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JoshuaAs we drift through these final days of winter, our festival takes form. An autonomous bloom of aesthetic indulgence and irreverence. It’s growing. The details are locking-up. We’ll be able to announce the entire lineup before the end of the month. There may be a pre-festival event as well. So hold tight. To ease your wait, today we’ve decided to offer up just a taste. A couple sweet jazzers.

We’re thrilled to announce Chicago’s Joshua Abrams’ Natural Information Society. Fire jazz, modal music, zoned spiritualism. Jams for psychic transport. All things. Magnetoception, the band’s latest full length, is easily one of the most exciting jazz albums of the decade. It made best of the year lists on Pitchfork, The Wire, Magnet Magazine and more. Abrams and co. remind us that jazz can indeed be of another dimension.

From a world-renowned trio to a duo of local leaders — OBEY Convention is grateful to nab xxvii for their inaugural festival performance. Consisting of man-about-town sax and keys lightening rod Nick Dourado and recent Juno nominee Andrew MacKelvie, xxvii, like Abrams, swim the cosmic seas of spirit jazz. For us, they’re one of the most exciting projects in Halifax right now.

Also be sure to spend time with the artists we listed last month — Mykki Blanco, Zs, Nadja, Marie Davidson, and New Fries. We’ll announce the full lineup, over 20 more acts, by the end of March. And we’ll tell you about EverySeeker Symposium and Art In Fest in April.

EARLY BIRD PASSES are clearing out but remain available.

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mykki-thumbSpring in Nova Scotia awakens with the ninth installment of Atlantic Canada’s premier festival of free ideas in music and art, the OBEY Convention. Taking place in the city’s parks, churches, libraries, concert halls and night clubs, this year’s festival promises to be our boldest.

Over the course of four days, we will host ten main events alongside multiple free-to-attend happenings. There will be concerts, artist talks, a bell walk, installations, workshops, a multi-city collaboration with Weird Canada’s Drone Day and so much more. Getting everyone involved is important to us. So besides offering a portion of our programme to the public at no cost, for the first time ever, we will be making ALL unlicensed events free to folks under 19. That’s just one new initiative of many.

As always, the festival will host an eclectic mix of local, national, and international artists. To pique your interest, here are just five to consider: underground rap and performance artist Mykki Blanco; New York’s renowned avant-jazz futurists, Zs; Montreal’s bright light in dark minimal wave, Marie Davidson; Berlin’s transcendental metal droners, Nadja; and New Fries, the angular noise-punk heroes of Toronto’s weirdside scene.

Over two dozen more artists will be announced in March. We’ll also bring you info on The Khyber Centre for the Arts standalone visual art festival, Art In Fest. And we’ll tell you about EverySeeker Symposium, a brand new performative Iecture series that explores the intersection of sound and other disciplines such as craft, science, psychotherapy, storytelling, dance, and video. There’s much to look forward to at the end of May in Halifax.

A limited quantity of reasonably priced Early Bird Festival Passes are available now through Ticket Halifax.

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OBEY Convention IX takes places May 26th to 29th at various venues throughout Halifax. Interested in performing? If so, email us at We are looking for unique artists and concepts. Thanks for your interest and have a fine holidays.

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obey-memberFirst of all, we would like to send a warm thank you to 2015’s artists, partners, volunteers, billets, and audience members. OBEY Convention VIII was a special installment. The energy and sense of community running throughout the weekend was like nothing we’ve ever experienced. Our team wrapped up the festivities feeling more inspired and motivated than ever.

So here we are. What started as a few DIY shows strung together by friends has turned into a nationally recognized festival. This journey is exciting but also comes with many challenges. Now more than ever, we need to harness the festival’s growth and build OBEY Convention into a sustainable organization, one which will be a champion of contemporary music and art in Halifax for years to come.

To this end, we feel it’s important to build a strong membership. On one hand, we need to find new streams of revenue in order to keep up with the increasing demands of running an active non-profit. But we also want to implant ourselves more directly into the fabric of Halifax. We want to build a foundation of community support and have direct access to the people invested in our success.

If you would like to see OBEY Convention exist well into the future, please consider becoming a member. The packages are priced reasonably and offer many incentives, including discounts and full festival passes. If you have any questions, shoot us an email.

Together we can make Nova Scotia a thriving centre for the arts. Thanks so much for your support.



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Welcome to OBEY Convention VIII. In the coming days Halifax will play host to musicians from across Canada, the USA, and beyond. There will be displays of virtuosity, both blissful and punishing explorations in electronics, late night punk damage, and waves of ambient drone. We also have a slew of DJs, tightly curated interlude music, video installations, floral adornments, and even a festival beer by Garrison. We truly believe there is something for each and every one of you this year.

Besides our main concerts, we also offer a number of free events, including a noisy affair outside Memorial North Library on Friday and a blissful afternoon of poetry and harmonium on Sunday at Common Roots Urban Farm. There will be workshops, discussions, pop-up shows, spoken word performances, and, of course, the Khyber’s standalone visual art festival, Art In Fest.

