new-musicAccessibility has always been an important part of OBEY Convention. We do our absolute best to work with friendly people, to host shows in safe, inclusive spaces and to keep our ticket prices as affordable. This year, we’ve expanded this idea to make the fest as accessible as possible to the next generation. Which is to say: all of our non-licensed events this year (totalling about 75% of our programming) will be free to people under 19 years of age.

An oft overlooked chasm exists in social city life between the ‘young’ and ‘old’, and this gesture is the best thing we could think of as a way to address the issue. We have so much to learn from one another and, at OBEY HQ, we hope that our festival is nothing if not a platform for shared learning and discovery. Maybe we’re just getting old and going soft, but we remember the mind-blowing shows of our collective youths as real life-changing events.

With that in mind, we’d like to highlight a few shows that may appeal to the youngins:

Our ‘Opening Remarks’ with sound poet Kaie Kellough at Halifax Central Library is sure to rearrange any preconceptions of poetry as something only dead people did. Further to that, you’ll get a peek at what a higher education can do as Dalhousie’s James Duff explores the outer limits of modern composition with a unique festival overture.

Montreal’s Lungbutter and Dartmouth’s Alienation ripping it up streetstyle Friday evening at Halifax North Library
is sure to inspire you to start a gnarly band of your own. Then there’s Zs, New York’s premier avant-rock band at The Deep Water Church later that night. The wild energies and sheer prowess at this show will rattle you to the core. Every year at OBEY there’s a show that no one talks about beforehand, and no one can forget afterwards. This is it. This is the one.

Saturday afternoon brings Everyseeker Symposium to the forefront, a series of enlightening talks and workshops exploring the inner workings of sound and culture hosted by the fine people of the AGNS. Then you can let all that new knowledge and awareness seep back out into the ether as you’re lulled into the cosmos by spiritual jazzer Joshua Abrams and his Natural Information Society holding space at The Deep Water Church.

If you’re still standing come Sunday, we’ve planned an afternoon jambo with some of our favorite locals alongside Montreal’s elusive soft-poppers Brave Radar at Seven Bays Bouldering.

And lastly, the final hour: Sunday evening at Fort Massey Church. This one’s a real cloud in trousers: analogue synth conjurer Sarah Davachi and East Coast dreamcatcher Lindsay Dobbin. It’s the kind of event that let’s you curl up beside your grandmamère and remember what it’s like to be everything and nothing all at once.

Prepare for transcendence, young sage.

And remember: capacity is limited, so if you’re keen, be sure to RSVP with our ticket guru, Kat ( 24 hours before a given show. And make sure to bring a current school or government photo ID along for the trip.

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ontheroadAs you prepare to ascend into the portal that is OBEY Convention, you may be wondering: Where will I eat? Is there coffee nearby? How will I quench my undying thirst? Who’s got the freshest spring duds in town? Where the deep cut wax at? Why is it called OBEY Convention? Isn’t that whole city destined to slip into the ocean eventually? Do they even have cell reception in such a craggy outpost?

Answers to most of these questions can be found below.



EDNA Restaurant – Easily the finest local fare. Beautiful atmosphere. Oysters anyone?
Dee Dee’s – Burritos on the cheap. Homemade ice cream and all around adorability.
The Canteen – Take the ferry to Dartmouth and eat the best sandwich/salad combo you’ve ever had.
Ace Burger – Killer patties and fries served in two legendary locations: Gus’ Pub & Little Casino, and Bearly’s House of Blues & Ribs.
Salvatore’s Pizza – Real traditional-like pizza in the Deep North. A classic.
enVie – Righteously delicious vegan fare.
Mary’s Place 1 and 2 – This is where breakfast happens, all day, all the time. Your pals are already there.
Coastal Cafe – Indulgent brunch and breakfast done really, really right. Limited seating, early hours.
Song’s Korean – A no brainer. Quinpool’s oasis of deliciousness. The house special soup is epic.
9+Nine Chinese Cuisine – Drive all the way to Clayton Park. Do not pass Go. Do not miss a show. Get wicked authentic Chinese fare in a tucked-away strip mall.
Seven Bays Bouldering – Have a light lunch, drink a draft, climb a wall. Not necessarily in that order.
Mid-East Food Centre – Right at the nexus of Agricola + North. Garlic, parsley, beans, souvlaki. Quick + Cheap.
ASAP Rocky’s Filipino Buffet – That’s right. The original ASAP Rocky. An $11 all-you-can-eat buffet served weekdays at lunchtime and a late night street meat cart on weekends. In the heart of our weird ‘downtown’.
John’s Lunch – This is the deepest cut. Seafood fried up by hairy-armed men in a tiny shack on the outskirts of Dartmouth. It’s proximity to Value Village means you can make a day of it.

