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Kamloops promoter’s death elicits outpouring of memories on social media

Drew McLean, best known from Kammerce Productions, passed away on Nov. 8
Kelowna-based comedian Velina Taskov posted this photo, which was taken by Matt Baker. She called McLean "a true producer of comedy and a dear friend."

Kamloops promoter and entertainment entrepreneur Drew McLean has died.

Through Kammerce Productions and other endeavours, McLean brought music, comedy and more to city venues for more than a decade — providing a stage for countless performers from Kamloops and beyond.

In the wake of McLean's death, those who worked with him took to social media to express their grief and appreciation for all of McLean’s work.

Among those making posts was the Effie Arts Collective, a recent project of McLean's to establish a new venue. In recent months, several comedians have taken the stage at the former Stage House Theatre in North Kamloops as the city continues to emerge from pandemic restrictions.

"It was always his dream to own his own stage, where he could support new talent and give a chance to anyone who wanted to try something on stage,” reads a statement posted to the Effie Arts Collective Facebook page on Tuesday.

“He did more himself than most full committees and please bear with us as we find our way forward without his driving spirit. Our hearts are with Drew's family right now and it will be in his memory that we will continue to make The Effie shine and be what he wanted it to be,"

Kamloops comedian Sam Elliott called McLean an "amazing supporter of the arts and performers in general."

"He gave myself and a lot of other young comics and musicians incredible opportunities and support, but mainly he was an amazing person and friend to everyone that knew him," Elliott wrote.

Musician JP Lancaster, who worked with McLean as an artist and producer, said he had a chance to get to know McLean over the past two years.

"Obscure Blazers trivia, NFL chat, 90s references. It was a great reminder that you usually have more common ground with someone than you think," Lancaster wrote.

Friend and business partner Aaron Shufletoski called the loss devastating.

"Drew was there no matter what, even without being asked to, just being damn supportive and practical, and I hope he knew how much he meant to me. Rest easy, friend," he wrote.

David "Pup" Johnston, owner of The Blue Grotto, also weighed in via social media, likening McLean to a family member.

"Drew's resumé of events in this town is legendary. He brought music and comedy to The Blue Grotto and many other venues in town. ‘Rising tides float all boats’ was a phrase he often used. A true realist. His word was his bond and he never missed the details," Johnston wrote.

Daughter Cass McLean also acknowledged the loss on social media, calling her father "an amazing man, my best friend, role model and mentor."

McLean's family has asked for privacy in wake of his passing, which occurred on Monday, Nov. 8.