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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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 andrew@obeyconvention.com 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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A long time friend and participant of OBEY Convention, Lindsay Dobbin, will be DJing during our closing night show with Julianna Barwick and The Halifax Rumi Ensemble. We got in touch with her to get a sense of what her priorities are when it comes to DJing:




What kind of music/musical idea is exciting you these days?

Looping and drumming are exciting to me right now. With both I am
exploring repetition, making patient alterations so the sounds
gradually inhabit new environments, and parallel universes. I love the
moment when you’ve been listening to and/or playing the same pattern
over and over and you begin to hear it in a new way based on your
awareness shifting from the superficial to something deeper.

I’m also really excited about music in general these days. Like, I’ve
always been, but recently my relationship has been refreshed namely
due to teaching a DJ/music program to youth with disabilities. I find
it really rewarding because I not only get to teach something I’m
passionate about, but I learn so much from the students. I’m reminded
on a daily basis how vital music is, not only as an escape, but as an
authentic tool for self-expression, awareness and engagement with the
world. I’ve had students who site specific instances when music saved
their lives.

Will you be manipulating the music you play at the show in any way?

I will. I am still working out my set, but I do know it will be loop
based, employing the concepts I stated above and combining analogue
and digital technologies to map a sonic transformation.

What should one strive for as a DJ?

Awareness of environment. Deep listening. Fleshing out moments of
transition. Fun. Originality. Creating new sound worlds. Alchemy.
Moving people.

Can you describe a serendipitously soundtracked moment?

My earliest love-at-first-sight moment happened at a fair when I was
five. Otis’ “For Your Precious Love” blared out of the speakers of the
Tilt-A-Whirl ride as it all went down.

Have you ever called into a radio show? Or hosted one? If so, when/why/who?

Both. When I was in grade 9 I called into the local station to request
a Sarah McLachlan song, and dedicated it to the person I liked at the

As for radio hosting, when I was really young I had a boombox and
8-track/record player in my room, and I’d pretend to host radio shows.
My great grandmother and my cat were regular guests. In more recent
history, I’ve (co)hosted shows on CKDU 88.1 FM in Halifax as well as
CJUC 92.5 FM in Whitehorse in the past. Both had a focus on
experimental sounds, field recording, and community engagement,
exploring concepts such as memory and the intangible. Some of the
shows featured audio mapping, fictional guests, a dog that reported
the weather, the death of analogue media, food tasting, and an orb
that chewed bubble gum. I wanted listeners to tune in and feel a bit
confused but curious.

If the show you’re DJing were a novel, where would it be set?

The genre would be magical realism, and the protagonist would be
traversing landscapes in this world, discovering windows into other
dimensions, where time doesn’t exist, space is expansive, and
awareness is unlocked to a sense of wonderment.

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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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