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Best local music festival 

Halifax Pop Explosion October 3-5, 2003

Bands continue to travel the extra mile for the Pop Explosion, which says a lot about the organization and reputation of the festival. It remains a great showcase for local bands that may not have the means to tour or the support of a label. Now that HPX has a full-time staff to help the dedicated volunteers, there’s room for a bigger and better festival. “We keep Halifax on the map of the indie-alt-underground world by putting on a small but world-class festival, but we don’t have the pretensions,” says Waye Mason, executive director of HPX. “We still have a certain desirable small-town feel.” As for a highlight from 2003, who can forget the tripped-out Halloween show headlined by Broken Social Scene at The Marquee? “I was totally in love with Broken Social Scene,” Mason says. “It was a near-religious experience.”

Runner-up: Evolve 4, August 22-24, 2003

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