Passes are now SOLD OUT. Single tickets are still available for select shows.

Since things get a little chaotic during the weekend, we thought it would be best to go over a few logistical details here. If you have any questions during the festival, just say howdy to one of us or shoot off an email. Okay, we’ll see you soon.

Passes Pick-up and Usage
Pass bracelets can be picked up at The Khyber Centre for the Arts starting Thursday at 11am or at the door of any festival event. Please bring ID. Paid passes guarantee admission to all events. That being said, please be patient with our volunteers and try to arrive early, if possible. Some of the venues are quite small, so dealing with capacity will require finesse from or door personnel. Let’s all work together! Comp passes—artists, volunteers, etc—are capacity based. There are a lot of these passes! We usually do quite well at getting most of you inside, but again, show up early at the smaller venues. Passes are non-transferable.

Khyber Lounge (5521 Cornwallis St.)
Our friends at the Khyber will be opening their doors to festival goers and weary souls alike. Need a place to replenish your spirit and have a snack? The artist-run centre will be hosting an all-ages crash pad and snack club, a 19+ cash-only dive bar, as well as a gnarly installation from local artist Emily Pelstring, Standard Play. They will also be selling OBEY Convention Music and Arts Society memberships throughout the weekend. May 21-23, 11am-6pm (bar 1pm-6pm)

Lost & Found (2383 Agricola St.)
Our friends at Lost & Found are the exclusive brick-and-mortar retailer for our tickets and passes. They are also rife with festival guides for both OBEY Convention and Art In Fest. And it’s just a rad store, so drop by. Tickets and passes are also available online and at the door of select events.

Visiting Halifax?
Nice to meet you. If you are looking for a nourishing meal, check our Field Guide or Edna. Shopping for records? Hit up Obsolete or Taz. Need a place to crash? The Westin is nice. For a bed on the cheap, check out Alter Egos. Comics and collectables can be found at Strange Adventures. Java Blend, Two If by Sea, and The Trident have the best coffee in town. And for no cost activities, stroll through the Public Gardens or Point Pleasant Park, visit our new Central Library (our festival kicks off there with Peter Brotzmann and Jerry Granelli on Thursday), or head out to Lawrencetown Beach. Have the best time and thanks for visiting.

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Due to circumstances beyond our control, we regret to inform you that Omar Souleyman will be unable to perform at this year’s OBEY Convention. All tickets purchased online will be fully refunded early next week. Those of you who purchased festival passes at full value (after early bird pricing) will receive a partial refund at some point in the next few days.

The show will go on, but we’re moving to 10pm at Menz and Mollyz Bar (2182 Gottingen St). The revised lineup will consist of Absolutely Free, Petra Glynt (just added), Love Thy Will Be Done, and DJ Fadzwa.

Sorry for any inconvenience.
Despite this unfortunate circumstance, we remain steadfast and looking forward.


Team OBEY Convention

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The season is upon us. OBEY Convention VIII gets underway is less than 3 weeks. Artists will soon be traveling to Halifax from all over for our annual celebration of contemporary music and art. If you haven’t perused our lineup yet, do it now. Our 2015 installment covers a wide array of sonic bemusement. We offer you world-class jazz, Syrian wedding music, industrial techno, new age classical, chamber drone, various flavors of avant-guitar music, dreamy electronics and so much more.

For those not yet prepared for the weekend, know that passes and single tickets are now available for purchase from our friends at Lost & Found (2383 Agricola St., Halifax). Of course, online purchase is still available as well. TICKETS | PASSES

Please keep in mind that we have a limited number of full weekend passes still available. We’ve already sold more than last year’s total, so there’s a possibility we’ll have to take these off sale at some point. So act fast. If you have purchased a pass, thank you so much. You will be able to pick up your bracelet on opening day at either Lost & Found or the door of any event. Just bring along your ID.

Okay, follow us on Facebook and Twitter for updates as they happen. We have a number of exciting developments in the works, including a “promotional” video by Seth Smith (see screenshot above), concert installations by James Gauvreau, live streaming of select events by CKDU, Khyber Festival Lounge details, a full Art In Fest lineup, and more. See you soon.

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Despite the frigid winds and the lingering blankets of snow, our hearts are in a spring fever. Today we offer a guide to help you dream along with us. Take a look at the full schedule for our 2015 installment.

Firstly, we want to make mention of two late additions to the roster. Hailing from Montreal, ex-Haligonians Romy and Sari Lightman bring us nuanced art-pop as Tasseomancy. They’ll be summoning a set of fresh tracks from their new record, Palm Wine Revisited (due May 5th on Healing Power Records), at our Sunday afternoon show with local of-the-moment gurus Gift from God. And for the late night fare, we add rural Nova Scotia’s gnarliest techno fiend, Parliament, to a bill with Crousetown’s kaleidoscopic wunder-junkers, JOYFULTALK.

