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There and Back Again, an Arts Section’s Tale

Through snow, slush and sleep deprivation, the Gazette’s Arts team has worked hard to get into all of Halifax’s biggest festivals to keep you in tune. As we wrap up our publishing year, let’s shed all notions of journalistic modesty and bask in a little self-congratulatory nostalgia.

We began where we always seem to, at DalFest. This year’s edition featured newly appointed Q host, Shad, Newfoundland orchestral poppers Hey Rosetta! and the demure beauties from Alvvays. It was, as it always is, a drunken haze of purple lights and twisting bodies. The Quad teemed with students and non-students alike as the two night-long festival ushered in the new school year.

Shortly after, the Gazette covered a few screenings from the Atlantic Film Festival. The crowning gem of the festival was the Halifax-centric Heartbeat, which brought the city’s north end boho communities to the silver screen. Gottingen Street celebrated its 250 anniversary in 2014, and held a street-wide party in celebration. While it’s safe to say that the north end of Halifax has seen some major upheavals in the past few years, and will surely see exponential change in the near future, Gottingen250 was an assurance that the tight-knit communities that define the area are as vibrant as ever.

October: zines and punk bands rule everything around me – 2014’s Halifax Pop Explosion was an incredible showcase of music. With headliners including Against Me!, Danny Brown, Ghostface Killah, Raekwon and Zed’s Dead, every venue in the city was humming with mayhem within. It was a long week, and the bruises I sustained from Single Mothers’ set at the Seahorse can attest to that. The Gazette also reported on the festival’s concurrent zine and record fairs – October is the holiest month.

Nocturne, the city-wide art night, was held on the as-of-yet coldest night of the year. Nonetheless, groups of artists, activists, inventors and freewheelers filled Halifax with one-of-a-kind installations.

Hal Con 2014 did not implode. Unlike the previous year’s capacity control issues, there were no apparent issues to be seen at the annual tribute to everything geeky. From within, the Gazette reported on the wide variety of teas for sale, the cosplays and the Lolita Fashion panel.

Early this year, the Gazette reported on the In the Dead of Winter Festival. Singer-songwriters congregated to Halifax’s north end for a series dreamy winter evenings. While not as widely known as some of the city’s more popular music fests, IDOW is Halifax through-and-through. This year marked the festival’s first year as a registered non-profit, so we’ll have to see where the Dead of Winter takes us next.

For the first time ever, the SUB was transformed into a multi-stage festival ground for SUBfest. This student-driven event opened up the entirety of the SUB for students to wander through, following duct tape trails to the next stage. With a hyper-local menagerie of musical acts and a DIY attitude, SUBfest was a unique blend of student involvement and music – certainly an exciting precedent to move forward from.

Of course, this is far from a catch-all list – Halifax is a busy city, and as a student publication, we can’t always make it out to absolutely everything. We gave it our all, and I’d like to sincerely thank all those who trekked out to bring Halifax’s vibrant culture to the pages of the Gazette.

Mat Wilush
Mat Wilush
Mat Wilush once went to see Agent Orange on the outskirts of Toronto, where the beer was salty and drunken teenagers took turns sitting in a prop electric chair. The music had aged poorly. A mohawk’d middle-ager danced through the first couple songs, but quickly tired out. There just isn’t much room for surf rock in the world anymore. What next? Mat Wilush wants to know. Mat is the Gazette's Arts Editor. Follow him on Twitter at @wilushwho and email him at arts@dalgazette.com.
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