Ian Tamblyn: A National Treasure Headlines Ottawa Grassroots Festival in 2019

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October 18, 2018 – The Ottawa Grassroots Festival (OGF) is pleased to confirm that Juno Award winner, singer-songwriter, will headline Friday night (April 26) at the festival in Old Ottawa South. A 50 year career has enabled this prolific and iconic Canadian artist to write over 1500 songs, release over thirty-three recordings and be honoured with both Juno and Canadian Folk Music Awards. Tamblyn will be performing at Ottawa Grassroots backed by top local favourites, Rebecca Campbell, Fred Guignon and Pat Mayer. The festival will take place April 25-28, 2019 at The Southminster United Church, 15 Aylmer Avenue, Ottawa.

With a list of achievements and recognitions long enough to pave Tiger Lily Road, Tamblyn has also mastered the art of record producer, playwright and adventurer. Travels to remote places such as Antarctica, South Georgia, the Falklands, Scotland , Iceland , Greenland and the Canadian Arctic have resulted in collections of music that are occasionally interwoven with unique natural sounds from these regions.

“We are stoked to have one of Canada’s national treasures headline the festival in 2019,” beams Nesbitt. “When people talk about icons in Canadian Folk music, it doesn’t take very long before Ian Tamblyn’s name weaves into the conversation. He has written so many beautiful songs in his vast career. This will be a special night for sure! Ian Tamblyn will be performing music from throughout his career, including tracks from this year’s release Let It Go, which is a stunning, painterly collection of songs.”

Diversity and inclusiveness continue to be important values for this musical event and it is not limited only to the line-up but at all levels of the organization. The festival, garnered an “A” rating for delivering a gender balanced line-up in 2017. This is an accomplishment only a few festivals were able to achieve.

Online tickets and festival passes for Ottawa Grassroots evening performances are expected to be available before Christmas. A priority for OGF has always been to keep it 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.

“The Ottawa Grassroots Festival: Cultivating Community.”
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OGF on the A-List

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We made the A-list!

The results of the 2017 Festival Report Card graded by the Canadian Women Working in Music (CWWM) are in and The Ottawa Grassroots Festival received an A for its gender balanced line-up. They graded 89 festivals and 30 made the A list!  Other A-listers include Peterborough Folk Festival, Home County Music and Art Festival, Hillside Festival and Summerfolk. Visit the CWWM website for the complete list.

Ottawa Grassroots Festival Founder and Producer, Bob Nesbitt, has always strived to achieve gender balance since the festival began in 2011.  “It is a goal which will continue to guide all aspects of OGF. Gender equality is present not only in our headliners but the whole line-up, volunteer base, and Board of Directors”, says Nesbitt.

The 2019 line-up is in the works. Check back with us in the fall, when we will be announcing the headliners. In the meantime, follow us on Facebook or Twitter, for festival news and other updates.

It is great news to see the global movement for gender balance now in Canada with many festivals working towards the 50:50 pledge by 2022. This wave of change is a positive flow to be embraced and a long time coming. Read more about this in The Ottawa Citizen story by Lynn Saxberg: Global movement for gender-balanced music fests hits Ottawa

Enjoy this beautiful summer, folks! There is so much great music to discover and an abundance of other festivals to explore before OGF2019.

Grassroots Opening Night Rocks Up Traditional French Canadian Music.

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Passer à la version française …

Photo Credit: Julien Lavoie

January 16, 2018 – The Ottawa Grassroots Festival (OGF) is pleased to confirm that French Canadian singer-songwriter, Jean-Marc Lalonde, will headline Thursday night (April 26) in Old Ottawa South. Now celebrating its 7th year, the event will take place from April 26-29, 2018 at The Southminster United Church, 15 Aylmer Avenue, Ottawa.

Jean-Marc Lalonde is best known as the accordionist for the traditional group La Ligue du Bonheur, as well as the folk-rock band Deux Saisons and his latest project Hey, Wow! With this rocking new sound, while still keeping a foot in traditional and roots music, Jean-Marc offers up playful songs that talk about the moments in life that stand out: the joys of falling in love, along with the chaos, break-ups and revenge that follows. He even sings about the typical arguments that every couple has at Ikea. The music can keep people dancing into the wee hours and the songs are ones everyone can relate to.

In 2014, Hey, Wow won the Songs From The Heart Award from Folk Music Ontario and Stingray Music for Best Francophone Song for C’est toi que ça me prend. In 2015, the group received three awards at the closing gala of the 34th Contact Ontarois: the Coup de Foudre Award, the Festival du Voyageur Award and the Festival Franco-Fête de Toronto Award.

