Ottawa Grassroots and Algonquin College Performing Arts launches ACES in 2020.

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January 30 2020, Ottawa. – The Ottawa Grassroots Festival (OGF) is pleased to announce an exciting partnership with Algonquin College Performing Arts called ACES! This spectacular juried event will take place at Algonquin College, Woodroffe Campus in the Studio Theatre, N112, on April 9, 7:00 p.m.- 9:00 p.m. Algonquin College Entertainers Showcase (ACES) will provide students in the Performing Arts program an opportunity to perform a variety of acts highlighting their talent and creativity in front of a live studio audience.

Ottawa Grassroots Festival Founder and Producer, Bob Nesbitt, couldn’t be happier with this collaboration, “I’m thrilled to offer the winners three 45-minute spots during the daytime schedule at the festival and they will be paid gigs. Including emerging artists in our programming is a core value of the festival”, says Nesbitt. “It is my hope that participating in ACES will be a great experience for the students and will offer them a starting point in their arts careers.”

Teri Loretto who is a professor of Scriptwriting and Performing Arts at the college saw a need in her students for real life experience in the community. “Creating their material (brand) and performing it live will not only help these emerging art students build self-confidence, it will open up opportunities for them in the community” says Loretto. “Ottawa Grassroots builds their line-up with artists of all abilities and I’m really excited and grateful for their support in this new venture. In addition to teaching, Teri Loretto is also on CBC’s media weather team and has hosted CBC’s In Town and Out, when needed.

Celebrity judges will decide on the 3 winning performances to be announced at the end of the show. They will have just two weeks to hone their performances for the Festival! This truly is an exciting opportunity as it offers paid exposure to promising entertainers in the performance world.

Tickets to Ottawa Grassroots – ACES will be $5 keeping prices affordable for students. A sliding scale option with higher amounts can be selected for anyone wishing to contribute more in support of this initiative and can be purchased through Eventbrite closer to the event date. All proceeds from this event will be split equally to benefit The Ottawa Grassroots Festival and Algonquin College.

Online tickets and festival passes for the Ottawa Grassroots Festival evening performances are available via the festival website and physical tickets are available at both Compact Music locations. Tickets will also be available at the door. A festival pass is $55 (early bird online until Jan. 31); $60 at the door. Ticket prices for individual nights are: $25-Thurs., $20-Fri. and $35-Sat. The daytime programming on both Saturday and Sunday are FREE for everyone! The festival takes place April 23-26, 2020) in its new location at St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church, 82 Kent Street (corner of Wellington), in Ottawa Centre.

The Grassroots Festival is a family-friendly gathering of folk music, dance and spoken word. This not-for-profit organization prides itself on the participatory workshops it provides, cultivating community and nurturing inclusivity and diversity in fun and friendly ways. Ottawa Grassroots is made possible by the dedication of over 100 volunteers working together to bring visitors a really special musical experience.

Media contacts Ottawa Grassroots:
Bob Nesbitt
Grace Smith

“The Ottawa Grassroots Festival: Cultivating Community.”
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Ottawa Grassroots will deliver a tapestry of iconic Folk, Indigenous beats and Franco-Ontarian soundscapes.

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

March 6, 2019 Ottawa ON – The Ottawa Grassroots Festival (OGF) celebrated their 8th launch event today to an eager group of volunteers, sponsors and fans at Irene’s Pub in the Glebe, a spiritual home to artists and musicians for a quarter of a century.  Bob Nesbitt, Founder and Festival Producer revealed the full line-up of performers and workshops which celebrates Indigenous, Franco-Ontarian and iconic folk music with a beautiful spectrum of established and emerging artists of all ages. Performances by two local favourites, Jack Pine (Gareth Auden-Hole) and Jill Jeffrey provided musical interludes at the launch party.  The festival returns to Southminster United Church, April 25-28, 2019 in Old Ottawa South. It will close the circle of music at Irene’s with a post festival after party Sunday evening, billed as a “Jack Pine and Grassroots friends” event.

The tradition continues at Ottawa Grassroots with a “Franco-night”, which was introduced six years ago, in an ongoing effort to introduce French music to predominately English audiences.  Nominated for seven Trille Or Awards, Le Paysagiste, a French solo-project for Dayv Poulin, promises to deliver a soundscape of beautiful pop-rock, with elements of folk and country music to his audience. This headliner’s songs resonate with listeners and deliver an experience high in emotion and intensity. Opening the evening will be Blind River, Franco-Ontarian, singer-songwriter, François Lemieux, who has performed for French and English audiences in concerts and festivals from coast to coast.  Lemieux has released an autobiographical collection of songs which tackles addiction problems, his emotional trauma but also reconciliation and healing.

Nesbitt has programmed two-themed nights for the 2019 festival. He explained, “The Saturday evening will feature an all Indigenous roster. I’ve been planning this for some time and I’m excited it has come together this year. ShoShona Kish, the female half of our Saturday night headliner – Digging Roots, organized and led one of the biggest events, the Indigenous Summit, at Folk Alliance International (FAI-2019). This summit made clear how important it is to have Indigenous content in a festival. We started programming Indigenous performers in our festival a couple of years ago, and here we are with an all Indigenous evening, which is something we are extremely proud of.”

Multi-award winning folk rockers, Digging Roots, will headline the all-Indigeneous evening. First Nations power couple, ShoShona and Raven, are the creative team and inspiration behind this band.  They blend folk-rock, pop, blues and hip hop with Indigeneous music. Engaging wider audiences to promote their Anishinabek music and cultural ideals is key to this band. In addition to winning Juno and Canada Folk Music Awards, ShoShona Kish can now add the 2019 Spirit of Folk Award to the collection.

