XPAND Featured Speakers


Lido Pimienta

Lido Pimienta is a Toronto-based, Colombian-born interdisciplinary musician and artist-curator. She has performed, exhibited, and curated around the world since 2002, exploring the politics of gender, race, motherhood, identity and the construct of the Canadian landscape in the Latin American diaspora and vernacular.


Malcolm London

Malcolm London, called the Gil-Scott Heron of this generation by Cornel West, is an internationally recognized Chicago poet, activist, educator & musician. London, who runs the largest youth open mic in Chicago alongside friend Chance The Rapper, sees art as the intersection between justice & poetic imagination.


Laina Dawes

Laina Dawes is the author of What Are You Doing Here? A Black Woman’s Life and Liberation in Heavy Metal. A music and cultural critic, her writings and photography can be found in print, online publications and radio programs, such as Hazlitt, The Wire (UK), Fader, Bitch Magazine, Toronto Star and CBC Radio.

XPAND Schedule

All events take place at the Halifax Central Library, 5440 Spring Garden Rd.
The RBC Learning Centre is located on the third floor.
Paul O'Regan Hall is located on the ground level.

Thursday, October 19th


How We Deal:
Lawyers Discuss How and Why We Contract in the Music Industry

10:00 AM – 10:50 AM
RBC Learning Centre

Presenters: Matthew Gorman, Jared Leon

So: you are presented with a fancy recording, management or publishing agreement – what next? Reading it is a start, but some clauses may not mean a whole lot without legal guidance. In this scintillating presentation, Matt and Jared will help you navigate through common deal points within music contracts and what to look out for (and why). The presenters will also set the stage by discussing legal basics such as copyrights and business structures, viewed through the lens of contracts and various legal clauses. Buckle up…

Navigating the Labyrinth:
U.S. Visas for Performing Artists

11:00 AM – 11:45 AM
RBC Learning Centre
Presenter: Amanda Gupta

Amanda Gupta is a lawyer with CoveyLaw and will cover the basics of obtaining a US Visa for performing: who needs a visa, O & P visa requirements, sponsorship & timelines. She will then discuss resources to help the process of acquiring a visa, and finish with an overview of Tamizdat’s U.S. immigration policy work.




Pop Friction - Music, Marketing, and the Science of Disruption

1:30 PM – 2:20 PM
RBC Learning Centre
Presenter: Jennifer Sullivan, President, memBrain LLC
Moderator:  Allen Richardson, Vice President of Merchandising, Licensing and Partnerships for PopSockets, LLC.

Technology has created seismic shifts in the worlds of business, media and entertainment, giving rise to an era ruled by innovators, disruptors and so-called influencers. Jennifer Sullivan, President of the Los Angeles-based consultancy memBrain, has worked at the epicenter of these converging industries for 15+ years, overseeing some of the most iconic and far-reaching marketing programs for various global clients. Offering the unique perspective of having been both an artist as well as a marketer, Jennifer will discuss her concept of “Pop Friction” which posits that there is a rapidly growing eco-system where creators and marketers are working together to create collaborations with shared benefits. Moderating the conversation will be Allen Richardson, a creative marketing, product development and licensing executive with 20+ years of experience specializing in the intersections of toy, tech, and art. Learn how musicians and marketers are working together to create meaningful partnerships that are both mutually rewarding and compelling for audiences.

Navigating the World of Social and Media with Compelling Content

2:30 PM – 3:20 PM
RBC Learning Centre
Presenter: Fiona Bloom (The Bloom Effect)

How can bands/artists reach the media in engaging ways with effective results as well as identify fans, comprehend targets and demos, and nurture and build audiences? Fiona Bloom of The Bloom Effect will demonstrate the process it takes to communicate messaging – whether a tour, album release, single premiere, or overall artist update – via various outlets and platforms such as podcasts, blogs, playlists, print, internet radio, terrestrial radio, web portals, mobile, and TV. By understanding that your audience and fans are #1 and that they are with you on your whole journey, you're able to keep them in the palm of your hands with the right strategy, voice, and authenticity.



