September has arrived. For those of us that seek out the absolute peaks of the live music experience, this means that festival season is winding down. Most of the major festivals that we anticipate attending have passed, and that can leave us with a serious case of the post-show blues. However, the lucky residents of Ottawa, Ontario, have one last hurrah coming up fast. Next Wednesday will mark the opening of the newly-branded Ottawa CityFolk, and the 5-day lineup has more than enough to get me excited.
What was previously called the Ottawa Folk Festival has been on a steady upswing over the last few years. The organizers have consistently managed to bring in great artists both big and small that this city would not be able to see in a band’s regular tour. In 2015, CityFolk seems to have brought in their best lineup yet, packing more great artists into five days than Bluesfest managed to fit in two weeks. We also have a shiny new location this year. CityFolk has moved from Hog’s Back Park (which I always enjoyed) to the recently developed Great Lawn at Lansdowne Park. It appears that CityFolk will consist of two stages at Lansdowne that will require passes to enter, but a number of small venues around the city will be featuring free shows all weekend.
Here are a few indie artists that have me fawning over the CityFolk lineup:
- Wilco – I have already seen Wilco twice this summer, plus a Tweedy show, and I cannot be more excited to see them again. Their live shows are absolute must-sees, and this tour they have been opening the show by playing their stellar new record, Star Wars, in its entirety. They are headlining on Sunday, September 20.
- Patrick Watson – Like Wilco, I have seen this brilliant band twice over the last few months. That will not stop me from seeing them again. Patrick Watson is my favourite current Canadian band, and they are touring in support of Love Songs for Robots, which is my favourite album of 2015 thus far. See them Friday, September 18, in the first slot of the evening.
- Lucius – this indie-pop group is fronted by two of the best harmonizing women I have ever heard. They are powerful, delicate, soulful, and a real treat. They have also been known to play with Jeff Tweedy, of Wilco fame, who happens to be playing on the same day. I am hoping for Lucius to provide a little extra oomph sometime in Wilco’s set. See them Sunday, September 20, at 4:15.
- The Barr Brothers – A lush and peaceful Canadian folk quartet that must not be overlooked. I haven’t had a chance to see them live yet. Every folk fest needs a few slow, chill bands, and The Barr Brothers fit that bill perfectly. They hit the stage Saturday, September 19, at 4:15.
- St. Paul and the Broken Bones – I must admit, I have not listened all that much to this big soul band from Alabama, but I have seen a number of live videos, and they seem like the type of band that will sing right to your core. When Van Morrison leaves the stage on Friday, September 18, resist the urge to leave the festival and head over to see St. Paul and the Broken Bones.
This is just five indie artists that have me foaming at the mouth. There are many other bands, indie and non-indie, that I cannot wait to see. Don’t sleep on CityFolk, get yourself a full pass. You can find all the info you need here. I will be covering the full festival, so stop by The Indie Blender throughout the festival to see what I’m looking forward to and what acts really caught my ear.