“Traditional French Canadian music is on the leading edge of a resurgence in popularity and Jean Marc Lalonde is leading this movement” says Bob Nesbitt, Founder and Producer, Ottawa Grassroots Festival. “What better way to open a festival than with an evening of music which will definitely be one of those Hallmark moments”.

Tickets for Ottawa Grassroots evening performances and weekend passes are now for sale online on the festival website. 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 -is proud of the participatory workshops it provides, cultivating community and nurturing inclusivity in a fun and friendly way.

“The Ottawa Grassroots Festival: Cultivating Community.”

Homegrown Legend Headlines the Grassroots Festival’s Friday Evening

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November 28, 2017 – The Ottawa Grassroots Festival (OGF) is pleased to confirm that legendary folk artist, Sneezy Waters and His Very Fine Band, will headline Friday night (April 27) at the festival in Old Ottawa South. Now celebrating its 7th year, the event will take place from April 26-29, 2018 at The Southminster United Church, 15 Aylmer Avenue, Ottawa.

Sneezy Waters sang as a child in Ottawa’s St. Luke’s Church Choir and in the 70’s in local coffee houses such as Café Le Hibou. After touring and performing in Japan and Hong-Hong, he returned home and began performing where he garnered the title of “Ottawa’s first busker”. Today he continues to perform to sold-out audiences here and across the country either solo or with His Very Fine Band consisting of Dave Bignell and Vince Halfhide – guitars; Ed Bimm – keyboards; Ann Downey – upright bass; and Peter Beaudoin – drums. They play an eclectic range of music from many genres and eras, blending jazz, blues, folk, country, rock, reggae and even African music.

“There is no shortage of amazing and talented musicians and singer/songwriters in the Ottawa area” says Bob Nesbitt, Producer of the Ottawa Grassroots Festival. “Having Lynn Miles and Sneezy Waters and His Fine Band part of the festival in 2018 will shine a spotlight on some of Ottawa’s finest artists.”

Headliners for the opening night of the festival will be announced very soon. As in previous years, the evening will showcase Francophone artists. 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.

Ottawa’s Crown Jewel will Headline the Grassroots Festival April 2018

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October 23, 2017 – The Ottawa Grassroots Festival (OGF) is pleased to confirm that one of Canada’s most accomplished singer-songwriters, Lynn Miles, will headline Saturday night (April 28) at the festival in Old Ottawa South. Now celebrating its 7th year, the event will take place from April 26-29, 2018 at The Southminster United Church, 15 Aylmer Avenue, Ottawa.

With twelve albums to her credit, the winner of multiple Canadian Folk Music awards (2011 English Songwriter of the Year), and a 2003 Juno award for Roots and Traditional Solo Album of the Year, she has certainly found her strength over time. “Lynn’s music often draws on her love of literature and poetry, but her magic as a songwriter is also in her ability to take life experiences and interpret them in a way that people relate to.” – The Tennessean

“I’m absolutely thrilled to have Lynn Miles headline our festival in 2018″ says Bob Nesbitt, Festival Producer. “She most definitely is a crown jewel in Ottawa, who has been performing in this city since the 70s.  She is a gifted performer and so well respected among artists, communities and her devoted fan base in Canada and Internationally.”

Campbell Woods, will be opening for Lynn Miles. His songs are all about attention paid and stories revealed. They are his stories and his songs, but an evening with Campbell Woods is an invitation to be reminded of your stories, our stories, and how they all echo around the room when truth is told. . He has been performing for years in the bars of the Ottawa Valley, festivals and halls across Eastern Ontario, the whole map of Halifax music venues. He sings and plays guitar, most of the time he can cover bass and keys, too.

The Ottawa Grassroots Festival recently was awarded a grant from Heritage Canada allowing, Festival Producer, Bob Nesbitt to cast a wider net in selecting the line-up for 2018. “This will be a beautiful evening at Southminster United Church which is certain to fill the Sanctuary with sweet sounds and stories and many fans”,  smiles Nesbitt.  

Bob Nesbitt is finalizing the line-ups for the Thursday and Friday nights, with more announcements coming soon.  This festival values inclusivity and  promises to be rich in outstanding performers with an emphasis on local artists.  

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 on the participatory workshops it provides, cultivating community and nurturing inclusivity in a fun and friendly way.

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Ottawa Grassroots Festival 2016 Video Summary

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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!