Ottawa CityFolk Begins! What to See On Wednesday and Thursday

The current date is Wednesday, September 16, 2015. This evening marks the debut of the much-anticipated Ottawa CityFolk festival. I started our coverage of the festival last weekend with an overall preview featuring the bands that I am most looking forward to. Today, we’ll see what is in store for the first two days of the festival.

Tonight will be a lighter evening with only two artists on the lineup, neither of which are independent. We’ve also got a bit of a throwback night in store, hosted by The Tubes and UB40, two artists who got started in the 1970s. I am completely unfamiliar with The Tubes, but judging by the minimal research I have done it seems we are in for a rather theatrical rock experience. UB40, the British reggae-pop band known for a handful of hit singles (such as “Red Red Wine”), should be fun but I’m not expecting anything spectacular.

Thursday is when the festival will really get started, with two stages running beginning at 6:00. This day is stuffed to the brim with Canadian indie bands. The first slot features two female-fronted Canadian folk duos. Les Soeurs Boulay will be performing some light-hearted French Canadian folk, while Scarlett Jane will have a bit more of a country flavour. I can’t say I’m overly familiar with either, so I’ll be bouncing back and forth between stages.


In the next slot we have the Steep Canyon Rangers, a classic bluegrass band that I saw perform with Steve Martin as their lead. The band certainly left an impression on any bluegrass aficionados, and are likely to do so again, even without the comedy stylings and banjo licks of Steve Martin.

In the headliner slot, I will be skipping The Avett Brothers to see some more Canadian folk from Lisa LeBlanc. Again, she is relatively new to me, but she strikes me as an old-school folk singer with a pretty serious edge, which suits me perfectly.  As a side note, The Avett Brothers are a lot of fun to see live, I am only skipping them because I have seen them several times and their setlist rarely varies.

Finally, we will close the night with another Canadian indie band, this time from the east coast. I am only vaguely familiar with Wintersleep due to popular songs such as “Weighty Ghost”, but what I have heard I have liked. They seem like a perfect way to close the night with some relaxed but dramatic tunes.

That’s only two days of the festival, and there is so much more to look forward to. Come on back for more previews and reviews!

Much Love,


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