When Halifax Pop Explosion won the ECMA for best festival, director Waye Mason was sure that they were going to lose and didn't have a speech ready. Because this is his last festival, we'll indulge him. Here's the speech he wishes he had given: "The Halifax Pop Explosion is the collective effort of several hundred people. From our sponsors, our government partners, our many volunteers, the board of directors and our staff, the event is a collaboration and labour of love. The core staff: Kasia, Steve, Josh, Julia, Matt and Alex Fountain, who passed away in August. We are consumed to work hard to create an event that, year after year, artists from around the world are eager to attend. At the end of this mountain of work, in bits and snatches during the festival, between solving this problem or finishing that project, for five days in October the staff get to watch amazing artists move a crowd to tears of joy, shouts of laughter, moments of intense brooding reflection, or simple sweaty, jumping joyfulness."
First runner-up: In the Dead of Winter
Second runner-up: Evolve