Everything you need to know about the 2023 Open Waters music festival | Cultural Festivals | Halifax, Nova Scotia | THE COAST

Everything you need to know about the 2023 Open Waters music festival

19 events across five venues means Halifax is about to get hooked on live, improvisational music from Jan 6-12.

As wide-open as a new year feels, as fresh as a January snow, the Open Waters Festival is an annual offering of adventurous music. And what do we mean by that? Well, Upstream Music Association (the crew behind the fest) have spent the last 30-odd years making Halifax a hub for, as they put it, "pan-genre orchestral nujazz, beyond classical, cyber world, experimental music improvisation, composition & conduction ensembles." Basically, new and innovative stuff, often riffed on live and always delivered by niche-famous and buzzy musicians.

Open Waters, meanwhile, is the epitome of all that: An event that sees 19 musical events take hold across five Halifax stages, delivering sonic innovation.

What is the official name?
Open Waters Festival.

What is it also known as?
There's no nicknames or abbreviations or this one.

When is it?
Jan 6-12, 2023.

What is it?
The ultimate answer to January's doldrums, Open Waters is a music festival that sees classical and modern musicians deliver inventive, live performance—oftentimes, in an improvised form.

Where is it held?
There are five main venues for this year's fest:
  • Joseph Strug Hall (the new, 300-seater theatre inside the revamped Dalhousie Arts Centre)
  • The Dunn Theatre (also inside the Dal Arts Centre)
  • St. Andrew’s Church (6036 Coburg Rd)
  • Breaking Circus Studio (2164 Barrington St.)
  • Sourwood Cider (5576 Cornwallis St).

How long has it been going?
Upstream Music Association (the folks behind the fest) have been putting together events like this for over three decades, but the start date of Open Waters itself was unconfirmed as of press time.

Where do I get tickets?
Tickets are available via Ticket Halifax.

Are there festival passes?
Yup, and one will run you $85 via Ticket Halifax.

What is the must-see show?
Janice Jackson brings melodrama to the Dal Arts Centre's new, 300-seater Joseph Strung Concert Hall on Jan 8, with a double bill. First up, Jackson performs a suite of musical poems that are the result of her collaboration with Annie Martin. Titled O DEATH, they explore life and death as disparate halves of the same whole.
The chaser? Jackson's brand-new, solo mini-opera, based on one of Halifax's oldest ghost stories—and the tragic woman who inspired the tale. Get tickets and details for the 1pm show here.

About The Author

Morgan Mullin

Morgan is the Arts & Entertainment Editor at The Coast, where she writes about everything from what to see and do around Halifax to profiles of the city’s creative class to larger cultural pieces. She’s been with The Coast since 2016.

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