Prick up your ears! Halifax is a music-loving town where you can rock with the symphony, and get into both touring acts and local talent without missing a beat.

Helm Fest

Saturday, September 19,


HELM is the East Coast’s premier EDM festival, bringing nternationally renowned artists right to the Dartmouth waterfront. This year’s fest boasts the likes of Arty, Peking Duk, Michael Calfan, Torro Torro, Trevor Guthrie, Lenno, Atmoz & Ozon, Jules Bangsworth, KDZ, L3Ds and more!


Merk & Kremont.

Dark for Dark

Friday, September 18, 7:30pm, The Company House, 2202 Gottingen Street, $8/$10


Rebecca Zolkower’s harmonic three-piece band, Dark for Dark, will be playing new songs from an upcoming record at The Company House. They’ll be joined by the like-minded Old Cabin (Jona Barr) from Whitehorse, Yukon, and Ottawa’s Pony Girl. As the nights get chillier, this show will warm you up like knitted wool socks.

St. Cecilia Concert Series

Sunday, September 20-Sunday, November 29, various performances and showtimes, St. Cecilia, 6199 Chebucto Road, packages $45-$275


For over 25 years, the St. Cecilia Concert Series has delighted audiences with classical music performances. This year is no exception. The season opener welcomes sonatas by Schubert, Clarke, Chausson and Schumann by Philippe Djokic and Lynn Stodola, as well as the music of John Plant and an operatic Romeo and Juliet.

Symphony Week AND Culture Days

Tuesday, September 22-Sunday, September 27, various times & locations, free


A week of live popular and classical music performances featuring conductor Martin MacDonald and mezzo-soprano Lindsay Connolly. With performances taking place at the VIA Rail Station, Woodlawn Public Library, Maritime Museum of the Atlantic, Alderney Landing and the airport, Symphony Nova Scotia proves that a great orchestra can take on any venue.

Melissa Etheridge

Friday, September 25, 8pm, Casino Nova Scotia, 1983 Upper Water Street, $80.50-$92.00


Melissa Etheridge, one of the most badass women in rock and roll history, returns to Halifax for a powerful and inspiring show at Casino Nova Scotia. Two-time Grammy winner Etheridge has been a gay champion since coming out in 1993, but her confessional, anthemic pop-inspired folk-rock is loved by everyone. Her songs will own karaoke nights forever.


Thursday, October 8, 8pm, Rebecca Cohn Auditorium, 6101 University Avenue, $31.50


Melissa McLelland and Luke Doucet are redefining #RelationshipGoals. The husband-and-wife duo were accomplished singer-songwriters in their own right before forming Whitehorse to make sweet music together. The pair is currently touring in support of their latest album, Leave No Bridge Unburned.

Friendship Fest

Friday, September 25-Saturday, September 26, 11pm, Gus’ Pub, 2605 Agricola Street, $8/$15


A teeny-tiny, two-day homegrown festival featuring local acts Strange Charm, Friends Telling, Jokes, Vulva Culture, Walrus, Best Fiends, Designosaur, Stanley Brinks & Freschard and Scott Nicks. Friendship Fest does what it says on the box–it’s as chummy as it is cuddly.

Hopscotch Halifax

Friday, September 25-Sunday, September 27, various times & locations, $5-$20


Hopscotch Halifax, a celebration of hip-hop culture, flexes annually with b-boy events, street art demos, battle rappers and performances by rap’s heaviest hitters. This year, former Indiana drug dealer and one of the realest voices in contemporary hip-hop, Freddie Gibbs, headlines with golden-era Long Island MC Rakim. The real hip-hop.

Symphony Nova Scotia with Buck 65

Friday October 2 and Saturday October 3, 7:30pm, Rebecca Cohn Auditorium, 6101 University Avenue, $30-$65


Symphony NS has added some unlikely collaborators to its 2015-16 season. The multi-talented Halifax son Buck 65—CBC Radio host, turntable legend, rapper, author—returns to the Rebecca Cohn stage for a second (and then third) go-round with SNS in early October.


Wednesday, October 14, 10:30pm, The Seahorse Tavern, 2037 Gottingen Street, $19


Having just released Apt 13, their first album in seven years, Gob is hitting the road to show off the fruits of their labour. Canada’s answer to the exploding American pop-punk scene, Gob’s guitar-driven tracks still burst with throwback punk licks and killer harmonies, but their tone has become more upbeat as the band has matured. As vocalist Tom Thacker explains, “We’re all pretty stoked on life in general, and this one is more in tune with that attitude.”

Down with the sickness

Sickboy Podcast Launch Party
Saturday, September 19, 7-10pm
Shanti Hot Yoga Studio, 5508 Spring Garden Road


Jeremie Saunders is sick. Like, really sick. The actor-slash-yoga instructor has lived with cystic fibrosis–a genetic disorder that claims the life of more Canadian children and young adults than any other–his entire life. There’s no cure for CF, and affected people have very short life expectancies, which Saunders says “sounds really shitty, and it kind of is.”


