially grew up and had a lot of fun going back in December with my girlfriend, Allie. It’s hard to beat the warm weather, delicious food and generous people. 

If you had to choose a theme song, what would it be?
Again, that’s a tough one, but I’ll go with Arthur Russell’s That’s Us/Wild Combination.

If you weren’t doing what you’re doing, what would you be doing?
I’d like to be working in the movies, that was my first passion. 

Do you support any charities? If so, which one(s) and why is that important to you?
It’s not exactly the same, but I support bands I’m really excited about and are just getting started, like Old and Weird, Freak Heat Waves, Telstar Drugs, Mavo, Viet Cong, Mark Webber, Jerry Paper and Un Blonde.

What to you is notable?
The distance across Canada. The amount of plastic in the ocean. Google.

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#LYNL | (Live Your Notable Life)

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