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Friend, as you trudge through one of the heaviest winters in more than a century, be reminded of OBEY Convention—Halifax, Nova Scotia’s festival of new music and spectacle—a sonic spring. For this first dispatch of the season, we bring you only a sampling of what’s about to bloom in the churches, concert halls, alternative spaces, and clubs across our city.

OBEY Convention 8 proudly features Peter Brötzmann, the German free jazz icon who, in 1968, changed music history with his full-length exercise in woodwind violence—Machine Gun LP. Since that time, Peter has gone on to release 100+ albums and perform around the world with the best jazz and experimental artists alive today. On the same bill, we present Alex Zhang Hungtai’s (ex-Dirty Beaches) transcendental tape and saxophone meditation, Last Lizard.

We are also pleased to welcome back the healing guitarscapes of Austin’s Noveller. For music played in a romantic mood, we offer you Montreal lounge lizards Homeshake. For this year’s bridge to the outer realm, we look to Toronto psych-jammers Absolutely Free.

Rhode Island’s techno body-smasher Container, Vancouver’s beat tripper RAMZi, and London’s dream pop duo You’ll Never Get to Heaven feature among others to-be-announced in this season’s presentation of contemporary electronic music.

And finally, to round things off, why not meditate on the fist coming to your face via Montreal punks Gashrat?

21 more artists will be announced later this month. Tickets to Peter Brötzmann/Last Lizard and early bird festival passes available today.


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If you want to play OBEY Convention 8, please email us. We’re looking for interesting musical artists and concepts. Let’s hear what’s out there. But please keep this in mind: we only have a dozen or so remaining spots to fill. OBEY is a small, tightly curated festival, so if we don’t choose you, don’t take it personally. Our tastes are varied, but we have specific ideas for each of these slots. Since we’re trying to lock things down, let’s make the deadline tight. March 2nd. Email with pertinent information and links. We’ll get back to you soon. See you in spring.

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picdrcoceAN1Hello Friends,

Welcome to OBEY Convention VII. It’s hard to believe that after almost nine months of planning, the festival is finally here. First of all, I want to thank our team. They are the most talented and dedicated crew of people that I have ever had the privilege to work with and call my friends. The OBEY Convention would not be heading into our biggest year ever without this collection of loving and talented souls.

And that’s right, OBEY Convention VII will be our most ambitious installment to date. We are using new venues all over Halifax and will see way more people than in any previous year. Our festival audience is traveling here from across Canada and even Europe for what promises to be a beautiful weekend of music and art.

I truly cannot recommend any particular show because there is no filler at our festival. We labour over each lineup and put a ton of work into sequencing the weekend in a way that creates a flowing narrative of ideas and experiences. So come along for the ride. There are a handful of passes left, so grab one before things get started tonight.

Thank you so much for your support over the years. Stay relaxed and enjoy the weekend.


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Many of Halifax’s most talented artists work with our festival. Video artist James Gauvreau is one such person. His hypnotizing installation in The Khyber’s Turret room for OBEY Convention V marked a new chapter for the festival. James brought a sophisticated visual element to the foreground of our musical presentations, making already adventurous programing even more exploratory. Last year’s marathon of customized projections was equally impressive and had our audience talking for months after the festival ended.

For OBEY Convention VII, James will do full video projection sets for only Black Walls, Nick Storring, and Julianna Barwick. These sets will be some of his most involved works to date. He has also been collecting junk TV’s from all over town for a series of installations that will pop up at most of the main events. Last we heard, the TV’s will be tuned to rework and subvert our short and long term memories of the weekend by constantly reintroducing festival experiences in increasingly broken form.

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Wolf 5-Limit Fifth
by Craig Leonard is an investigation of dissonance and its relationship to the formation of the self.

All those who purchase a festival pass will receive a limited edition colour print. The work is also available for download here.

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photo_guide1Over the next couple days we will be stocking sponsors and other local shops with our official 2014 festival guide. These beautiful guides were designed by Meg Yoshida with cover art provided by Seth Smith. The stellar print job was provided by Cansel Wade. This physical version is limited to 1000 copies, so get yours soon. A downloadable version is available here. Study up!

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artinfestI am honoured to play a part in the inaugural installment of Art In Fest, a standalone festival of contemporary art presented by the OBEY Convention and the Khyber Centre for the Arts. It has been a privilege to program the festival in complement to the OBEY Convention’s spirit of innovation and experimentation. Art In Fest represents a new platform for the exhibition of contemporary art in Halifax by both local and national artists. We hope that in the years to come the festival will provide an annual influx of contemporary art and will serve to engage audiences through the definition of new realities, the subversion of expectations and the description of new forms.

This year’s participating artists work across disciplines, exploring the limits of human experience through sound, video, sculpture, photography and print media. Chris Myhr’s audio installation Approaches to Erg explores how aural experience and perception are shaped by approaches to listening, conjuring a sense of the great history of nautical disaster contained in the deep waters surrounding our port city. Deirdre Logue’s video series Enlightened Nonsense directs performative self-portraiture towards the viewer, creating an empathetic itch through works which are expressly personal, emotional and political, capturing gesture, duration and the body as both subject and object.

In addition to the participation of our visiting artists, this first year also includes work shown by emerging local artists whose engaging and enriching work evinces an exciting new vernacular of visual language.

I am excited to pose the work of the artists of Art In Fest in conjunction with the events of the OBEY Convention and expand the potential for creative discovery this Spring

See you out there!

Robyn Mitchell,
Art In Fest Director

For more information on these artists and to view the full schedule, visit

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