This year, the city that moves on Canada Day quite sensibly threw what may be the country’s best indie culture fest over Thanksgiving weekend. Now in its fifth year, Pop Montreal took over the indie city from the 4th to the 8th like a clever NXnE that’s actually fun for bands and the public to go to.
More than a music fest, it also included art about music, films about music, and even a craft fair mainly about music. And as if that weren’t enough, as a treat to hardcore Canadian music nerds, this year’s edition boasted a partnership with the sixth annual international Future of Music Policy Summit, which made its first ever appearance in Canada.
While 416 festival lovers and presenters alike should listen up — there are great ideas in here we can use — we shouldn’t get too jealous, as Toronto’s finest cultural delegates were crawling all over this thing all weekend long.
Past, present, future. McGill University’s Schulich School of Music uses the architecture of its two interconnected buildings to support Torontoist’s theory that it’s the perfect venue for a summit on the future of music policy.
Drunk on media access, Torontoist skipped its daily coffee and hyperactively invaded a Pop Policy panel, Meet the Mini-me-dia, featuring key music bloggers and writers like Carl Wilson and Helen Spitzer.
We continued the Toronto theme on Friday evening at the Upper Class Recordings/ Now showcase at Club Lambi, where we (finally!) caught Cadence Weapon and two mind-blowing performances by Madrid and New York’s hyperactive, musical-chairs-instrumentalising, Professor Murder.
Young’uns demonstrate two distinct Montreal phenomena: showing up early and sitting on the floor.
Saturday, we kicked things off with the frustration and insight that was the panel, Policymaking: How to make a difference, moderated by Michael Bracy, of the Future Of Music Coalition and featuring Keith Serry from the Canadian Music Creators Coalition.
Ecstatic lesbian dance party
Then we sampled just a taste of team 514′s offerings at the Mirror/ Ici showcase at Sala Rosa. Think About Life astounded us with mouth-wide-open rock vocals, solo-riffic guitar, and drumming like Animal from the Muppet Show, and an inspired burst of crowd surfing. Not to be upstaged, Lesbians on Ecstasy then set up all their gear on the floor and invited the crowd to throw a dance party on stage.
Oh yeah! Torontoist had its finger on the Puces of the festival.
Puces Pop, the craft fair, played out like a Hotel Canzine response to the One of A Kind craft show, with indie artists and crafty people vending everything from Kiss finger puppets and hand-printed show posters to clothing and jewelry by designers like Toronto’s NaMoDA and Biko Designs.
At Puces Pop, poster (B) may hold the answer to question posed by fake science fair project (A).
Sadly the dreaded night bus dragged us back to the burbs for a recovery day of sleep and heavy eating before we had a chance to check out the Pancakes and Puppets breakfast, or any of the films.
But there’s always next year. Clear your schedule for next October. Get your train ticket now. As festivals go, Pop Montreal is the man, not The Man. It’s fun. You gotta try it.