Out of Earshot, a new DIY music and arts festival based at Eastern Edge Gallery is launching August 23-25th.We spoke to founding member, Jess Barry, about the origins of the fest and some of the acts she’s most excited about.
Out of Earshot has emerged to fill the void left by the much-loved DIY punk festival Shed Island, who announced in 2017 that they were moving away from an annual, multi-day summer festival to more year-round promotion.
One of the founding members of Out of Earshot, Jess Barry, described what organizers of the new fest loved and hope to emulate about Shed saying, “We liked how scrappy it was, and we liked the types of bands they would bring — it wasn’t about making money, it wasn’t about appeasing masses, it was really about bringing things that were new and exciting and experimental,” shesaid.
“It was very much about exposing the community here to some of the weird and wonderful things happening in Atlantic Canada and beyond, and building connections between DIY artists here and in other cities.”
Out of Earshot will feature eleven acts from outside the province along with around twenty local musical acts. Barry joked that whereas Shed Island was more of a straight-up punk festival, Out of Earshot is a little more “punk adjacent” and is focusing more on including other genres of music.
“In terms of touring acts we’re really excited about there’s a few; there’s a band called LAPS from Montreal fronted by Heather Ogilve, they’re kind of post-punk/soft-prog with really interesting composition and vocals. We also have this cool, queer hardcore band called DOXX coming from Ottawa.
“And we have a punk band from Halifax called Surveillance who are one of my favourite bands ever. They’ve really influenced my own music and musical taste, so that’s really exciting for me.
“There’s also a two-piece electronic act called Syngja, based in Montreal, who just did a residency in Iceland. They’re very performance-arty.”
While music is the main focus of Out of Earshot, the festival will showcase work in a wide variety of mediums and plans to become even interdisciplinary in the future. This year they’ve partnered with the Writer’s Alliance of Newfoundland and Labrador to host an evening of readings and spoken word poetry during the festival. They are also bringing Halifax-based Chris Murdoch to give a talk called “Black Dots” on the black roots of punk and hardcore music. The schedule includes some performance and installation art.
Barry says the organizers are striving to make the Festival as welcoming as possible. Over the past few months they’ve hosted a number of fundraisers including shows, food pop-ups, clothing swaps and a karaoke night with the goals of raising money and creating a sense of community around the festival. They’ve been thrilled by all the new faces turning up at these events.
“I’m hoping that by doing community outreach and promotion that leads with the idea we’re trying to do something different and we’re comfortable with taking some risks, people will respond positively,” Barry said, “I think there is an appetite for that here and we hope to grow it even more in coming years.”
Festival passes are available for purchase online at www.outofearshotfestival.com and in person at Fixed Coffee and Baking and O’Brien’s Music.