HUFF Returns In 2017


The Halifax Urban Folk Festival (HUFF) returns with performances by John K Samson, Tift Merritt, Moe Berg, Leif Vollebekk, Art Bergmann, Ron Hawkins, Skydiggers, and more. The festival, presented by Propeller Brewing Co., takes place in Halifax, NS from August 27 to September 3, 2017. Tickets are available for purchase on Friday, June 16.


John K Samson is a revered songwriter who has, in addition to his celebrated solo work, been part of the seminal Canadian acts The Weakerthans and Propagandhi. Inspired by the search for connection and community, his hometown of Winnipeg, and our individual and collective struggles with addictions to drugs, screens, and fossil fuels, Samson’s latest full-length album, Winter Wheat, is a sprawling, masterful and timely work by a writer at the peak of his powers.

Tift Merritt is a Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter and recording artist. Her uniquely satisfying stew of rock and roll, soul, folk, and country garnered high critical acclaim from outlets such as Vanity Fair, Rolling Stone, Time, The Wall Street Journal, NPR, and CNN. Her first two records landed on The New Yorker’s Top Ten List and she has appeared on Austin City Limits, The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, and The Late Show with David Letterman.


A producer, author, teacher, and musician, Moe Berg is perhaps best known for his work with the Toronto rock group, The Pursuit of Happiness. Their power pop single “I’m An Adult Now” became an underground hit and lead to success for the band throughout the ’90s. Berg’s latest musical venture sees him teaming up with Chris Murphy (Sloan), Steven Page (Barenaked Ladies), and Craig Northey (Odds) to form The Trans-Canada Highwaymen.

Some artists go on feeling like secrets long after they’ve started being told. Leif Vollebekk is one of these treasures. Vollebekk’s latest, long overdue LP, Twin Solitude, has been heralded by prestigious outlets such as NPR who called the single “Elegy” “devastatingly beautiful,” and the Village Voice who described the album as “a project that sits at the nexus of color and mood.”


As a member of bands such as Young Canadians, Los Popularos, and Poisoned, Art Bergmann was a key figure in the burgeoning Canadian punk scene in the 1970s and 1980s. In 1991, Bergmann earned a JUNO Award for his self-titled album, which yielded the single “Faithlessly Yours.” Twenty six years after that release, the album has been remastered, re-titled as Remember Her Name, and re-issued.

Ron Hawkins has long been heralded as one of Canada’s greatest contemporary singer-songwriters. In addition to being lead singer/multi-instrumentalist and main songwriter of the legendary act Lowest of the Low and a founding member of The Rusty Nails, Hawkins remains a prolific musician who has also released a number of solo albums including his latest, 2016’s Spit Sputter & Sparkle.


If someone takes up a Canadian Rock Family Tree project and plots the development of the Canadian roots rock community, they may discover that many — if not all — branches and roots at some point interconnect with the Skydiggers. A mainstay for more than a quarter of a century, the band has released 18 albums including their latest, Here Without You – The Songs of Gene Clark. The legendary act will perform a special show at The Marquee Club on Friday, September 01.

Fresh off a sold out album release in Halifax for their new album, In The Battle Years, Hillsburn joins the HUFF lineup as the opening act for Skydiggers. The powerful young band was deemed New/Emerging Artist of the Year by the Canadian Folk Music Awards in December, and placed in the national Top 10 for CBC’s Searchlight competition in 2015.

More in store for HUFF 2017

In addition to these headliners, the 8th edition of the Halifax Urban Folk Festival presented by Propeller Brewing Co. hosts performances from Kim Harris, The Olympic Symphonium, Civil Wray, Stewart Legere, The Heavy Blinkers, Oh Susanna, Like A Motorcycle, and Camille Dean. As always, a specially curated group of local musicians will make up The Halifax All Stars and serve as backing bands for John K Sampson, Tift Merritt, Moe Berg, Art Bergmann, and Ron Hawkins during the festival. More acts will be announced in the coming weeks.

HUFF 2017 is also expanding it’s urban footprint in the city of Halifax, branching out to include several new venues this year. The Timber Lounge, The Marquee Club, The Anchor, and The Stubborn Goat Waterfront Beer Garden will feature live music throughout the week, as well as The Seahorse Tavern, The Loose Cannon, Tempo, and The Carleton Music Bar & Grill – HUFF’s proven homebase.

“With the fate of The Carleton hanging in the balance, we were forced to suspend our Halifax Urban Folk Festival in 2016 – a tough but very necessary decision. Now that the future of that venue is secure, we’re very happy we can concentrate on reviving HUFF and making it bigger, and better, than ever with thanks to major sponsors like Propeller Brewing Co. and NewCap Radio,” says Mike Campbell, Artistic Director of HUFF. “The festival has always been (and always will be) a celebration of songs and the people who write them and we’re stoked to be able to bring all this talent to Halifax for the enjoyment of residents and visitors alike.”

HUFF 2017 is thrilled to welcome Propeller Brewing Co. on board as presenting sponsor of the festival. This year marks Propeller’s 20th anniversary brewing delicious craft beer in Halifax, and HUFF is proud to partner with this local and community-minded business to present a week of live music in venues throughout the city.

“As the presenting sponsor of HUFF, Propeller Brewing Co. is proud to support live, local music in Halifax,” says John Allen, Founder & President of Propeller Brewing Co. “We’ve been witnesses to, and beneficiaries of, the craft beer renaissance and feel compelled to support other great aspects of craft in the community. What the crew at HUFF is doing to curate amazing talent for unique and intimate shows throughout Halifax’s urban core is – in my mind – a real display of craft. We are excited to team up with HUFF and look forward to many years of fun together as we combine the best of craft beer and craft music in the Halifax urban core.”

To learn more about the Halifax Urban Folk Festival presented by Propeller Brewing Company, and to buy tickets, please visit

About the author


Jeff is one-fourth of the group that makes up HAFILAX. His usual ramblings can be read right here on the website. If reading isn't your thing, he also hosts the Basement Tapes podcast.