"When I took the job a lot of those issues that the industry is now facing, they weren’t at the forefront at the time," says Long of the inclusion and diversity pushes in the cultural (and all) industries in recent years. "Probably close to 50 percent of my time there, those issues just weren’t talked about a lot or enough, though they were bubbling under, obviously.
"A big part of my job over the past few years has been working on those issues. It’s hard work and it’s ongoing and it’s never-ending, obviously, because there’s so much to be done. We’re just scratching the surface. The issues we’re facing as a business overall on a worldwide level—lack of venues, the impact of streaming services, how the business models are changing—a lot of those things haven’t been on the radar. It’s been very interesting, very enlightening. Those challenges are difficult and they require a lot of work. It’s helped me personally in developing myself professionally."
MNS's operations manager Lisa Stitt is interim executive director while the board of directors searches for Long's replacement.
"You have to really truly love music," Long advises any potential applicants. "It’s the biggest thing. Sure you need to have chops as an administrator, making sure you have investment and funding and sponsorship. But you have to be passionate about the music here. That’s what this organization is really about at the end of the day—to champion our artists the best way we can with the resources we have."
Long, who played bagpipes in Ashley MacIsaac's band during the "Sleepy Maggie" heyday, is now managing director and executive producer of the Royal Nova Scotia International Tattoo.