Michael Hollett co-founded Toronto’s NOW Magazine, North America’s largest alternative newsweekly in 1981 and he co-founded that city’s North by Northeast (NXNE) music and technology festival and conference in 1995, one of the biggest in Canada, with partners from Austin’s SXSW.
NXNE has become one of the most important music festivals in the world, growing dramatically over its almost quarter of a century. It remains an essential event for discovering new music as well as gaining an international reputation for showcasing some of the world’s top emerging bands in spectacular setting.
Hollett was NOW’s editor/publisher for over 35 years until he resigned in July, 2016 to focus on NXNE fulltime. As editor/publisher, Hollett helped shaped NOW’s editorial vision as well as leading it on the business side. He regularly wrote for the magazine, especially on music, politics and culture.
He has travelled the world for stories and to attend music festivals. His interview subjects include: Robert Plant, Neil Young, Yoko Ono, Woody Harrelson, The Tragically Hip, Suzanne Vega, Blue Rodeo, Robbie Robertson, Norman Mailer, Gay Talese, Frank McCourt, Gill Scott Heron, Joni Mitchell, James Brown and many more including up and coming musicians and, municipal, provincial and national politicians.. He has covered dozens of municipal, federal and provincial elections, traveled to Austin, Texas with Toronto mayors Rob Ford and John Tory and covered the Olympics in Beijing in 2008.
Hollett remains a key player on the Toronto, Canadian and international music scene and has been a founding board member of Music Canada Live, an advocacy group for the Canadian live music industry, since 2014. He has helped the City of Toronto’s Music City initiative and has been critical in connecting the official and ad hoc music communities of Toronto and Austin, Texas as well as those in other cities.
He was also a board member of the Association of Alterative Newsmedia (AAN) from 2009 until 2016.