Algonquin Elder Albert Dumont will open the evening with an address/prayer.  He has released a new book of poetry Sitting by the Rapids. A special daytime workshop incorporating Dumont’s poetry and music is in the works, also.   Actress, singer -songwriter, spoken word poet, and visual artist, Doreen T Stevens is a local Algonquin artist from Kitiganzibi, Quebec returns to Ottawa Grassroots to open for Digging Roots.

The Friday evening will be a celebration of folk music with the iconic and prolific Juno Award winner, Ian Tamblyn as the headliner. Tamblyn will be performing backed by top local favourites, Rebecca Campbell, Fred Guignon and Pat Mayer. For a rare performance, the Toasted Westerns, will reunite at the festival and warm the audience for Tamblyn.  This trio of multi-instrumental artists is Jody Benjamin, Sally Robinson and Ann Downey.

The total 2019 line-up reveals that Ottawa Grassroots has consistently had over 50% of their programming represented by female performers, since the event’s inception in 2011.  Equality, diversity, inclusion and participation continue to be fundamental values for this community driven festival and “Participation is key to experiencing Ottawa Grassroots!” says Nesbitt.

Workshops announced include gardening with Mary Reid (Green Thumb Gardens), Inuit games, The Terry Penner Weekend Choir, jam sessions, Gil’s Hootenanny Contest, sing-along song circles, an open stage event, KidZone and another festival favourite, a workshop for toddlers and babies. Without these engaging and fun workshops for the whole family, it would not be grassroots!

Confirmed as daytime performers at OGF2019 are Jazz duo, Karen Oxorn and Tim Bedner, Nona Grandea, and Canadian Folk Music Award’s 2008 Vocalist of the Year, Tannis Slimmon, performs with recording artist Lewis Melville.  A sixteen year old trick fiddler, Jessica Wedden backed by Jon McLurg, Jessica Pearson and the East Wind, Kevin Ecker, Pete Woods, Christine Graves, Mark Evenchick, Nina Peterson, Steve Kennedy, Dave Doron, Howie Hooper, and Jamie Anderson to name a few.

Online tickets and festival passes for Ottawa Grassroots evening performances are available via the festival website and physical tickets are available at both Compact Music locations.  A festival pass is $59 (online); $60 at the door. Ticket prices for individual nights are: $20-Thurs., $30-Fri. and $35-Sat. The daytime programming on both Saturday and Sunday are FREE for everyone!

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

Media contacts:

Grace Smith:  media@ottawagrassrootsfestival.com

“The Ottawa Grassroots Festival: Cultivating Community.”

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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.

Le Festival Grassroots s’ouvre au son de la musique traditionnelle canadienne française

Photo Credit: Julien Lavoie

Le 16 janvier 2018 – Le Festival Grassroots d’Ottawa (FGO) a le plaisir de confirmer que Jean-Marc Lalonde, chanteur-compositeur canadien français, sera la tête d’affiche du spectacle présenté jeudi soir le 26 avril, à Vieux-Ottawa-Sud. Le FGO, qui célèbre sa 7e année, se déroulera du 26 au 29 avril 2018 à l’église Southminster United Church, située au 15, avenue Aylmer, à Ottawa.

Jean-Marc Lalonde est mieux connu comme l’accordéoniste de la formation traditionnelle La Ligue du Bonheur et du groupe folk-rock Deux Saisons. Dans son plus récent projet musical intitulé Hey, Wow, Jean-Marc explore un nouveau son rock qui conserve toutefois des allures trad et roots. Il propose des chansons enjouées qui racontent les moments forts de la vie : l’amour fou, le désarroi de la rupture et la vengeance qui suit. Il aborde même le sujet épineux des chicanes de couple au magasin IKEA! Sa musique fait danser jusqu’aux petites heures et ses chansons trouvent un écho dans chacun de nous.

En 2014, Hey, Wow remporte le prix Songs from the heart de la meilleure chanson en français, décerné par le Conseil ontarien des festivals folk et Stingray Music, pour C’est toi que ça me prend. En 2015, le groupe est récipiendaire de trois prix lors du gala de clôture de la 34e édition de Contact Ontarois : le prix Coup de Foudre, le prix Festival du Voyageur et le prix Festival Franco-Fête de Toronto.

« La musique traditionnelle canadienne française connaît un regain de popularité, et Jean-Marc Lalonde est à la tête de ce mouvement, affirme Bob Nesbitt, fondateur et réalisateur du Festival Grassroots d’Ottawa. Nous avons choisi, pour inaugurer le Festival, un spectacle de musique on ne peut plus représentatif de cette tendance. »

Les billets pour les spectacles en soirée et les laissez-passer de fin de semaine sont maintenant disponibles en ligne sur le site Web du Festival. Les prix sont abordables pour les familles (accès gratuit pour les enfants âgés de 15 ans et moins lorsqu’ils sont accompagnés d’un adulte). Les activités de jour le samedi et le dimanche sont GRATUITES et ouvertes à tous!

Le Festival Grassroots est un événement pour la famille mettant en vedette la musique folk, la danse et le « spoken word ». Cet organisme sans but lucratif est entièrement dirigé par des bénévoles et se fait une fierté d’offrir des ateliers participatifs rassembleurs qui resserrent les liens d’appartenance à la collectivité dans un esprit de divertissement et d’amitié.

« Le Festival Grassroots d’Ottawa : promouvoir la culture au sein de la collectivité »