Tired of the stigma and “awkward” conversations surrounding his illness, Saunders enlisted the help of two of his friends, Brian Stever and Taylor MacGillivary, to start Sickboy, a funny, weekly podcast dedicated to finding, in Saunders’ words, “the lightness in the absurdity that is living with chronic or terminal disease.”


Sickboy has already recorded six episodes, speaking with guests about their experiences living with afflictions like brain cancer, bipolar disorder and plateau iris syndrome. Saunders is the guest of honour on Sickboy’s premiere episode, talking in-depth and cracking jokes about his life with cystic fibrosis–“we don’t have to be weird about it!”


After putting out a call for people living with chronic or terminal illnesses to appear as guests, Saunders says the response has been overwhelming. Nearly 40 people have reached out from across North America, the UK and Africa, living with everything from colon cancer to psychosis to narcolepsy.
“Not only is it really therapeutic to open up and chat, but it’s also super fascinating,” Saunders says, “it’s really interesting; the human body and how completely fucked up it can be in so many different ways.” –Lewis Rendell


Taylor MacGillivary, Jeremie Saunders and Brian Stever. TIMOTHY RICHARD

Halifax Pop Explosion

Tuesday, October 20-Saturday, October 24, various times & venues, bracelets $99-$199


This year’s Halifax Pop Explosion lineup is huge. Wristbands are now on sale (with tickets soon to follow) for the annual city-wide music festival that will feature Houston’s Travi$ Scott, former Halifax electro-band Purity Ring, a symphony by Rich Aucoin, some of the best local indie rock and comedy all-stars Eric Andre and Neil Hamburger. Take the week off work.


Friday, November 6 and Saturday, November 7, 10pm-close, Gus’ Pub, 2605 Agricola Street, $8 per night ($14 weekend pass)


Celebrating its fourth anniversary, Mettalfest will take over Gus’ Pub for a weekend of gnarly longhairs thrashing to some of the country’s toughest metal bands, including Toronto’s Vesperia, winners of the Wacken Metal Battle in Germany, New Brunswick’s Hard Charger and Dischord, with local favourites Spew, Hitman, Dismember and more. Time for whiplash, time for pain.

Judas Priest

Tuesday, November 10, 8pm, Scotiabank Centre, 1800 Argyle Street, $35.50-$101.25


The first metal record I ever owned was 1982’s driving pounder Screaming for Vengeance, my introduction to the spikes and leather-clad operatic force of Rob Halford’s voice, a metal and LGBTQ icon. On November 10, Priest brings the Redeemer of Souls tour to the Scotiabank Centre in support of their seventeenth skin-peeling studio album.

Protest the Hero

Saturday, November 28, 9pm, The Marquee Ballroom, 2037 Gottingen Street, $32.99


Progressive metalheads Protest the Hero are riding a wave of nostalgia across the country, touring in celebration of the 10th anniversary of their debut full-length album, Kezia. Despite going through some member changes, PTH has announced that they’ll be restoring their original lineup for the Kezia X Tour.

Symphony Nova Scotia with Ben Caplan

Friday November 20 and Saturday November 21, 7:30pm, Rebecca Cohn Auditorium, 6101 University Avenue, $30-$65


Folk powerhouse Ben Caplan teams up with SNS three years after their much-acclaimed first collaboration. Caplan is set to release his latest album, Birds With Broken Wings, on September 18.


Chad VanGaalen & Seth Smith

Seed of Dorzon (Fun Dog Records}
September 18


A two-part electronic album by Polaris-nominated Chad VanGaalen and Dog Day’s hero Seth Smith, Seed of Dorzon is a collaborative and experimental soundtrack conjuring eerie feelings and heavy moods.

The Stanfields

Modem Operandi (Groundswell Music)
September 18


Halifax’s stage-stompers take on free speech and privacy on this full-length release. The Stanfields maintain their Celt-rock sound, but it’s coloured with alt-rock tones that drive the point home even harder.

Quiet Parade

Quiet Parade (Acadian Embassy)
September 18


Quiet Parade, our local rock-folk-pop quartet, finally hits its stride on its third album. Trevor Murphy’s songs march out into the world with lyrical force as the band keeps a steady, strong pace.

Fetty Wap

Fetty Wap (300 Entertainment)
September 25


I’ve yelled “Yeea-aa-h baby” from “Trap Queen” over 1,000 times. The one-eyed New Jersey rapper has set the bar high for himself with several songs of the summer; this upcoming album is make-or-break.

Joshua Van Tassel

Understar EP (Backward Music)
October TBA


Halifax-Toronto producer and dance-music-maker Joshua Van Tassel returns with a EP preview of his upcoming LP, Understar, a synth experience inspired by the giant squid, quick as liquid, dark as ink.

Sheer Agony

Masterpiece (Couple Skate)
October 30


The audacity of declaring that a debut LP is a masterpiece. Well, it is. They pull together several styles to make a brand new one, like Each Other or Viet Cong, and it’s just good. This is gonna rule so hard.