Last week, the Sam Roberts Band returned to the capital and played a big set at an outdoor stage on the Algonquin College campus. The Canadian rock icons were joined by up-and-comers Birds of Bellwoods, from Toronto, and The Riot Police, from here in Ottawa.
Our photographer Aidan Thatcher was on-site to catch some great shots from the night. Have a look at the gallery below.
The headliners that will grace the stage at Mooney’s Bay include Sam Roberts Band (21st), Broken Social Scene (22nd), Wintersleep and Hollerado (23rd), and Matt Mays (24th). If all those Juno award winners and Polaris Prize nominees aren’t enough to get you excited for these free concerts, note that they will also be joined by Crown Lands, Amos The Transparent, M. T. Walker, Dizzy, Ellevator, Gianna Lauren, Fast Romantics, Rebelle, Old Man Grant, Birds of Bellwoods, Midnight Vesta, Rory Taillon and Craig Cardiff.
So mark your calendar, stock up on sunscreen and get ready to head down to Mooney’s Bay in late June to cheer on some racers and take in some most excellent performances.
Each year, CUPE selects an organization or initiative to support with funds raised from the concert. This year, The Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC) partnered with CUPE in support of their Sisters In Spirit initiative, drawing a crowd of more than 7000 people at the stadium. Furthermore, in attendance was the Honourable Justice Murry Sinclair (Chair of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada), as well as Elder Irene Lindsay (Board Elder of the Aboriginal Healing Foundation, amongst many other aboriginal support organizations across Canada).
We spoke to the NWAC’s Jenn Jefferys to find out more about the event itself, as well as the NWAC’s mandate and overall goals.
1. Can you tell us a bit about this yearly CUPE event and what it’s all about?
The Canadian Union of Public Employees’ ‘Rock for Public Services’ is an annual event put on by CUPE Local 580 and CUPE Ontario created to raise awareness of the importance of public services in Canada. Each year the Union selects a charity they feel is worth generating more buzz about, and this year (in their eighth year) they selected NWAC and Sisters in Spirit.
Each year they host a different selection of bands. This year featured Amanda Rheaume, Matt Mays and headliner Sam Roberts Band. It was incredible. It was actually Sam Roberts’ birthday on Saturday, so he was especially stoked to be performing for us. Such a nice guy!
2. What is the NWAC? Why is it so important?
The Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC) is a non-profit organization founded in 1974 to enhance, promote, and foster the social, economic, cultural and political well-being of First Nations and Métis women within First Nation, Métis and Canadian societies.
We do some very important work surrounding the prevention of violence against indigenous women, fostering the entrepreneurship and business knowledge in indigenous women, building bridges between government and traditional native culture, and much more.
This organization is especially critical right now and in the coming months due to the nature of our socio-political climate and the urgency of Aboriginal plight. I would argue that there has never been such a cross-cultural appetite toward fostering reconciliation. and building a better world for Canada’s Aboriginal peoples – particularly women.
Also, given the fact that our new Prime Minister and our new Minister for Indigenous Affairs have stated that they are in favour of a National Inquiry into missing and murdered indigenous women (long awaited and long demanded from this organization and many more) NWAC will be playing an integral part in building a more compassionate and prosperous future for indigenous women. It’s a very exciting time for us.
3. How did the event help the NWAC towards achieving its goals?
Saturday’s concert raised more than $12,000 for our Sisters in Spirit initiative — a project funded by Status of Women Canada and created to conduct research and raise awareness of the alarming high rates of violence against Aboriginal women and girls in Canada.
More than 7,000 people turned up to the event to show their support for our cause and enjoy the music. It was a massive success — so incredibly inspiring — especially since so many people there were so young and so thirsty for knowledge on indigenous peoples and culture. It’s clear that things are finally changing.
It was a great opportunity for us to talk about what we do and how the public can support our work.
4. How can the public learn more/stay informed/support the NWAC’s efforts going forward?
NWAC is always looking for volunteers and seeking donations to keep our work going. You can follow us on Twitter @NWAC_CA to stay informed, visit our website at nwac.ca or just give us a call anytime toll free at +1 800-461-4043. We’d love to talk to anyone willing to support our cause and help us grow.
About Jenn Jefferys
Jenn Jefferys is the Communications Officer for the Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC). NWAC’s mission is to help empower women by being involved in developing and changing legislation which affects them, and involving them in the development and delivery of programs promoting equal opportunity for Aboriginal women.
For this Throwback Thursday we are visited by the ghost of festivals past, the late Snow Jam.
The year was 2002 and the place was JetForm Park… You know that stadium you see from the 417 at the Vanier Parkway exit and always ask yourself “Whatever happened there?” Well in the good ol’ days it hosted the Ottawa Lynx (farm team to the Montréal Expos) and also hosted the last Molson Canadian Snow Jam in Ottawa. Let’s not forget the short-lived day of the Fat Cats too!
A skier launching high into the air off the huge quater-pipe at Snow Jam in Ottawa
What made this festival so cool (pun intended) was it was more than just music. They built a massive five-storey ramp covered in snow that led into a huge quarter-pipe in the parking lot. Snowboarders and skiers would bomb down the ramp for trick competitions and big air challenges. They also set up a half-pipe and a street section for skateboarders, BMXers and inline skaters. So there was always some extreme sport to check out.
Musically, the festival had a pretty strong line-up for the time and hit Ottawa in late September when most teenagers were just starting to dislike school again and miss the summer freedom. I might be forgetting a few but the bands that year were Goldfinger, Unwritten Law, Rascalz, Treble Charger and Simple Plan on the first day and on the second day were Swollen Members, Dropkick Murphys, Mudmen, Chuck Calibre, Moka Only, Bowling for Soup and Sam Roberts & the Secret Weapon (this was before he skyrocketed to fame as the Sam Roberts Band).
Sick height and moves by a snowboarder hitting the huge quater-pipe at Snow Jam in Ottawa. Photo: Steve Donnelly / TuneVault.com
One vivid memory besides all the extreme daredevils launching into the hemisphere was the mosh pit during Dropkick Murphys. The baseball field had been covered up with thin planks of wood and then a massive tarp, to protect the grass. While moshing someone caught me rather low and being tall, I flipped over him to land on my knee. I got up kept singing and rocking because life was good, but when I joined my friends after the band finished my leg was covered in blood and my white socks matched my red high-top Converse runners.
Snow Jam will always be one of the most interesting festivals I ever attended. The combination of extreme sports and music was awesome and well-timed. They really took it to the next level and gave us a show on snow during the summer… Pretty chill! Snow Jam was one of the best Canadian festivals no longer with us, will it ever be resurrected? Or will it forever lie dead & musty in the shadows of bigger, newer festivals that favour lawn chairs over acrobatics?