In just under 24 hours, the citizens of Ottawa will be making their way down to Lansdowne Park for the first night of Ottawa CityFolk. It’s the second year that Lansdowne will play host for the festival, and after taking a look at the site map it seems like they will have worked out some of the logistic issues. The festival grounds have been expanded to encompass the Aberdeen Pavilion, the Horticulture Building, and all the space in between, which will hopefully make moving around the stages a bit easier. The weather forecast is looking fine, the lineup is packed with well-known favourites and plenty of surprises, and I’m very ready to get my festival on. There are many artists that I can’t wait to see, but I’ve managed to focus my anticipation on five independent musicians that I think will blow us all away. Here goes.
5. The Acorn
I find it amazing that a long-time Ottawa staple has eluded me for so long. I’ve been getting familiar with The Acorn for the last few weeks and I have been thoroughly enjoying their music. They’re a band that changes a bit with every record, always delivering something new for their fans. They have a calm energy rooted in folk that I think will translate exceptionally well to this festival.
4. Basia Bulat
The first time I went to see Basia Bulat I knew little about her music, but despite my unfamiliarity she managed to captivate me from beginning to end. A powerful voice, evocative melodies, and remarkable talent on a variety of modern and traditional instruments made for quite a performance. I expect no less from her at CityFolk.
3. Dan Mangan
Dan Mangan has become quite a name in the Canadian indie/folk rock scene, and justifiably so. His albums have an astounding depth and a sense of emotion that pulls the listener in and never lets go. His blend of folk and whatever else he chooses to layer into his music is one of a kind. I haven’t seen him yet, and I cannot wait to catch him at CityFolk.
2. Guided by Voices
Here is a band with a long and storied career over which they have amassed a devout fanbase. It always seems to me that those I speak to about Guided by Voices have either little idea of who they are or are in love with their music. I have only recently started getting familiar with them, and I have only scratched the surface of their astonishing 23 albums. Call it indie rock, call it pop-punk, call it whatever you like; it’s raw, it’s gripping, and it’s going to be one hell of a show.
1. Plants and Animals
Every time I walk out of a Plants and Animals show, there is a huge grin plastered across my face. They are not only one of my favourite Canadian artists of all time, they are one of my favourite current artists regardless of origin. They just released what is arguably their finest record, and I cannot wait to see them after digesting these songs for a few months.
Get yourself down to Lansdowne and join myself and many others in a celebration of live music. There’s nothing better than a good music festival. Feel free to let us know who has you foaming at the mouth! I wouldn’t want to miss a great set due to ignorance.