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Get to know our adjudicators

Andy McAllister will be adjudicating rock and pop at WCAF this year. Read on to learn a little bit more about her and find out about his performances at Glastonbury and almost being blown away whilst on stage in Germany!


Andy McCallister

I have been playing music since I was five, initially starting with piano before finding my real love of rhythm in drumming, making the drum kit my main instrument. I also work in music production and composition, mainly producing electronic genres and music for film and television.

Music has allowed me to travel around the world and I have performed in France, Germany, Spain, Holland, Luxembourg, Norway, Denmark, the US and all around the UK. I have also played at some notable festivals including Glastonbury and WOMAD.  I am an examiner for an international music exam board and that role has seen me tour South Africa and India

When not on the road performing I work on my side project, four three six, researching global rhythms in context and creating media based on the research.  Most recently this has taken the form of a series of podcasts, Place & Time, featuring drummers, producers and musicologists telling stories of rhythm.

We caught up with Andy to find out a little more about him:

What are your top tips for preparing for a performance at a festival?

It’s good to think about your performance in two ways;  the bigger picture and the smaller detail.  Ensure you are prepared so your performance will flow smoothly, you know the practicalities of setting up, your set list, and the general mood or vibe you want to convey.  Then sweat the small stuff, zoom in on the details and work on those tricky bits and technical challenges.  You want those to sound as smooth and natural as the easier sections so the whole performance is cohesive.  Also, don’t forget the audience!

Who is your favourite band/performer and why?

There are so many great performances I’ve been lucky enough to see so choosing one performer is difficult.  But in terms of presenting a performance that combines everything from technical prowess to stagecraft with a good dose of humility, the Peter Gabriel I saw in Manchester last year is difficult to beat.

What is your favourite/funniest/first memory of performing at a festival yourself

here are many!  One that is funny now, but was a little scary at the time, was when I performed at a festival in North East Germany. We were on an outdoor stage and half way through our set a storm came in pretty quickly. There were very strong winds and the rain was being blown horizontally on the stage.  Out the corner of my eye I could see some movement, and realised it was the stage crew scaling the back of the structure to cut away the canvas so we didn’t get blown over!  Needless to say, we were the last band on that stage that day, and didn’t do an encore!

What is your advice for dealing with nerves?

Nerves can be a good thing, it shows that you care and you’re invested, and the adrenaline that accompanies can at times aid your performance.  However, if things get too much, I always find a few slow, deep breaths will help.

What is your favourite food?

I enjoy trying food wherever I travel, and I like to then attempt to replicate the experience when I get back home (with varying degrees of success).  I’m always keen to try things I haven’t experienced before so my favourite food is probably the food I haven’t tried yet!

Where is the most exciting place you have adjudicated?

In terms of sensory experience and complete culture shock, New Delhi has to be one of the most exhilarating places I’ve travelled to with this work.

Do you have a pet? If so, what is it and what is/are their name(s)?

Sadly, due to being away from home a lot, I don’t have a pet.  Although I am a dog person, so if I were to get a pet, it’d be a dog.  I live vicariously through my dog-owning friends, if someone I know gets a dog they suddenly see a lot more of me!

Tell us a little-known fact about yourself...

  • I’m a huge coffee geek and generally come back from overseas work with a suitcase full of different coffees I’ve picked up on my travels.

Thanks so much for letting us get to know you a little better, Andy!

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