XPAND Music and Canadian Label Summit Label Profile: Buzz Records

3:30 PM – 4:30 PM
RBC Learning Centre
Presenters: Ian Chai (Buzz Records), Denholm Whale (Beeswax Booking), Tom Avis (Hive Mind PR)
Moderator: Brooke Morgan (Paper Bag Records)

Join Ian, Denholm, and Tom as we peek behind the curtain of one of Canada’s most important and thriving independent labels; Buzz Records. From humble beginnings as underground performance space The Garage to fully formed record label (Buzz), booking agency (Beeswax), and PR firm (Hive Mind), this profile will examine the challenges and successes of operating an independent label in the current industry landscape.

Friday, October 20th

XPAND presents Festival Focus:
Treefort Music Fest

11:00 AM – 12:00 PM
RBC Learning Centre
Presenters: Eric Gilbert, Drew Lorona, Megan Stoll, Sara Peyton

Moderator: Andrew King (Canadian Musician)

Go behind the scenes with one of the most exciting new music festivals in the US, Treefort Music Fest, and discover what it takes to launch a festival in the current musical landscape. Since 2012, Treefort Music Fest has hosted Mac DeMarco, Angel Olsen, Thee Oh Sees, Thundercat, Lizzo, and many more. The Treefort team is here to discuss the successes and challenges they've faced in growing their music, film, and comedy festival in Boise, Idaho, as well as why running their festival with "non-profit" values is so important to their success.



1:00 PM – 2:00 PM
Paul O’Regan Hall
Presenter: Malcolm London

The arts are a powerful tool in leading and inspiring the young professional culture toward social activism. With extensive experience educating and amplifying one's voice, Malcolm London’s work began in the role of student through the youth poetry scene, and has evolved into that of an educator. This session will open the conversation and share insights into how the intersections of race, class, and gender can inform the work spanning local arts organizations and social movements to broader opportunities and challenges within your own community. The artist, educator, and activist will lead a conversation that discusses how he's cultivated a Hip-Hop centric pedagogic strategy to develop programming that inspires movements. 

Extreme Voices and Extreme Views: Rocking in a Not-So Free World

2:15 PM – 3:15 PM
Paul O’Regan Hall
Presenter: Laina Dawes

The current conservative and intolerant political climate have greatly affected creatives from marginalized communities, as they often rely on their individual expression and artistic growth to make sense of the outside world. This discussion will center on how this “alt-right” atmosphere affects how and what music journalists write, how and what musicians create, and how (if they are compelled to) address racial, religious and sexual intolerance within their lyrical content. While the Trump era has created artistic and economic roadblocks, a discussion about the unique window to create exciting opportunities for the future generation of a collective of marginalized, yet historically resilient musical artists, is a discussion well worth having.

Navigate the Industry or Die Trying

3:30 PM – 4:30 PM
Paul O’Regan Hall
Presenter: Lido Pimienta

In this talk, Lido Pimienta will explore the many different ways to be a recording artist, to become an artist (who gets paid) and the hilarious, dramatic and painful ways to survive as one – in the context of Canada from an immigrant’s lense.

Stories of migration, disenfranchisement, rejection, and the usual where, when, and how (?) to fit (a) family, friends, and dating in one’s music career as a woman, racialized person, parent and independent artist, all serve as backdrop to this familiar narrative of the: #emergingartist #findingmyartisticvoice #aesthetic and the ultimate classic #icantpayrentonmyown.

Pimienta’s art talk is an honest conversation about access, democracy of space, apolitical art/music critique, and issues of forced-diversity in art institutions and more specifically, the music industry, in the context of Canada. How can we create safer spaces for vulnerable audiences? What happens when the words: diversity and feminist are used or applied only as pseudo-requirement to meet (a) criteria. How can the Canadian indie music scene grow? Pimienta will use her own personal experience in the music industry to give answers/insights into many of these questions and will take (talk) attendees on a journey of self-care and resistance delivered in the most genuine and true DYI spirit.


To find out more about the Canadian Label Summit and Sync Summit click here

To view a printable Conference Schedule please click here