Sue McLean, a high-profile concert promoter in the Twin Cities and the largest independent female promoter in the world, passed away today from cancer. She was 63.
McLean had a 30-plus year career promoting concerts in Minnesota, starting with booking local bands like the Suicide Commandos and Curtiss A in the ’70s, working as the talent buyer at Duffy’s Nightclub, moving on to the Guthrie Theater to work as Special Events Director in the early ’90s and eventually starting her own company. Sue McLean & Associates was formed in 1998 and has been responsible for booking all 18 Basilica Block Parties, the Music in the Zoo concert series at the Minnesota Zoo, and concerts at the Guthrie—not to mention countless shows at other venues in town, ranging from the historic theaters to clubs.
In addition to maintaining a powerhouse position in the concert industry, McLean was also a highly respected and likable figure in the community, known for her honesty, her integrity, and her love of music and people.
“I like bringing people together, the community of it all. That’s my big thing,” she told Jon Bream as part of an in-depth profile of her business last year. “I get a really good sense of fulfillment, like when we’re at the zoo and there’s all these people having a shared good time.”
She has also spent much of her career promoting self esteem in young women. Over the years she has mentored young students in Minneapolis, created the St. Catherine University Women of Substance Series, and more recently launched the TweenTown Girls Camp in Excelsior, a rock ‘n’ roll camp that was inspired by her experiences raising her adopted daughter, Lilly.
“She was a great woman and an inspiration to all, whether you worked in music or not,” Josh Lacey wrote today. Lacey manages the Varsity Theater and is just one of many, many people to have worked closely with McLean. Musician Kevin Bowe added: “30 years of friendship and never a cross word, she was one of the most purely FUN people I’ll ever know.”
The following statement was posted on Sue McLean & Associates’ website tonight:
Sue McLean and Associates is sad to share that we have lost our dear leader, friend, colleague and family member. Sue McLean died of cancer today, May 17th, at her home surrounded in spirit by all who loved her, her daughter Lilly, family, and friends. Funeral services will be on May 24th at 11AM at the Basilica of St. Mary in Minneapolis. Visitation will be 9:30AM to 11AM in the church prior to the mass, with a reception following the funeral. Music tribute concert and memorial details to come. Thank you for your prayers and support.
“Live Music is Good for Your Soul”