In the Dead of Winter takes 2020 off

The fest is "taking a step back" on its 15th year.

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Toronto's Witch Prophet played the 2018 festival. - SAMUEL ENGELKING
  • SAMUEL ENGELKING
  • Toronto's Witch Prophet played the 2018 festival.

Following last month's announcement that a cease-and-desist from artist Shepard Fairey will force the OBEY Convention to change its name for 2020, comes the announcement from another small-and-tough festival, the 14-year-old In the Dead of Winter: It's taking next year off.

“It’s expensive and it’s hard to do this right now, so we’re taking a step back,” says executive director Dana Beeler matter-of-factly. Beeler took the reigns three years ago from Heather Gibson, who started it with Jenn Grant, Jill Barber and Rose Cousins as a singer-songwriter festival in 2006. Under Beeler it leaned more indie-rock and experimental.

“I don’t want to shut things down totally—I think IDOW is an important part of the Halifax music scene," says Beeler, who also leads the rock band Hello Delaware. “But with a little bit of space, for myself mostly, I can re-evaluate what IDOW can be or could be going forward. The only for-sure thing is it’s not happening this year.”

IDOW has brought the likes of Waxahatchee, Palehound, Owen Pallett, Shawn Colvin and Ani DiFranco to town across 14 Januaries.

“We kind of broke Witch Prophet here on the east coast,” says Beeler. “After she played IDOW she played every other east coast festival and is now a pretty big indie name. That’s my most prideful moment. We brought in some pretty great bands and I am really happy I got the opportunity.”

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