Well all the hard work that the volunteers and performers put into the festival on April 28 certainly paid off. The festival was a huge success in every way. There were lots of people at every performance in the afternoon and the vibe was wonderful. There were lots of things that people had never seen before and they were eager to learn. The evening performance was very exciting and the place was packed. Performers love an atmosphere like that and go all out to entertain the audience. And entertain us they did; Rick Fines, Katherine Wheatley and Missy Burgess were at their finest. Albert Dumont gave a very thoughtful talk as an opener, including a poem he had written specifically for our festival, and left people spellbound.
The fact that the entire afternoon was free was a really big hit. These are the performances that the audiences saw:
- Elage Mbaye gave a drumming workshop that had kids and adults drumming along with him. Take a look at the pictures on our Facebook page (http://www.facebook.com/pages/Ottawa-GrassrootsFestival/210912422324113)
to see how people were enjoying this.
- Albert Dumont told an aboriginal story for kids
- The Spirit of Rasputin’s put on an open stage, with host Sjef Frenken and set-up man Mark Evenchick. These are 2 of the guys who put on the open stage for the Spirit of Rasputin’s at Whispers every Monday night.
- Ana Miura gave a wonderful, warm performance, demonstrating once again her superb talent as a singer-songwriter.
- Garry Greenland and Maple Hill gave a workshop on how to build your own band. People are still talking about this today, 3 months after the festival.
- Spencer Scharf was busking outside in the afternoon using a number of instruments. People loved the way he welcomed them to the festival and even went back outside to hear more.
- Chris White organized a CKCU live broadcast from the Legion and it went off without a hitch. Chopper was at his finest! It is wonderful to do live broadcasts from a festival. It provides great advertising. The festival took up a collection for CKCU, Ottawa’s favourite community radio station.
- Jane Keeler and Reena Kokotailo organized a playback theatre for Ottawa Phoenix Playback Theatre. There was a lot of interest in this as most people had never heard of this kind of theatre.
- Tatiana Nemchin and Joel Delaquis put on a demonstration of Mouvement, which is yoga with movement. Lots of people participated in this.
- Mark and Sue Rogers put on a lively ukulele singalong with some of the BUG (Bytown Ukulele Group) players. This was very catchy and I am sure they will get some new members from this. The ukulele has made a huge comeback in Ottawa and across Canada.
- Emily Addison and the Ottawa Contra Dance organized a contra dance and again there were many participants having lots of fun and lots of exercise!
- Chris White and the choir Shout Brother put on a spirited performance in the late afternoon.
That whole list of performances was free in the afternoon. It is not a good festival business plan to expect the ticket sales from the evening performance to pay for the costs incurred during the afternoon. This was possible only because of some very generous sponsors, who I would like to mention here:
- Peter Bowie
- Susan Gick
- Mark and Heather Evenchick; Mark for making the very popular souvenir pins and Heather for donating some of the food.
- Constant Sound Studio. Huge thanks to Hollis Morgan for providing the sound and looking after the website and to Kate Morgan for all the art work (especially the logo!)
- Spirit of Rasputin’s Arts Society
- Pressed – coffee bar and sandwich lounge, who provided the venue and the food at the Launch.
- CKCU 93.1 FM
- OFC Music and a lot of hard work by Arthur McGregor!
- National Gallery of Canada
While the sponsors are very important, and the festival could not survive without them, it is the volunteers who are the backbone of our festival. I estimate there were between 80 and 100 volunteers who put on this festival. I include the afternoon performers as volunteers, because let’s face it, that’s what they were.
I can’t thank you enough and I want to say you warm my heart, people, you always do. What an event this was!