Saturday Morning Market Musts:

Dragon Pad Thai – Pro tip: Best Pad Thai In The City, Saturday mornings only until 1pm at the Historic Brewery Market.
Selwood Green – Halifax’s first farm to table restaurant run by the tallest, friendliest german man, Norbert. This is total purity. It will save you. Plus, this sucker is open seven days a week!
Mary’s African Cuisine – The $10 super sampler plate will fill you. FOREVER.
Boulangerie La Vendéenne – Sweet, sweet french breads.


Garrison – One of the oldest and most creative micro breweries in the city. Drink it up all weekend.
Field Guide – Innovative small plates to share. Totally ballin’ cocktails and swoon-worthy waitstaff
Stillwell – The beer place with all the good beers, y’know? Also: snacks. There will be snacks.
Charlie’s Club – A local staple of strange encounters. Pool tables, a jukebox somehow featuring The Fall, odd stragglers. The code to get in is the civic address. Good luck.
Superstar Bar – Private-room karaoke anyone? It’s like partying in those suburban teenage basements of your youth. And they have dumplings too, but you might have to be insistent in your ordering of them.
The Khyber – Festival HQ with art and license.


Java Blend – For the morningtimes, you gentle beast. Pull that thorn from your paw. Awake, awake!
Trident Cafe – The gem of the South End. Grab a coffee, peruse the stacks of used books.
Lion & Bright – Bring a laptop, send us an e-mail about how you’re feeling. Oh, and they have nice food, too. Also, lastly, a place for nighttime drinks (which you can enjoy equally in the daytimes, capiche?)
Smiling Goat – Top notch downtown-type coffee. Real premium.


Lost & Found – Just all the things you could ever want. Wins ‘best in-store music’ every damn day.
One Block Barbershop – Get a cut, have a soda, spin a yarn. A most accommodating, friendly joint.
Obsolete Records – Loads of new vinyl. Go there and learn obscure facts about Michael Gira, or purchase an obscure Madlib-related release no one else would consider stocking.
Taz Records – The emporium of wax. You never know what you’ll find. Deep, deep oceans of sound and culture.
Big Pony – A fun store for fun people with rad clothes, accessories and art. Fun people only, thanks!
Elsie’s – Vintage royalty. Tasty fashion. Oh the splendour!
Bookmark – Independent, locally owned bookstore with the nicest people inside. Just in case you’re dying to read some Elena Ferrante while you’re in town.
Courtside Sneakers – For the weary traveler, a pair of ballin’ kicks.
Last Word – Deceptively piled-up bookshop owned by a talkative, knowledgeable man with a 1% gruff layer.
Atlantic News – Grab a candy bar and a fancy magazine for the long ride home, you intrepid maniac.
Strange Adventures – Comics! Comics! Nerds! Comics!
Plan B Merchants Co-op – A wide spectrum of who knows what. A real must for the curio.

Lord Nelson Hotel – It’s where all the cool kids are staying for the weekend. Historic. Beautiful. Central.
Halifax Central Library – The brand new architectural centre piece of of downtown.
CKDU – Local campus & community station and strong supporter of OBEY.
Public Gardens – One of the oldest Victorian Gardens in North America. Don’t feed the swans.
OBEY Ride Share – Finally, if you’re looking for a ride, check in here. We didn’t set it up, but it looks like a good resource.

