For the twentieth time in just over two decades, Halifax Pop Explosion filled it's coastal capital city with world-class music programming. Running from October 22 to 26, HPX brought artists and industry professionals from all over to take part in five jam-packed days of music.
The annual festival began in 1993 and has since grown into the biggest music festival east of Montreal. With over 200 bands and two dozen venues on board (not to mention a fully operational conference, comedy series and zine fair), Pop Explosion feels like an entire season onto itself. This year's headliners included Atlanta rap legend Killer Mike, Calgary's Chad VanGaalen, Fat Possum records' The Walkmen, local hero Joel Plaskett, the award-winning post-hardcore band Fucked Up, and Californian surf-punks Wavves.
Day 1 – Halifax Pop Explosion 2013: Dana Beeler, The Darcys, Coyote and Rich Aucoin. Credit: HPXHFX.
Saturday offered a daytime performance by Chad VanGaalen in the aforementioned Marquee Ballroom. VanGaalen, no stranger to HPX, gave fans a treat by performing mostly new, unreleased material and bridging the gaps with hilarious stage banter. My evening included attendance at a totally riveting Dirty Beaches show and avoiding the cool autumn rain by making a late-night stop at the artists' lounge set up at the Khyber Centre For The Arts.
In a city like Halifax that sits off the beaten track of most touring routes, Halifax Pop Explosion continues to offer a vital and exciting service for maritime music fans. Replete with opportunities to see big names in small venues, make connections while conferencing and share a few laughs at the comedy club, HPX is a longtime supporter of local and national music that has me returning each fall for a taste of the world's culture.