Yes indeed the 20th Anniversary Edition of the Halifax Pop Explosion is but a mere week away from starting, and as you can plainly see via the use of an exclamation mark in the title of this post, this is exciting news.

If you’re in Halifax and reading this, I have to assume you’re already planning on attending some or all of the HPX festivities, but what of the folks coming from away? People do come from away for HPX, right (I’d ask for someone to tell us if they’re coming to their first HPX in the comments, but hardly anyone ever comments, so that would just look sad)? But on the off chance that someone is coming for their first HPX, here are some handy tips and/or suggestions for “surviving” HPX. People love these!

- Check the weather before heading out. It’s October in Halifax, so going to rain at least one night during the Festival. Lucky for you the Ack and I will be attending zero shows together, which always guaranteed rain, but still: rain.

- Check out the CKDU lobby shows. These crammed affairs at Halifax’s stalwart college radio station always seem to produce some of the Festival’s more memorable moments.

- See something at St. Mathew’s church. Just a great venue for a show, and the energy for these shows during HPX usually makes each one special. There are four chances to see a show there this time around, so pick a night, get out early and settle in for a treat.

- Drink an Olands or a Schooner at a show. Forget what you heard, these are the real Halifax beers. Of course Propeller and Garrison are also good choices if you are looking for microbrews. (I should qualify this with “if you can find them” often the venues only serve one particular sponsor’s brands, which can limit your local choices).

- See a show at Gus’ Pub: classic venue in what has become the heart of Halifax’s artistic community. Try the communal Party Mix if you’re a brave sort. If you’re early enough, the newly opened Ace Burger Co. might still be open.

- Try and catch something at the Marquee Club, a truly legendary Halifax venue that is being re-opened for the occasion (this is roughly the 8th time it’s re-opened, but at some point it will be gone for good!). Saturday night’s 90s all-star lineup of Cool Blue Halo, Hip Club Groove and The Super Friendz seems like a good excuse to check it out.

- Check out a show where you know none of the bands on the bill. Yes, this could apply to every single festival, but HPX traditionally does a great job of mixing some of the talented-yet-unheralded acts from Halifax’s fertile local scene with the imported bands.

- Obligatory: end one of your nights with a donair. Everyone has a favourite spot, but it doesn’t really matter where you go, what’s important is that you ensure you establish a solid base of beer first before consuming one. Trust me, this is the preferred manner of Donair consumption for a reason.

- Shake off the night before with a walk on the waterfront and then coffee at a local spot: Two If By Sea, Just Us, Steve-O-Reno’s, The Wired Monk, Cabin Coffee and Uncommon Grounds are the ones that I can name off the top of my head, but there are plenty.

There you go, some exclusive, not-at-all-generic tips for attending HPX 2012! Now for a megablast of songs. If you’re paying attention, you remember that last week we posted various songs from folks playing the first night of the fest, so let’s follow up with some bangers from the folks playing Friday or Saturday night. Get some tickets! Get out and see something next week!