By Matt McKinnon
Two rookie concert promoters are hitting the big time this weekend. After months of hard work, Alex Mlynek and Sharon Mulholland are hosting Canada’s first popfest.
Popfests, essentially two-day gatherings of indie-pop bands (think The Cardigans or White Town before the radio hits) have sprung up in New York City, Los Angeles and Chicago but never in Canada.
“We were too cheap to travel anywhere,” Mulholland, 21, says. “So we thought we would throw our own popfest and make everyone come see us.”
Mulholland and Mlynek have created “aPOPalypse now!” which happens Friday and Saturday night at Club Shanghai, to make up for the dearth of Canadian indie-pop dates.
“None of these bands ever come up to Canada,” Mlynek, 20, says. “We’ve never had a popfest in Canada at all. There are pop bands in Canada, but there is more of a scene in (American) cities.”
Mulholland, a physics student at York, and Mlynek, a Ryerson journalism student, have been involved with the indie-pop scene for more than a year. They both belong to the indie-pop list, an electronic mailing list with about 500 members, and used the list to record much of aPOPalypse.
Aside from the Mlynek, aPOPalypse has a second Ryerson connection; the band Winnie, slated to perform Saturday night, includes Ryerson student Ed Lewis. The event features 10 bands in all, including Ashtray Boy, Violet and Poundsign.
After splitting the door charge ($6 for one night, $10 for both) with the out-of-town performers, the women may recoup their $500 investment. “I think we spent quite a bit of money, considering our incomes,” Mlynek says.
“We’re not going to make any profit off of it,” adds Mulholland. The women will be forced to fork over an additional $300 if bar sales fall below $1,400 over the weekend.
Mulholland considered asking Sloan to lose the festival with a surprise appearance, a move that likely would have ensured a sell-out ( and perhaps a profit), but was beaten to the punch last Tuesday when the band showed up at the Shanghai for a Crazy Money Records benefit.
“I would have liked to have Sloan play a secret show,” Mulholland says. “But I guess someone else had the same bright idea I did.”
“I think these bands can stand on their own. They don’t need a Sloan-type band to bring people in,” Mlynek says.