#BehindTheScenes: Lara Farcasan – Networking & Outreach Manager @ Music Canada Live

#BehindTheScenes is our new series that takes a look at the women working offstage in the Canadian music industry – the movers and shakers that fuel the biz. It’s a realm that was once thought to be the domain of men, but now, more and more females are running the show.

Lara Farcasan is a Networking & Outreach Manager with Music Canada Live, an organization that advocates and supports the live music industry in Canada.

SDTC: Can you walk us through a day in your life?

LF: Usually I get up fairly early, make a pot of coffee then head to my living room office to start work for an hour or so before heading to the gym. Afterwards, my day is a combination of activities, like working on our core programs such as the Regional Advisory Council (which involves consulting music industry leaders from across Canada) and helping Music Canada Live take informed recommendations and industry priorities to governments (advocacy).

Regularly, I plan networking events for our members, develop and execute new programs or project manage special initiatives that Music Canada Live is involved with. For instance, project managing last year’s Austin-Toronto Music Business Trade Summit – a business to business event that matched Austin Music Industry Professionals with Toronto Music Industry Professionals – had a lot of organizing logistics and moving parts.

After the work day is done I usually head to a yoga class then a show at a nearby club if I can.

What are some of the challenges you face in your job? 

The challenges at Music Canada Live are the same at new businesses except with the added layer that our association is historic. The live music business has never had an association of their own before to represent them with governments or to help support their business. Artists have had the Music Industry Associations, the record companies have had Music Canada or CIMA for comparison’s sake, but live music industry has never truly been represented as a whole.

This historic fact presents challenges that are the same as any other start-up even though we’re a non-profit. We’re a small staff with a high workload and limited resources. We all work remotely, which means you have to be disciplined and self-motivated. It’s challenging because you’re always wearing multiple hats.

What is your favourite part of the job?

Our big picture goal: creating the conditions for concerts to thrive. Being in-service to our membership ensures that fans can keep being inspired by live music for a long time to come, and Canadian artists have an ecosystem that supports their ability to grow – from playing a small club to mega-festival to arena.

It’s important we don’t lose sight of the fact that live music and art give people reasons to share an experience. Sharing experiences and congregating is important for our health and well-being (for everyone – artists and fans alike). We’re just on the cusp of beginning to understand why live music is so powerful and necessary to health and wellness – not only to the culture but to the individual – which is very exciting.

Describe Toronto’s music scene in 2016. 

Toronto’s music scene is eclectic with a voracious appetite to cross-pollinate. I think in 2016 we really laid the foundation for this to happen. The narrative of Toronto’s music scene has been importance of venues to facilitate this cross-pollination. Because venues are such important incubators for musical artists and industry, keeping our venues healthy is only going to lead to more exciting music and revolution. That’s really what Live Music is about at a certain level – communication, revolution and shared experience. It’s a slow process but it’s exciting to see its promise, especially with a national association driven to bring these clusters together.

What are you excited for in 2017?

I’m really excited for the second annual Live Music Industry Awards that Music Canada Live and Canadian Music Week have partnered on (coming up this April). It’s always exciting to see the people working behind the scenes getting acknowledged for their contributions to the live music industry.

I’m excited for the business and career development programs Music Canada Live is rolling out for our members this year, including virtual networking events and get-togethers. Anytime I can get people to come together is always the most exciting for me. Give people an opportunity to congregate and you set the stage for innovation and collaboration – isn’t that what live music is all about?

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