Arts + Music » Music

Waye Mason Passes the Buck

Some bad puns considered for the title of this post: Don't Walk A-Waye, Waye Did You Go? and No Waye! He's Leaving the Pop Explosion


Waye To Go! (sorry everyone.)
  • This photo was taken for exclaim when Waye was interviewed for their Music School section. Click on the photo and you can read it!
  • Waye To Go! (sorry everyone.)

It was sort of a shock to log onto for the first of ten million times this morning and pause at Waye Mason's deceptively casual post about a new job opportunity—-namely, his.

Yes, it's true—-Mason is stepping down from his position as Executive Director of the Halifax Pop Explosion and is actively helping to look for a replacement. (You can check out the full job description here.) Although the Pop Explosion is but one aspect of Mason's 20-year-immersion in the Halifax music scene (he's been instrumental in nearly every music organization in this city, from CKDU to Music Nova Scotia to Ticketpro) it's tough to imagine it without his distinct touch—-equal parts business acumen and passion for music both at home and abroad, as well as a pretty serious pair of cojones. Mason has served as Director since 2001, and says he will continue to work on the festival's board. He is a busy dude but took some time out from his work teaching at NSCC to answer a few of our questions about his decision.

So why are you leaving the position now, specifically?

Waye: The festival is getting bigger, we are about 15 times larger than we were in 1993 in terms of bands, activities, and the size of the budget. We really need to have a full time staff person. We are starting to hit a point where we are missing opportunities because I just don’t have time to respond. I have this amazing day job at NSCC, so we need to find someone who can work at the festival full time, and make sure we continue to make all the partners and artists feel that we are doing our very best for them.

What's your new role on the Board going to be?

The Board decided to add me to their ranks, and the exact role will be determined next meeting, probably Chair or Vice Chair - Artistic Direction. I hold a lot of the vision and ideals of the festival in my head, and I want to be around to help the festival keep moving in that direction, and I want to make sure the new Executive Director is not just sitting there with the whole complex thing dumped on them, with no help and no context.

Do you think it will be hard to step back after all your years of involvement?

I have to admit I had a little panic attack when I pressed the “post” button on the website to put up the job posting! I have been involved with this thing since 1996, but it is time to try new things.

What will you miss most (and what won't you miss?)

I will not miss the worrying. The buck stops with you. The ED has to make sure there is enough money to pay everyone, and make sure that the money comes in faster than it goes out, which is getting harder to do as more and more sponsors want to pay after the event. Ultimately, you have to give all of the many staff and volunteers enough responsibility to put their mark on the event, to play from their strengths, but if it goes wrong, you are the boss, and you have to be responsible for it.

I will miss connecting local artists to international artists that they adore, and helping annually to celebrate all my friends and colleagues musical successes. I will still get to do this though, both at NSCC and as a supporter of the festival!

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