We Need to Talk…

Symposium, A Fun and Educational Space

When it comes to choosing an event to attend at POP Montreal, it can often be difficult to sift through the bible-thick program.

The musical performances of the festival are such a large aspect that often smaller, low-key events—like the mysterious Symposium—are overlooked. This free, five day part of the festival is the ideal starting point for aspiring musicians, professionals in search of new ideas or simply curious show-goers looking for a more interactive experience.

The Symposium is a space where professional or budding artists and members of the musical community share their knowledge through workshops and discussions. This guide will walk you through the more promising events of this underrated part of POP Montreal.

Improvising with Mahala Rai Banda

Mahala Rai, a Romanian nine-piece band, has played over 200 shows in 26 countries. They will be doing a jam with whoever has an instrument and wants to play. This should be fun and interesting, considering the language barrier that will force all to communicate through the international language of music.

Songwriting and Arrangements with Van Dyke Parks

This world renowned musician has composed, produced, arranged, sung and acted with the likes of The Beach Boys, Joanna Newsom, Grace Kelly and Ringo Starr. Van Dyke Parks will give the privilege of accessing his musical knowledge and experience.

Making it Montreal

This workshop is aimed specifically at anglophone artists trying to “make it” in their field within the dominant francophone community. Helpful tips are supplied from bands like Godspeed You! Black Emperor, The Luyas and Sebastian Cowan. Louis Rastelli, the creator of Distroboto/Expozine, will moderate the discussion.

DIY Day Lives On

This interactive workshop with Philly-based Maximilian Lawrence explores the sounds and construction of synthesizers and trigger-toys. Not only will you get to experiment with sound, but you can leave this workshop with your very own instruments. Bring a little money to pitch in for the materials and learn how to build the toy that will shape your new band.

Other workshops to check out are musician-oriented—ideal when searching for tools to promote, distribute, tour and create new art. This section of POP Montreal has teamed up with experienced, fascinating speakers and, given that almost all events are free, is accessible to all.

Symposium events are mostly held at the Agora Hydro-Québec (175 President Kennedy Ave.)
Visit popmontreal.com for other venues.