Open Waters Festival 2014 Submissions

September 13th, 2013

Welcome to Upstream Music Association’s  annual Open Waters Festival of new and improvised music  running from Thursday January 16 - 19, 2014 at the Sir James Dunn Theatre.

The now 4 day festival presents and showcases new original music groups from across Atlantic Canada who utilize free improvisation in contexts ranging from musique-actuelle, new chamber music, nu jazz and vocal ensembles. Our enthusiastic  Halifax audience and invited industry spokespersons who share our  enthusiasm make the creation of the festival an ever evolving artistic challenge. The showcase aspect of the festival provides a platform for presenters who are interested in finding new acts for festivals, events and tours world-wide. The festival also features an educational component where young music students from the university perform in conduction orchestras developed  by advanced educators. These sessions are facilitated by our evolving creative community of professional and experienced composer/performers.

Past groups have ranged from the Motion Ensemble (Sackville/NB) to the  19-piece Upstream Orchestra  recently back from The Victoriaville Festival International de Musique Actuelle  in May 2013 with rave reviews. As a direct result of the Open Waters Festival, Indie-band Mother of Girl (the hit of last year’s festival) is soon to return from tour to Ontario including the 2013 Guelph Jazz Festival. The Brad Jefford Quartet (NFLD) performed at Open Waters Festival 2013 and gained the recognition necessary to be included in the recent 2013 Halifax Jazz Festival. 

The Festival offers  selected showcasing artists a small guarantee and works to help find accommodations for visiting artists, Artists are asked to perform 60 minute festival sets.  There is limited space and we will showcase submissions  based on the submitted music of the proposed presentation.  

Past invited impresarios who have attended the festival: Michel LeVasseur (Victoriaville), Patrick Darby (Montreal), Ron Gaskin (Toronto), Bill Shoemaker/journalist (Washington DC), Mike Chamberlain/journalist (Montreal), Gregory Oh (Open Ears Festival, (Kitchener/Waterloo)

This year we are in the process of inviting a number of presenters and impresarios including David Dacks Music Gallery (Toronto) Mauro Pessette (Souni Festival/Montreal), Ajay Heble (Guelph Festival), Ron Sweetman (Ottawa Broadcaster), Stu Broomer (journalist/Music Works) and Ken Pickering (Vancouver International Jazz Festival)

There will be a second venue featuring shorter sets following the shows at the Dunn Theatre (Cohn Arts Centre Dalhousie U.)

Please  send submissions with 3 short  contrasting audio samples, and an electronic press kit to 

The deadline is October 15th, 2013.


For further information:


Paul Cram, Artistic  Director

Upstream Music Association

(902) 461-1232 – office

(902) 817-6366 - cell


Mailing address:

Upstream Music Association

P.O. Box 36040

Halifax, Nova Scotia

B3J 3S9