Planning for Ottawa’s Best Kept Musical Secret is Full Steam Ahead

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A Dad with his two young kids having an amazing time in the drumming circle workshop at OGF 2013.  Photographer: Michelle Tardiff

A Dad with his two young kids having an amazing time in the drumming circle workshop at OGF 2013. Photographer: Michelle Tardiff

Hope you all had a wonderful summer. We have so much exciting news to share with you, since our last newsletter. Planning is well underway for the 3rd Annual Grassroots Festival (OGF) and we can guarantee that it is going to be great!

James Keelaghan headlines the festival
We are so thrilled to have Keelaghan at the 2014 OGF. He is a Juno Award winning singer-songwriter and one of Canada’s most successful, respected musicians of the global folk scene today. He has an uncanny knack for finding incredible stories and turning them into finely crafted songs. Stay tuned, as we will have more exciting programming announcements in the coming weeks.

2014: Back to the Legion!
We are going back to the Royal Canadian Legion, Montgomery Branch at 330 Kent Street, Ottawa for the festival in 2014 – the birth place of OGF. It was extremely important to the festival steering committee that the venue be fully accessible to all. Our friends at the Legion have almost completed the renovations to the site and are welcoming us back with open arms and we’re thrilled about it too.

The festival takes place next year on the last weekend of April: Friday the 25th, Saturday the 26th and Sunday the 27th, 2014. Friday will be an evening concert; Saturday will be an eclectic offering of different activities in the daytime followed by a great concert in the evening. Sunday will be another day of very diverse activities.

Please note that both afternoons are FREE! The evening concerts are ticketed.

Strengthening festival governance
If it isn’t amazing enough that OGF is run entirely by volunteers, is it also now officially a not-for-profit organization. With that status comes a Board of Directors consisting of Bob Nesbitt – President, Lynn Chiarelli – Secretary and Peter Bowie – Treasurer. This Board is so passionate about what we do. We are so lucky to have them!

Getting the word out
Our last steering committee meeting in May produced an OGF Publicity Committee. The members are Alrick Huebener, Juanita Bawagan, Frank Smith, Trish Murray, Bob Nesbitt and Grace Smith (Chair). This group has been very busy strategizing ways of getting the word out and creating a buzz about the upcoming festival. An info card is currently circulating in various places across the city. If you know of places where we should be advertising, email us your suggestions. Also new and active this year is our Twitter account #ottgrassroots. Juanita is managing that account and most recently also the Facebook page. Her expertise in managing social media will be key in getting information out in our community about this great festival.

Festival mission to cultivate community
We are proud to share with you our mission statement:

The Ottawa Grassroots Festival: Cultivating Community
The Ottawa Grassroots Festival is a non-profit, community-based, volunteer-run organization dedicated to cultivating community at the local level through a vibrant annual festival of concerts and participatory workshops.

Not only does it provide a clear direction for our organization, it allows for growth. New volunteers will have a better sense of where we are headed. Look for it on our website, under the “About Us” menu.

Speaking of our great website, our Publicity Committee and Hollis Morgan are working hard adding photos, a FAQ page and we most recently posted an announcement of our headliner, James Keelaghan, for the Saturday evening.

Volunteers needed
This festival would not be possible without the work of dedicated volunteers. We are growing in leaps and bounds, which translates to “we’ll need more help”! Here are some things we can use your help with: food preparation, sales (food, pin and CDs), surveys, drivers, signage, green room prep, volunteer check-in, set-up /tear-down work and the silent auction. This is truly a community-centric organization that needs you. So, if you are interested or know of anyone who might be interested in volunteering for OGF, contact us through Martha and Brenda will love to hear from you.

The excitement building around this festival is contagious. So, spread the word; it’s something worth catching!

Facebook: Ottawa Grassroots Festival
Twitter: #OttGrassroots