17-year-old fest covers expanding pop scene – Metro US

17-year-old fest covers expanding pop scene

Indie music aficionados are set to descend on the city for this year’s Halifax Pop Explosion.

Now in its 17th year, the festival has become a fixture on the Canadian music calendar. Over the years, it has grown from a purely music-centric weekend to a full-blown media festival including everything from films to a zine fair.

Waye Mason, executive director of the Pop Explosion, said the varied tastes within the scene have been the cause for the evolution.

“You’ve got the theatre and costume studies students at Dal, you’ve got NSCAD, you’ve got the design and arts students at NSCC, you’ve got the King’s students,” he said of the five-day event, which kicks off tomorrow. “You’ve got this very broad range of people who are into all different kinds of art and pop culture … so naturally we’ve grown over time.”

Mason said that the biggest change over the years, however, has been awareness of the festival.
“Sponsors and government and the media know what we are,” Mason said. “People who were in college or even high school when we started … now they’re actually the people who are decision makers in government, who are sponsors, who are writing in the media.

“We don’t have to explain what the hell we’re talking about over and over because it’s an established thing … we’ve made the case for 17 years about what we do,” he added.

According to Mason, there will be a few “once in a lifetime” opportunities at this year’s festival to check out bands that wouldn’t normally come to Halifax. Those include New York’s Mates of State and California’s Crystal Antlers.

“These are bands that, you know, it’s rare and sold out if they play Toronto … for them to be here is really, really special,” he said.

Shows, venues

Halifax Pop Explosion runs tomorrow through Saturday. For a complete list of shows and venues, go online to www.halifaxpopexplosion.com.