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Festival Weekend Brings Audiences Back at Three Major Musical Events

Escapade, Tim Houghton's Dragon Boat Festival, TD Ottawa Jazz Festival entertains Ottawa music fans in a variety of ways

Busty & The Bass played the Ottawa Jazz Festival, part of the free shows on the front lawn of city hall.
Big Breasts&Amp; Bus is one of the free shows in the front yard of the City Hall I played the Ottawa Jazz Festival, which is a club.Photo courtesy of Ashley Fraser/Post Media

Thousands of Ottawa music fans have shaken off the protracted threat of COVID-19, confronted the heat and headed for the weekend festival. Beat at Escapade, single rock at Tim Horton's Dragon Boat Festival, and a wealth of musical talent at the TD Ottawa Jazz Festival.

Ottawa's festival industry has revived with three major music festivals on the same weekend. It wasn't as big and strong as it was before the pandemic, but for the last three years.

The Jazz Festival returns to the traditional headquarters of Confederation Park with a 10-day fun headlining performance by bluegrass innovator Punch Brothers on Friday and the legendary Charles Lloyd Quartet on Saturday. We have reached the first weekend of the 40th anniversary. And the Ottawa Festival likes blue rodeos on Sundays.

Thousands of fans leaned on folding chairs and sat down on the grass, with many attendees every night. With no pleasant predictions and no signs of destructive protesters, many decided to appear at the last minute, the organizers said, boosting the overall number.

Jazzfest will also host a concert on another stage without a tent at Marion Dewar Plaza, a free block party during the day on Saturday and Sunday, and the National Arts Center. We had another performance at. Midnight jam at the Road Elgin Hotel.

One of the highlights of NAC is the appearance of Cecile McLorin Salvant at Azrieli Studio on Friday. Despite the sudden failure of the sound system in the second half of her set, and despite the glitches that needed to be reconfigured immediately, American vocalists soared and her backing musician and her own ingenuity. We exchanged information.

These technical problems are rare and quickly resolved, but solving some of the logistical challenges of taking artists to the city is not so easy. There was not. For example, Punch Brothers hired the acclaimed Nashville fidler Brittany Hearth at the very end because they couldn't travel with two of the COVID-infected members last week.

The band's Air Canada flight was then canceled the day before departure. To get to the festival, I had to get up before dawn, drive 12 hours from Iowa to Nashville, and fly Chicago and Toronto before landing in Ottawa.

"And it was the first day of the festival," said artistic director Petr Cancura, who estimates that he has already dealt with at least 12 flight delays and cancellations that affect the artist. .. "In the last three days, we've had more travel issues than usual across the festival."

By the way, Punch Brothers' performance is great, and Haas sparkles with bluegrass-dominated sounds. A beautiful texture has been added to the accuracy.

On the other side of the Rideau Canal, 110 dragon boat teams row the Moonies Bay and more than 10,000 people attend a two-night free concert at the Dragon Boat Festival. did. Strumberas on Friday and Serena Rider on Saturday.

Dragon Boat Fest CEO John Bloom Ann said attendance had dropped by about 30%, but was happy with the turnout. Other dragon boat festivals in Canada are declining further, he added.

"It shows that the paddling community is still there," he said, noting the positive spirit of the weekend. "I think what this weekend has taught us is that there is something great for the community. It was a positive atmosphere for everyone, including paddler, fans and vendors."

Meanwhile, 802 days after the last edition, the Escapade Music Festival was the biggest and most noisy of the three events, attracting a sold-out crowd of thousands of young electronic dance music fans. With short shorts and skimpy tops — go to Lands Down Park and listen to DJs from around the world, including celebrities like Deadmau5, Tiesto and Martin Garrix. The music was performed on three stages over three nights and ended with a fireworks display as a grand finale.

Escapade and Dragon Boat will be back next year, but the jazz festival will continue until July 3rd, with a free outdoor programming day planned for Monday, which spotlights New Orleans music. Don't miss the finest Big Easy products such as Dirty Dozen Brass Band, Chawa, Aurora Lanny Land and Royal Rose.

Other performers on the schedule range from the less jazz sounds of country queens Lucinda Williams and Emmylou Harris to the jazz of the Lincoln Center Orchestra with the heavyweight Kamashi Washington and Wynton Marsalis. For more information, please visit

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