Decades later, Long is now an executive director at Music Nova Scotia, overseeing the business end of the industry and networking with international buyers at this year’s NS Music Week in Truro Nov. 2-5.
“In the background while the festival is going on, there’s this entire business-to-business component going on for the industry itself,” said Long.
This includes talent executives, music label representatives, purchasers buying live shows and booking agents among others, all contributing to a festival that now pumps more than $2 million a year into the provincial economy.
And industry representatives at NSMW will find rich pickings in a broad pool of local talent, according to Long.
Already, local music is being exported as far afield as Germany, where Nova Scotian artists such as Halifax-based Neon Dreams are enjoying increasingly high demand.
The NSMW conference will also discuss the British market and opportunities there for Nova Scotia musicians, as well as exploring urban music genres and women in music.
“We see breakthroughs of our artists all the time,” said Long, adding that the investment in local talent is paying off.
Even as Long nurtures the next generation of talent, he has not forgotten his Pictou County roots, a place where he found his passion for music, relaxed on beaches and enjoyed “beer on the water.”
The one-time bagpiper left New Glasgow to attend St. Francis Xavier University, but did not graduate.
Instead, Long hit the road, lending his bagpiping talents to acts including Cape Breton fiddle player Ashley MacIsaac and U.S.-based Celtic Rockers Seven Nations.
In 2008 he joined Music Nova Scotia, where the business side of the industry offered him a more settled “nine-to-five” lifestyle, after thousands of miles on the road.
“Being on the road is great when you’re younger,” said Long.
NSMW began in 1997 and today offers every type of music: rock, country, gospel, hip-hop, electronic, pop, Celtic, folk, singer-songwriter, punk, metal and more.
The event itself has grown year-by-year to become one of Canada’s leading music festivals and business-to-business music industry conferences.
Today, NSMW attracts more than 1,100 music industry professionals and 7,000 music fans.
Acts at this year’s festival include Wintersleep, The Mellotones and many others.
“Come to Truro in November and discover your new favourite band from Nova Scotia,” said Long.
For tickets and more information on NSMW please go to https://nsmw.ca.