Meet Shannon McNevan – The Guy Who Helped Us Find Our WayHome

The Executive Director and Founder of Republic Live talks with Indie88

Have you heard? Ontario is getting a brand new festival this summer called WayHome Music & Arts! Coming to Burl’s Creek in Barrie is 3 days of music, art, camping and fun. After sparse details and cryptic messages, the massive lineup was announced featuring headliners Sam Smith, Kendrick Lamar, Alt-J, Modest Mouse, and Hozier. If you’re looking for someone to thank, that person is the festival co-founder Shannon McNevan.

This is your opportunity to learn more about Ontario’s newest music festival.

ShannonMcNevan_250x313INDIE88: How did this festival come together?

SM: There’s a group of friends, and we thought we were huge music fans and went down to Bonnaroo, and it just blew my mind. The cool part was that at the end of the day you talk for three hours about who you saw and why it was cool and what you missed. We met people from all over the world and you have this weird connectivity when everybody’s there for one reason. Afterwards, we were talking about and thought, there’s gotta be something like this around here!
INDIE88: How will the festival/stages be laid out?

SM: We brought in Jim Tobin, the guy who does the logistics for Bonnaroo. In the last three months, he’s been moving so much dirt and graded these amphitheatres. With the 5% grade, you’re gonna be able to look over the head of the guy in front of you back for 70,000 people.
INDIE88: How many music fans can we expect at this festival per day?

SM: It’ll be three days of music. In looking at everything this year, the goal is in the 45,000 range, for people to camp and experience the whole thing, even though we know some people won’t camp.
INDIE88: What kind of experience are you hoping fans get from the festival?

SM: The goal is for this to be a “time of your life” festival – for it to be one of those moments where it’s just full of memories, so when you look back you’re like I remember my first Bonnaroo – I literally can break it down in to moments.
INDIE88: How does this festival separates itself from other Ontario/Canadian festivals like Osheaga and Field Trip?

SM: The most obvious would be camping, creating that community on-site where you don’t leave and then come back the next day clean and worried about what you’re looking like. You go back to your campsite and you continue the experience the next morning.
INDIE88: Is there a specific style of music you are looking to bring to the festivities?

SM: It’s all over the map, literally everything from rap, rock, folk, like across [genres]. To break it down into a cheesy, cliche sentence: our goal is to find music that inspires us.
INDIE88: Water bottles and drinking stations have become cherished commodities at festivals, have you thought about adding these into the mix?

SM: That’s the stuff we’re working on now. Instead of saying to sponsors, hey come and put up a booth with your sign we are going over the list of needs and saying can we work with you to make this better?
INDIE88: So, in terms of Bonnaroo, other than the program style, what kind of similarities will we see between the two festivals?

SM: Our partnership with AC Entertainment focuses mainly around the artist and around the curation pieces – what they bring to Bonnaroo, they bring to our festival. The experiences on site, their ideas of the Super Jams – those are pieces that will be the biggest similarities.
INDIE88: Is there going to be other elements besides the music?

SM: There will be some. Our goal is to start with the music and add the art side with the spectacles and the interactive pieces and things that would ideally encourage people who might not think they appreciate art or haven’t been exposed to it in a way that really resonates with them. So you could say that isn’t technically programming in the sense that it doesn’t go on the schedule but those are the pieces we really want people to be exposed to.
INDIE88: Will be people be able to bring their little ones?

SM: We won’t have an area specific to that, just because the goal is to make it totally immersive. You come to it and everyone’s accepted and so we hope so, in the same way that every year we see parents bringing their kids to Bonnaroo.

Find your WayHome here.