Gil’s Grassroots Hootenanny Contest

Inspired by the legacy of Gil Levine, Monday, May 1st, 2017 will mark the 8th year for Ottawa’s Gil’s Hootenanny, the annual community sing-along celebrating the stories, struggles and victories of working people. Gil spent his life working for social justice and was the founding Director of Research at the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE). A great lover of folk music and an enthusiastic supporter of folk musicians, Gil believed in the collective power of song to bring people together to speak up and sing out for change.

The Gil’s Hootenanny Sing-Along Song Writing Contest nurtures the writing and performing of new sing-along songs consistent with the Gil’s Hootenanny themes of “Songs of Protest, Songs of Hope”. The contest has given rise to some excellent musical creations from Canadian songwriters such as Tony Turner, who won in 2015 with his legendary song, Harperman.

The contest encourages sing-along song submissions from songwriters in two categories: “Open” (19 and over), and “Young Composer” (18 and younger). The contest includes an adjudicated performance at the Grassroots Festival, with the winning songs being featured at the May Day event. 

First presented in 2010, the Hootenanny has seen increasingly larger audiences who join featured artists and the house band in singing along with new and traditional songs of hope and protest.  The featured artists in 2017 are Moonfruits (

The 2017 Hootenanny will take place at 7:30pm in the Clarke Room at the RA Centre, 2451 Riverside Drive. Staffed by UNIFOR members, the RA Centre is accessible, has loads of parking and is well serviced by OC Transpo. Tickets are $10.