We’re psyched to be taking over some of our favourite venues again: the venerable Fort Massey Church, the mighty Bus Stop Theatre, the delectable Menz Bar and the esteemed Maritime Conservatory. And to have the support and hospitality of the Halifax Public Libraries again is a great honour. We’ll be running workshops, artist talks and pop-up shows throughout the festival at both the North Memorial Branch and the brand new Halifax Central Library.

For the first day of the festival, we’re dipping into new territory by presenting an early-evening artist talk at the Halifax Central Library with free-jazz legend Peter Brotzmann and drum-heller Jerry Granelli. Then, we offer an evening engagement at the Halifax Music Co-op with Brooklyn’s Bing & Ruth and genius improv duo Not The Wind Not The Flag. Following that, we’ve got a glorious party planned at the Marquee Club with Syrian legend Omar Souleyman, prog-poppers Absolutely Free, neo-souls Love Thy Will Be Done (aka THOMAS) and one of Halifax’s finest dance floor firestarters, DJ Fadzwa. Also joining the heat force throughout the weekend are NSCAD’s reigning champ DJ Doris, dark matter master DJ A.J. Pearson, and from Montreal, Psychic Handshake’s DJ Malville and Homeshake’s very own DJ Baby Blue.

There’s a late night sludgefest with Buck Gooter and Gashrat, a brunch with Moss Lime, Bonnie Doon and Vulva Culture, an evening mass with Noveller, You’ll Never Get To Heaven and Hey Mother Death, and a Sunday meditation with Lubomyr Melnyk and Dreamspoitation, among other mind-bending bills.

We have individual tickets on sale for all our main events, and there are still a few passes but they’re moving fast.

The vague woods have broken, the ocean is a mix. Keep your mind’s eye sharp. See the colour of spring.

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OBEY-POSTER-8-700emailMay is near. So how about the other big chunk of our lineup? The OBEY Convention, Atlantic Canada’s festival of contemporary music and art, is ecstatic to announce Syrian wedding singer turned international techno sensation, Omar Souleyman. He comes to us from a string of festival headlining spots around the globe and collaborations with the likes of Bjork and Four Tet for a dance party unlike anything Halifax has ever experienced. Also in keeping with this year’s emphasis on progressive electronic stylings, we looked in our backyard to discover Rebecca Baxter, sound machine builder and sonic adventurer. Baxter is currently working with The Flaming Lips to score a screening of the unparalleled experimental masterpiece Eraserhead for a private David Lynch party, and her noise boxes are now in the hands of everyone from Miley Cyrus to Moby.

A few weeks back we announced one of the most important figures in experimental jazz—German saxophone legend Peter Brotzmann. So to round out the serious business of OBEY Convention VIII, we are now pleased to bring you Winnipeg’s new age pianist Lubomyr Melnyk. His transformative compositions and lightning-speed performances have made him one of the most intriguing figures of contemporary classical music, but it took his recent signing with UK label Erased Tapes to finally bring worldwide recognition for a lifetime dedicated to the metaphysical realms of piano. Also coming to us from the classical sphere: New York chamber-drone ensemble Bing & Ruth, whose 2014 LP Tomorrow Was The Golden Age garnered mass acclaim everywhere from Pitchfork to The New York Times. The album was even famously listed by Thom Yorke as his second favorite of 2014.

Burnt-mind punkers, psych-poppers, and other guitar cult brainwormers—what would OBEY Convention be without them? How about Buck Gooter all the way from Virginia? A screwed-up industrial, performance art, blooze punk duo that a friend of the festival warned us about a few years back. Their live show is frightening and notorious. They join us off a stint of dates through the USA with Lightning Bolt. We bring you Toronto’s golden boy Thomas Gill and his new band Love Thy Will Be Done for a dance floor mix-‘n-mingle of the highest order. And again, one of the best things we have going comes from right here at home—we offer you krautpop Halirawk purveyors, Moon.

There’s so much more to tell you about—Montreal’s Moss Lime, Ottawa’s Bonnie Doon, N213’s Group Vision from Vancouver, JFM, Ali Zhang, Hey Mother Death, JOYFULTALK, Not The Wind Not The Flag, Gift from God, Life Chain, Vulva Culture, more, more, more. And don’t forget the artists we’ve already announced—Peter Brotzmann, Noveller, Last Lizard, Homeshake, Absolutely Free, Container, Ramzi, You’ll Never Get To Heaven, and Gashrat.

We may announce another artist or two in the coming weeks. We have a list of local DJs in store for you as well. We’ll get you all that, and then on April 10th we will reveal our full schedule, including main events, workshops by Weird Canada, a community noisemaking initiative, and free pop-up concerts. And finally, before April is through, we’ll come to you with our standalone art programme for Art In Fest 2015.

Winter has ended. We felt warmth from the sun for the first time this week.
It will be good to see you soon.

Passes are available now.

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