Local Current Blog

Minnesota Music Coalition to honor Sue McLean as 2018 Minnesota Music Champion

Sue McLean at the Weesner Family Amphitheater. (courtesy Sue McLean and Associates)

The Minnesota Music Coalition is awarding the late concert promoter Sue McLean with the 2018 Minnesota Music Champion Award. The Minnesota Music Coalition is hosting a concert on April 13 at the O’Shaughnessy at St. Catherine University to celebrate Sue McLean’s legacy.

Sue McLean built her reputation as a trailblazing concert promoter by working in the Twin Cities for over 30 years. She began her career booking bands such as the Suicide Commandos and Curtiss A in the ’70s, when she worked as a talent buyer at Duffy’s Nightclub. In the ’90s, she served as the special events director at the Guthrie Theater.

In 1998, McLean founded her own independent concert promotions firm, Sue McLean & Associates. The firm has booked the Basilica Block Party since the festival’s inception. Sue McLean & Associates also produces the Music in the Zoo series at the Minnesota Zoo, and organizes over 100 local and national concerts every year.

Sue McLean passed away in 2013 from cancer. The same year, First Avenue hosted a concert in tribute to her life and work which featured performances from a host of local musicians.

Throughout her career, McLean served as a mentor for young women in the arts. She founded the St. Catherine University Women of Substance Series and started the TweenTown Girls Camp in Excelsior.

Throughout the local scene, McLean is remembered for her ability to bring people together through music. Her favorite saying was, “Live music is good for the soul.”

Sue’s niece and acting CEO of Sue McLean & Associates, Patricia McLean, will accept the 2018 Minnesota Music Champion Award on behalf of her family.

The Minnesota Music Coalition will present the award at a concert featuring performances from Portland indie artist Laura Veirs; Prairie Fire Lady Choir; and Minneapolis-based vocalist and 2017 Minnesota Music Champion, Jayanthi Kyle. The concert will be hosted by The Current’s Andrea Swensson. Tickets are available online via The O’Shaughnessy’s website.

The concert is part of the MN Music Summit, a 3-day music festival and conference located at various Twin Cities venues, including St. Catherine University. This year’s theme is dedicated to amplifying women’s voices. The MN Music Summit will host keynote conversations, music workshops, industry panels, networking events, talks, and performances by prominent Minnesota musicians, including Babes in Toyland drummer Lori Barbero; R&B singer PaviElle; and veteran rocker Venus DeMars, a pioneering transgender artist. The coalition has declared April to be Minnesota Music Month.

Colleen Cowie is a student at Macalester College. She hosts the show Locally Sourced on WMCN.