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Midwest Music Foundation Staff Spotlight: Jenni "Mac" McSpadden

Midwest Music Foundation Staff Spotlight: Jenni "Mac" McSpadden

The Midwest Music Foundation staff constantly works behind the scenes at live music events you have likely attended. They’re the ones who search for facilities, supply entertainment, coordinate with vendors, and generally ensure that your live music experience will be a good one. They’re also the ones that get the word out about musicians’ health care and other educational resources for musicians, filling a vital gap in the community.
Before the advent of the sixth annual Apocalypse Meow benefit, we hear back from some of the staff to find out what they do and why they do it. We’re talking here with Jenni “Mac” McSpadden, co-founder and Managing Director.
The Deli: When and how did you first get involved with MMF?
Mac: I was there at the beginning. Before the beginning, actually. Angela [Lupton] and I worked with Amy Farrand and Abigail [Henderson] on a pre-MMF organization that never quite got off the ground (or rather just became MMF). I believe it was a Tuesday night at Davey's Uptown when we crystalized the ideas and mission of MMF and decided to make a go of it.
The Deli: What is your current role with the organization?
Mac: Cat herder and list maker. I am the Managing Director. It means that I take care of the day-to-day running of the organization, as well as work on projects such as membership, volunteers, and programming.
The Deli: Why is MMF such an important cause to you? What do you hope it will accomplish in the future?
Mac: I am a painter and I have directly and indirectly benefited from the vast support system in place here in KC for visual artists. I am also a musician—well, I am trying and learning to be one. Art and music are the things that, to me, make life worth living. Devoting oneself to their pursuits is not only a worthy endeavor, it is essential work. It deserves to be treated as such. Unfortunately in our society too often artists of all kinds are marginalized. Organizations like MMF seek to counter that. My dream for MMF is that it is a place (both physical and digital) where musicians can come and find the support they need to do what they do best. I would love for us to have a building with a performance space, recording, and practice studios, and be a place where musicians can work together and network with the community at large. We have an incredible pool of talent here in KC. I not only want young musicians to realize that KC is a town that loves its music and want to stay here, I want musicians from other places to move here because they know they are valued and respected.
The Deli: Who are some of your favorite local artists?
Mac: I haven't been out in the world for a couple of years with any regularity—children will do that—so many of my favorites are no longer: Pendergast, The Supernauts, It's Over, to name a few. Current favorites are Amy Farrand, The Grisly Hand, Howard Iceberg, and Not a Planet. The Gaslights were my first KC band though, and they will always have my heart.
The Deli: Do you have a favorite memory of a past Meow? 
Mac: My favorite Meow was the original one. Three nights of balls-to-the-wall insanity. I ran the stage that year and the night we were at Davey's I had to plan my movements 15 minutes in advance because there were so many people there; it took that long to get around! It was astounding to see the outpouring of love and affection that our community heaped on Miss Abigail that weekend.
The Deli: What are you most looking forward to about this year's Meow?
Mac: That is a tough question, because of course I am looking forward to it, but it’s going to be a hard one without Abby there. I know I won't be the only one feeling that and so I think that what I am most looking forward to is that sense of community that I felt at the first Meow and have felt so many times since. I look forward to being with my people, listening to music in this town that I love so much, and raising my glass to my friend who I miss so much.

Raise a glass with Mac this weekend at Apocalypse Meow. It starts tomorrow, November 1 at The Midwestern Musical Co. and Saturday at Knuckleheads. Doors open at 6 pm both nights. Friday’s show is free and all ages, Saturday’s show is $10, 21+. Visit http://www.apocalypsemeow.net for a full lineup and schedule. Ticket linkFacebook event page. To find out more about MMF, visit http://midwestmusicfound.org, and learn about Abby's Fund for musicians' health care.


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