Staff profiles: Mike Secord
Imagine filling a small street downtown with 75,000 people and then running a three-day festival for them.
This is exactly what Mike Secord and others organizing the Great Lakes Folk Festival are preparing to do Aug. 12-14 in downtown East Lansing.
Understandably, “To run a festival like this or any big event like this, it’s a year-round job,” said Mike Secord, an associate director of the Great Lakes Folk Festival.
The event is one of the MSU Museum’s largest outreach programs and one of the biggest partnerships between the university and the City of East Lansing.
The festival will include three performance stages, one interactive stage, more than 17 bands, a green arts marketplace, re-skilling workshops, ethnic food vendors, the Taste of the Great Lakes craft beer and wine tent and children’s activities.
“There’s a lot to do culture-wise and frankly just fun-wise in downtown East Lansing,” Secord said of the festival, which is celebrating its 10th year.
It’s Secord’s job to manage the operations and handle the marketing and fundraising for the event, which can be difficult given the current economy. As the number of corporate sponsors has decreased, he has worked hard to make up for it with an increased number of smaller ones. An increasing number of MSU colleges and departments have also been supporting the festival.
As the facility and event manager for the MSU Museum, Secord has been organizing the conference full time for the past three years, but he has been helping out at the festival for the past nine.
“Going back nine years, I have to be quite honest, I wasn’t the biggest folklorist or the expert on folk music coming in,” he said. “But every year, you see something different.”