Homegrown Legend Headlines the Grassroots Festival’s Friday Evening

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

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 Canadian Heritage, 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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Malak Joins the Ottawa Grassroots Roster Rich in Diversity and Participation

March 16, 2017 – The eclectic line-up for both the daytime and evening performances at the Ottawa Grassroots Festival (OGF) is finalized.  Now in its 6th year, this not-for-profit music event will take place from April 20-23 at The Southminster United Church, 15 Aylmer Avenue, in Old Ottawa South. Anne-Marie Brugger  (CHUO host) will be the MC Saturday evening which will start with an opening address/prayer by Algonquin elder, Albert Dumont. Canadian folk/roots singer-songwriter, Ken Whiteley and The Beulah Band will headline the evening which will draw folk enthusiasts to watch a legend perform.

Opening for Whiteley will be Malak, whom Showbox calls “one of the most powerful and beautiful voices in town.” Previously scheduled Twin Flames will not be performing. In a letter to Festival Producer, Bob Nesbitt, Jaaji of Twin Flames explained there was an immediate need for them to participate in a workshop for youth in Kugluqtuq NWT, where there is a high rate of suicide, sexual and physical abuse due to drugs and alcohol. As a result, he advised they will be unable to fulfill their commitment to perform at the festival, offering apologies for the short notice.

“Line-up changes can happen and we think that people coming out on Saturday night will be thrilled with Malak,” says Nesbitt. “Her multi-octave, pitch perfect vocals are mesmerizing and presented with such incredible emotion you’ll get goosebumps.”  Malak grew up in Eygpt and now calls Ottawa home. She has won numerous vocal competitions across Europe.  Recently, Malak was a showcased artist in Megaphono 2017 and is working on her first full length CD, set to be released later this year.  In Arabic, her name translates to “angel”, which describes this unique songstress beautifully.        

The opening night of Grassroots offers evening performances with a powerhouse of Francophone artists including headliners Mélanie Brulée, Anique Granger and Cindy Doire, who have grouped together to present, Une soirée avec les filles. The audience will enjoy the popular/folk acoustic duo, Geneviève RB & Alain Barbeau, who are slated to open and who also performed at the festival launch, March 2 at Pressed Café.

Tonya Price (CKCU host) will MC during the Friday evening performances which will begin with the One World Choir, led by Chris MacLean.  This unique choir brings together voices of new Canadians and refugees in a welcoming setting, creating new friendships and helping the singers learn English along the way.  Co-headliners, Shout Sister Choir and The Durham County Poets complete the evening that promises to fill the sanctuary at Southminster United with sweet songs, many of which will surely have the audience joining in.

Tickets for Ottawa Grassroots evening performances are on sale, available online through 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!  “We are excited about the daytime programming we have lined up this year,” says Nesbitt.

Daytime performers scheduled for Saturday and Sunday include an array of talented local artists: Jill Zmud, Acacia Lyra, Jamie Anderson, Julie Corrigan, Francine Leclair, The Shirt Tearing Boys, Vince Halfhide, James Blondeau, The Paugan Dames, Jillian Kerr and Emma Lamontagne (winner of Ottawa Bluesfest’s 2016 “She’s The One” contest). Spoken word artists, Albert Dumont and Deborah Kigjugalik Webster, along with singer-songwriter Larissa Desrosier are a few of the Indigenous performers scheduled to appear, in a year which finds the festival broadening its vision towards full inclusivity. The Grassroots Festival would not be complete without OGF favourites, The Sparrows. Led by Chris White, this group of home-schooled children between the ages of 4 and 11, along with some very talented adults, will be presenting a workshop geared towards children on Sunday.  

For folks interested in workshops — where participation is key — there is plenty to explore. For example, festival participants can learn how to build a cigar box guitar or they can join in song with The Terry Penner Weekend Choir, where anyone can lend their voice. Or, “learn how to build your own band” with Pat Moore and Garry Greenland.  Also, new this year, the festival is hosting a few of the talented songwriters of the Canadian Song-Along, an annual song writing challenge and performance event where established singer-songwriters write a song from amongst 4 or 5 topics and then perform their new tune. Jam sessions, Gil’s Hootenanny Contest, an open stage event, KidZone and another festival favourite, a workshop for toddlers and babies, led by singer-songwriter Kristine St. Pierre and a workshop with the Festival of India are all synonymous with grassroots.

The Grassroots Festival is a family-friendly gathering of folk music, dance and spoken word. It’s called Grassroots because it is! This 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.

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