Winter Festival Guide: In the Dead of Winter

Where: Halifax, N.S./Wakefield, Que.

When: January 22-24/February 6-8

What it is: In the Dead of Winter describes itself as “an acoustic based festival”. While yes, the lineup leans towards acoustic and folk acts, there still are a few shows where you won’t look out of place slipping in ear plugs to protect your hearing (it’s important! Keep those ears happy). The Halifax portion of the festival takes place in the North End, which is convenient in the winter because walking at night is cold and cabs are pricey. The festival also has a second weekend in Wakefield, Que. at the Black Sheep Inn, a lovely venue a short drive from Ottawa. This year, the festival is organized by muscians Amelia Curran, Don Brownrigg, Dana Beeler along with award-winning live technician Georgia Richards and the festival’s founder Heather Gibson.

Eats: Halifax – Great food places keep popping up in the North End, all close to IDOW headquarters at the Company House. We enjoy sitting down and enjoying a nice meal at Edna, located next to the Marquee, and grabbing a pint of Big Spruce Cereal Killer while we’re at it. They also have a delicious brunch and we won’t judge if you get a morning beer.

Wakefield – Bistro Rutherford is part of the Black Sheep Inn and the perfect place to grab a bite before the show. We’re big poutine purists (cheese curds, gravy, french fries), but we make an exception for their exceptionally tasty pulled pork poutine. We’re also fans of Le Hibou for a coffee, drink or bite to eat.

Headliners: Owen Pallett, Amelia Curran, Dave Gunning, The Skydiggers

Mix Pick: We’ll have an extended Mix Pick later this week profiling Kalle Mattson, our cover artist from the Spring 2014 issue. He plays both Halifax and Wakefield. Kalle Mattson plays the Bus Stop Theatre at 8:30 p.m. on Saturday, January 24. For the Wakefield edition, he plays on Friday, Feb. 6 at 9:30 p.m.

We also recommend checking out Dance Movie, opening for Owen Pallett. The indie-rock group put on a memorable performance at Nova Scotia Music Week in November, featuring a couple new players along with some instrumentation switch-ups. Their upcoming album is one of the most anticipated releases of 2015 in our books.

Mixtape Curated Playlist: Our Friday Playlist last week covers artists playing the festival.

Mix Tips: Get to shows early. Most of these shows are seated and will fill up quickly, a couple shows are sold out already. Chances are you’ll have a big winter jacket, mittens, a toque and other gear so you’ll want to grab a seat and camp out, order a drink and enjoy the night.

Photo of Kalle Mattson: Scott Blackburn/Mixtape