Job Title: Manager, NEXTFest
Why She’s Top 40: This event-planning superstar uses her talents to showcase Edmonton’s emerging artists.
Ever since she was a kid at drama camp, Maggie Barton Baird knew she had a passion for the arts. That led her to pursue a degree in Stage Management from the University of Alberta, where she first put her people skills and knack for organization to practical use. Now, Barton Baird is the Festival Manager for NextFest, an 11-day celebration that highlights Edmonton emerging artists from a multitude of backgrounds and disciplines. This year, NextFest featured more than 500 artists, and curated roughly 100 shows across nine venues in the city. “We support all kinds of emerging talent,” says Barton Baird. “The festival is a meeting ground for artists to collaborate – like the first stop on a creative train ride.”
In 2012, Barton Baird also founded MB & Company, a full-service wedding and event-planning company that embraces all lifestyles and supports local vendors, such as those at RAAS Local Market in West Edmonton Mall. Her devotion to working with local makers gives Barton Baird’s events a trademark flair that feels unique to Edmonton.
Barton Baird also hopes to contribute to the development of a more inclusive wedding industry in Alberta, one that celebrates all people in love. In 2017, MB & Company launched its first formal community investment program by partnering with Camp fYrefly. Ten per cent of all wedding-planning fees are donated to the camp, which supports queer and trans youth.
“Both areas of my career focus on making connections,” explains Barton Baird. “Edmonton has endless potential. I want to encourage people to stay and thrive here.”