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OBEY-HEAD-logo2-600After pouring our hearts into this work for months, today we release to you the OBEY Convention IX schedule. Headliners such as experimental rapper Mykki Blanco, NYC’s noise-punk-jazz skronkers Zs, doom metal power couple Nadja, outer world jammers Joshua Abrams’ Natural Information Society, among others, minister their magic for Halifax at some of the city’s most iconic venues. Back-to-back concerts in narrative form.

Beyond the usual ceremony of OBEY Convention proper, we also bring you programmes for both Art In Fest, The Khyber’s standalone arts festival, and EverySeeker Symposium, a new lecture series presented by The Fountain School of Performing Arts and OBEY Convention.

For Art In Fest 2016, Hannah Guinan and her team at The Khyber Centre for the Arts have curated five free-to-attend happenings to take place across the four days of our festival. Featuring an international roster of artists, Art In Fest will host performances, screenings, talks, and even OBABY, a Saturday morning children’s art workshop. All events happen at Halifax’s vibrant arts hub—The Khyber and Art Bar & Cabaret Voltaire – Atlantique.

OBEY Convention IX also ushers in EverySeeker Symposium. This new series focuses on the intersection of music and other disciplines such as storytelling, psychotherapy, science and technology, dance, craft, film and more. There will be lectures at the AGNS, sound walks, and a special address at Fort Massey. EverySeeker also presents a Weird Canada Drone Day installation—a single, long-form broadcast of live drone performances from every province and territory in the country. Listen online, at our venues, in the parks, and on the streets.

To purchase passes or single tickets, visit Ticket Halifax. See you soon.

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OBEY-POSTER-FINAL-WEBThe air in our coastal town has split itself open. As the light of spring stretches out, our spirits are renewed. Since the last announcement, OBEY HQ has been a rush of activity. So today, with a sense of accomplishment and eager anticipation, we reveal to you the bulk of our 2016 line-up and locations.

We’re totally psyched/terrified to say that menacing electro producer Rabit will be traveling from Texas to deliver a live set of grime-inflected horror at this year’s Convention. We’ll take you deep into a meditative trance with tongue-spoke new-agers Belave (featuring ex-Majical Cloudz Devon Welsh and Matthew E. Duffy) and invigorate your brain with Montreal’s sound-poet icon Kaie Kellough. Later in the weekend, you’ll be lulled back into your mortal body by the mesmeric tones of Canada’s premier psychoacoustic manipulator, Sarah Davachi. And when the sun is out and warming, you’ll be witness to Halifax’s breeziest art-pop royalty, Old & Weird.

We’ll also be presenting a heavy punk spectrum featuring Dartmouth’s Alienation, and Montreal’s Lungbutter and Shining Wizard (feat. Grace Brooks & James Goddard); a weird consortium of locals including Century Egg, HHH, Wayne World, eddy, Cloaked Figure, and Carmen; jazz-airs Sound Of The Mountain; Montreal’s subtle set Brave Radar. Beyond that, you can expect some extra-curriculars from William Robinson and Aaron Webster, and late-nite movements with DJ Fadzwa and DJ Kaz_Kandy. Of course, this is all in addition to the artists already announced: Mykki Blanco, Zs, Joshua Abrams’ Natural Information Society, Marie Davidson, Nadja, New Fries, xxvii, and Zones.

As for our locales, we’ll be returning to a venue rich with experimental music history, the Deep Water Church (formerly the North Street Church), and charting new territory by taking over Halifax’s famed Marquee Club and working with their friendly neighbours at Seven Bays Bouldering. Added to that list are some tried and true community haunts Fort Massey Church, Menz Bar, Halifax Central Library, The Khyber ICA + Cabaret Voltaire Art Bar, and more.

In the months leading up to the festival we’ll be adding a few more artists as well as releasing details about other happenings: Art In Fest, The Khyber Centre for the Arts contemporary visual arts festival; the EverySeeker Symposium, our new performative lecture series; as well as our Weird Canada national Drone Day project.

Festival Passes Available Now

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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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