Halifax Pop Explosion has apologized for the actions of a volunteer who interrupted a performance from Lido Pimienta at the festival with "overt racism."
A statement from Georgie Dudka, on behalf of the festival's board of directors, states that "a white HPX volunteer along with several other white people in the audience reacted to the 2017 Polaris Prize winner inviting 'brown girls to the front' of the venue with overt racism."
The show took place as part of Halifax Pop Explosion on October 19 at the Marquee Club.
As artist Allie O'Manique (a.k.a. Trails) told the Canadian Press, the volunteer photographer refused to step away from her spot near the front, insisting she stay near the front to take photos. "Finally after saying it about 10 times — and the woman refused to move — [Pimienta] said, 'You're cutting into my set time and you're disrespecting these women, and I don't have time for this,"' O'Manique recalled.
In the festival's statement, it revealed that "this volunteer was removed by Lido herself" and that "they have since received notification from the festival that they are no longer welcome to volunteer with us."
"We will not accept this behaviour and neither should you," the statement reads. "Be responsible for your friends — talk to them and support them as they move towards unpacking their racism. People of Colour deserve safe spaces and it is your responsibility to help. It is also ours."
The festival's statement apologized directly to Pimienta and concertgoers of colour, adding that they are "committing to providing our team with anti-oppression and anti-racism training," in addition to "working with local organizations over the next year to create a list of local resources for our community."
Read the festival's complete statement below.