NXNE President Michael Hollett Steps Down at NOW Magazine

Phil Brennen
Michael Hollett and Wayne Coyne.

Michael Hollett, the co-founder of Toronto's long-running music festival North by Northeast (NXNE), has resigned his other role as editor/publisher of independent alternative weekly newspaper NOW Magazine to concentrate on the expansion and evolution of NXNE.

The move comes with "mixed feelings" for the man who started the paper in 1981 with Alice Klein. Available free around the city, Hollett helped build the paper into the city's must-read for local news and, in particular, which bands were playing where in Toronto's numerous clubs.  Entrenched in the community, in 1994, with the guidance of SXSW and local partners, he co-founded NXNE, a music festival and conference which took over the downtown core annually in June.

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"After 35 years as editor/publisher of NOW Magazine, I am resigning, effective immediately, from the paper I co-founded in 1981," Hollett wrote in a statement. "I will be concentrating my future efforts on running North by Northeast (NXNE) with my partners from SXSW and on writing. 

"NXNE took huge strides in 2016 and I am committed to building on this growth for 2017 and beyond with exciting ideas I look forward to sharing with all of you soon. Working with my Austin-based partners at Southby, I am convinced we will be able to achieve a SXSW-like impact for Northby in Toronto. Toronto is one of the greatest live music centres in the world and it will continue to be my pleasure to showcase that."

Hollett, who is president and managing director of NXNE, restructured and refocused the festival and conference this year, most significantly adding a gaming component and abandoning the one-fee club-crawl pass. 

"The music scene, both local and international, has always been a key part of my work at NOW -- and Northby -- and this back stage pass into a world I love has been one of the greatest parts of my job as I have watched, and hopefully helped, Toronto take its place as one of the leading Music Cities on the planet," he continued, before thanking everyone from advertisers to politicians and "the brave musicians and artists who, by pursuing their dreams gave me so much to write about."