POP Montreal brings festivals back with mix of live and online shows

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After a long, quiet summer without festivals in the city of festivals, POP Montreal is among the events bringing music back to town for fall.

The 19th edition of the indie culture fest will not just be online — as was the case with most festivals attempting to maintain some sort of presence during the lockdown over the past several months, with Quebec having banned festivals through Aug. 31.

Most of POP’s vastly reduced roster of concerts, talks, films and other fun will be streamed online, but there will be real-life, physical events taking place at and around Mile End’s Rialto Theatre, from Sept 23 to 27.

Following months of uncertainty, plans for this year’s festival finally came into focus at the beginning of August, when Quebec announced gatherings of up to 250 people would be allowed going forward.

“It was a waiting game all summer, just trying to understand all the government regulations,” said POP Montreal co-founder and creative director Dan Seligman. “(Before) they made the announcement, we were prepared to go either way — 100 per cent virtual, or some sort of hybrid event.”

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