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10 Questions With Movin’ On 2020 Executive Director Michelle Mischler

Penn State’s annual spring music festival Movin’ On, which serves as a collective farewell to State College for the summer, has been an end-of-semester tradition since 1975.

The festival is a family affair for the newly-named executive director of Movin’ On 2020, Michelle Mischler. Her sister, Katie, served as the executive director for the 2017 and 2018 festivals.

We sat down with Michelle to discuss how her experience in organizing the festival has prepared her to run Movin’ On 2020.

Onward State: Has your sister, Katie, (former Movin’ On executive director) given you any advice?

Michelle Mischler: I was involved in Movin’ On since my freshman year so I feel like I’ve been in lowkey training throughout this process. Obviously, a lot of things the executive director does is confidential. However, she did give me tips along the way of how to develop a good working team and how to run with the music industry, how to keep a level head in pressure situations, obviously with last year’s (Movin’ On). It was really cool learning from her and I’ve definitely taken a lot of knowledge and hope to use it in my next year.

OS: How has your involvement prepared you for being executive director?

MM: I think I have a really unique opportunity where I saw every single step of the way of Movin’ On. Movin’ On is divided into a couple of different committees: The promotional team (or promo team) is usually most people’s first step in the door. I was that my freshman year and kind of got the feel of the festival and how it all runs.

I then worked my way up to the Core committee — that’s where you have more of an assigned role. I was the Battle of the Bands co-coordinator as well as hospitality coordinator so I actually got the opportunity to run that event where eight bands get a chance to win a spot for the festival.

I then worked my way up to my position currently, which is Director of Events, where I got to oversee both the promotion team and Battle of the Bands and all of the other events that we run here, so that was pretty cool.

And then finally I moved up to executive director, so I kinda got to see all the steps along the way, I feel like I have a good knowledge of Movin’ On and hopefully I can apply that.

OS: Which Movin’ On has been your favorite?

MM: I would say my freshman year. It was Two Door Cinema Club and it was unbelievable. I did my shifts early on because I was on the promo team and didn’t have too many responsibilities backstage or anything so I actually got to be front row for Two Door Cinema Club and I think they put on a ridiculous concert. Plus I got to see us build up that stage and put on the show, and actually be in the crowd for that show, so it was a pretty unique experience.

OS: What is your dream Movin On’ 2020 lineup?

MM: In no particular order – can I do that? – because I feel like they’re all way too expensive:

  • Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeroes
  • The Beatles (if I could bring them back to life)
  • Kanye West – because although he’s ridiculous, I think he’s awesome
  • The 1975 – because Matty Healy is a really great musician.

OS: How important is it to have a diverse lineup?

MM: Unbelievably important. Since we are funded by the university it is our responsibility to properly show the diverse community that is Penn State, so every year we do our absolute best to not just bring in different types of genres or musical styles but things that represent the different demographics that are at Penn State. So every year we try our very best and definitely will continue to do that for years to come.

OS: What was your reaction to being named executive director?

MM: I was pretty thrilled. I’ve been working for this for a really long time, trying to get internships along the way just so I could be ready for this position. I didn’t want to take on this position if I couldn’t change it for the better or just “do the job,” so getting it was absolutely unbelievable and I’m really really excited to do it.

OS: What is your favorite concert of all time?

MM: I already listed them, but when I got to see Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeroes. I was just out of my freshman year of high school actually, it was really really cool. They’re a big hippy band if you don’t know them, you most likely know the song “Home” by them. They were just a really good time.

OS: What is the most fun part about being involved with Movin’ On?

MM: I just think it’s actually being on a field for two days and building that festival from scratch. I mean, it’s the IM Fields, and then we put a festival on it. So I think it’s putting in hard work all year, putting in A LOT of hard work within those two days, and then seeing the floods of Penn State people coming in and having the time of their lives for one free night of awesome music. Being able to provide that for people is extremely rewarding.

OS: What are your “Desert Island” Albums?

MM: Just because I was listening to it – “Feels” by Animal Collective, for those who know, you know it’s great.

“Magical Mystery Tour” by The Beatles, because again, I love them.

Then…….this is a tricky one.

Can I do the Beastie Boys’ “License to Ill?” Can never remember if it’s “Kill” or “Ill,” but that one’s great.

OS: What is your favorite Dinosaur?

MM: The Pterodactyl! I think it’s cool and it can fly, that’s basically it!

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About the Author

Matthew Ogden

Matthew Ogden is a senior double majoring in Marketing and Journalism. He resides in South Jersey and is the cohost of Onward State's podcast, Podward State, and the blog's preeminent expert on Kanye West. Email him your favorite Spotify playlists to or follow him on Twitter @MattOgden98.

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