Grammy and Juno nominated Ken Whiteley and The Beulah Band Headlines The Ottawa Grassroots Festival in April 2017



October 20, 2016 – The Ottawa Grassroots Festival (OGF) is pleased to confirm that Canadian folk/roots music legend, singer-songwriter, Ken Whiteley and The Beulah Band will headline the Saturday night (April 22) at the festival in Old Ottawa South. Now celebrating its 6th year, the event will take place from April 20-23, 2017 at The Southminster United Church, 15 Aylmer Avenue, Ottawa.

Deeply rooted in traditional North American folk music, Whiteley and the band have performed together for over 10 years! They will deliver songs rich in roots, blues, gospel, swing, string and jug band sounds.  The Beulah Band is comprised of great harmony singers: Ben Whiteley (Ken’s son) on string bass, banjoist, Frank Evans and fiddler, Rosalyn Dennett. Their arrangements come alive with  a three part vocal blend. Canadian folk legend, Ken Whiteley has a long and honored history on the roots music scene.  He has received Juno and Grammy Award Nominations, a Canadian Folk Music Award, a Genie Award for the Best Original Song in a Canadian movie and Lifetime Achievement Awards from Folk Music Ontario and the Mariposa Folk Festival.

“I sometimes joke that I never went to university” said Ken Whiteley. “I went to folk festivals instead, starting from when I was 13 years old. I think that’s where I absorbed the idea, that there are connections between music all over the world, that the lines which divide us are pretty arbitrary, and that music has the capacity to bridge some of those lines. I remember being up in the highlands of Haiti in the late ’70s with my guitar where no one spoke English and my Canadian French was useless too, but we could play music and sing together.” For a guy who found his ‘promised land’ in music decades ago, the Beulah Band seems to be one of the most satisfying encounters yet. (Reviewer: Rob Levesque, Penquin Eggs, 2015)

The Ottawa Grassroots Festival prides itself in bringing together music of different genres and languages that encourages audience participation. “It’s an honour to have one of Canada’s most respected roots musicians headline for us in 2017 ”says Bob Nesbitt, Producer of the Ottawa Grassroots Festival. “He’s energetic, funny  and you’ll love how he gets his audience participating in humorous ways.”

Nesbitt is finalizing the line-ups for the Thursday and Friday nights, with more announcements coming soon.  This festival values inclusivity and one can look forward to a mosaic of musicians offering  rich performances that will ultimately expand your musical palette.

Tickets for Ottawa Grassroots evening performances will be available online before Christmas. They are priced to be affordable for families (children 15 and under are free when accompanied by an adult). The daytime events on both  Saturday and  Sunday are FREE for everyone!

The Grassroots Festival is a family-friendly gathering of folk music, dance and spoken word. This not-for-profit organization is run entirely by volunteers and prides itself for the participatory workshops it provides, cultivating community and nurturing inclusivity in a fun and friendly way.

For more information:
Additional artist information:

Ottawa Grassroots Festival 2016 Video Summary


We are an inclusive, family-focused and volunteer-driven celebration of folk music that takes place early every April just as winter is giving way to spring.We are especially proud of being inclusive by involving people of all abilities in our event.Take a look at this video snapshot of the 2016 Ottawa Grassroots Festival, shot & edited by Chad Kirvan. This was the 5th edition of the festival, and our first time in our new location at Southminster United Church, in Old Ottawa South beside the historic Rideau Canal. The video helps explain why so many volunteers, sponsors, artists and community partners get involved every year!