Ottawa’s Fringe Fest Fires a Warning Shot of Free Music, June 18th @ Waller Park
The 18th annual Ottawa Fringe Festival, widely known as the nation’s capital’s largest theatre event of the year, will debut on Thursday June 19th with almost 400 performances during its ten-day run. But first the kick-off begins on June 18th at the Downtown Rideau Stage near the Arts Court. Should you walk into the area, you’ll feel the pull of the Fringe Courtyard in Waller Park, which will be open as early as 4pm tomorrow for the christening of the peripheral party.
(Let it be known that this autumn the Arts Court will be undergoing a major reno involving a new building to be erected where Waller Park now lies. Consider yourself warned that this might be the last time you can drink St-Ambroise legally on this turf…)
Every year the Fringe Festival has offered free concerts for all patrons, volunteers & rubberneckers who find their way past Waller Park in the evenings. Tomorrow, local acts Stillnative & 2React will open the festivities with their respective raw beat rock & hip hop jazz dub for all present. They are the starting gun bullets for this year’s sick line-up of free shows that include ’30s gypsy jazz Django Libre, juke jazz Adam Saikaley 5tet, a night of folk pop with Halifax-née, Windsor-based Crissi Cochrane & Ottawa’s Three Little Birds, indie pop from HIGHS & dance synth-pop from Silkken Laumann. On top of this every Thursday, Friday & Saturday night there will be Fringe Late Night, a midnight late night show hosted by comedian Deborah Ring and accompanied by the Jeff Kingsbury Trio (spoiler: this is approximately Pony Girl minus the vocalists).
Check out the full free programming schedule here!
What’s better than free live music in Downtown Ottawa? When it’s right smack in the middle of dozens of theatre groups & performers who are chomping at the bit to execute their drama & comedy for us. If only we had time to see them all… We raise our glasses to all present anyway, and to the end of Spring, and to the hot mess that is Ottawa Festival Season. Now let’s live on the edge a little bit — happy fringing to all and to all a good Fringe!
StillNative launch Indiegogo campaign and plan Black Keys tribute set to fund second LP, release live DVD
One of Ottawa’s foremost bluesy rock n’ roll groups, StillNative (CastleRock Recs), are doing things a little differently for their second full-length album. Like more and more artists seem to be doing, they’re taking the DIY approach and launching a crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo to fund it. Taking things into their own hands, StillNative seem to be doing everything right in order to build anticipation for the new record. Some perks available to fans willing to support their Indiegogo campaign are:
- $15 – A digital pre-release of the new album
- $25 – A signed physical album
- $30 – Signed physical album + digital copy
- $40 – An exclusive Patrick Steele EP
- $40 – A music lesson
- $40 – A B-sides and rarities DVD
- $100 – The whole package
$200 – Prestige Package
$250 – Studio Day
$350 – House Show
For more details on the perks, go to StillNative’s campaign page. All dollar amounts are CAD.
ELE Fest’s Sean Callaghan opens up about Ottawa’s newest addition
Once in a while, an event comes along that offers up something a little different. Here at Showbox, we fulfill our obsession with music by being shameless geeks who enjoy dabbling in all corners of Ottawa’s music scene. There’s hip hop festivals, indie boutique festivals, large-scale music festivals, and just about anything else you can think of. The newest addition in Ottawa as far as festivals go certainly caught our attention. The organizers of ELE Fest (short for ‘Everybody Love Everybody’) have big goals, all of which seem to be coming to fruition quite successfully. Not only is ELE aiming to create opportunities in the Ottawa music scene and support local, one of its commitments is to engage youth and get them more involved in the blossoming arts community in Ottawa. If that wasn’t enough, they’re also teaming up with The Candelighters Childhood Cancer Support Programs of Ottawa, which helps children and families in the region cope with cancer in a variety of ways. With such a large undertaking in its inaugural event coming up Friday, September 20, I spoke with ELE co-organizer Sean Callaghan to gain a better understanding of what ELE is all about. One thing is for sure – this festival will be a welcome addition to a growing arts community in Ottawa who are craving new ways to express and consume their work. For festival info, see below or visit the E.L.E. website.
With so many festivals in Ottawa, what is it that makes ELE Festival unique amongst the rest?
E.L.E Fest is unique because it focuses on youth and local musicians. It is created, and organized by Ottawa youths, under the age of 25 and will showcase talented individuals from the same age group. We are therefore not competing with larger music festivals in Ottawa because we have set our sights on a different demographic. Also, ‘E.L.E.’ is an acronym for ‘everybody love everybody’ and reflects the positive, communal atmosphere we are working to create at the festival. Through the festival we hope demonstrate the positive impact music can have on a community at large. In order to do so, we have partnered with the Candlelighters Childhood Cancer Support programs of Ottawa. We are raising money at the event through food and t-shirt sales, as well as at the after party through ticket sales.
How did the festival come to be? Where did the idea come from?
E.L.E Fest began as a result of two things. The first being the necessity for a stepping stone event between local bar gigs and some of the city’s larger music festivals. And secondly the prominence of competitive live music events for young musicians, such as battle-of-the-bands. Unlike these events E.L.E. Festival will encourage artists of different styles to take the stage together in one-of-a-kind collaborative performances. Thanks to the University of Ottawa’s generous sponsorship, tickets to the festival are free. The performers aren’t required to push expensive tickets on their friends and family. Alternatively, they’re working together to help promote each other and the Ottawa music scene as a whole.
From your standpoint, how would you characterize the Ottawa music scene?
To me, the Ottawa music scene is a beautiful, budding flower. Our city is rich in talent – untapped potential. Like a flower needs water to grow, so too does our music scene need hard work and perseverance. As budding professionals here in Ottawa, we have to think outside the box, and pursue a career in music with relentless creativity, developing new avenues as we carry the music scene to the next level. We intend to do our part with The E.L.E. Festival. If we can all work together we have the potential to do something very special here in Ottawa. We hope that through our efforts, other young people will be inspired to make a change of their own.
Why is it so important to get youth involved in this kind of event?
Youth are the future. In order to inspire change we have to lead by example and be the change so that’s why it’s so important for the young people of the city to get involved with the festival. We are trying to spearhead a movement. We’re putting the love back in music. With our sights set on the future, what better way to inspire the younger generations than by setting an example for them.
Is ELE going to become a yearly festival? How do you envision the festival a few years down the road?
Yes, our plan is to become an annual event. We will also expand into a full weekend and, further down the road, into a full week event. Ideally we would like to bring in large acts from all over the world to mentor the young performers and show them what it takes to make it in the music industry. Also in future years, we would like to introduce a mandatory collaborative component between artists. Each performer will be paired with another performer from a totally different genre and they will be required to create a one-of-a-kind collaborative piece. In our first year we’re encouraging artists of various genres to collaborate and expand their musical horizons, as we hope to prove this concept to be effective.
E.L.E. Festival Information
WHEN: Friday, September 20th, 2013 from 5:00pm – 11:00pm.
WHERE: Tabaret Lawn, University of Ottawa Campus. Located at the corner of Laurier and Cumberland.
FREE ADMISSION: $5 donations are encouraged in support of the Candlelighters Childhood Cancer Support Programs.
WHO: We are very pleased to present our lineup of talented young musicians.
The Lionyls | Rock & Soul
Monday I Retire | Rock Blues Alternative
Erich Mrak | New School Hip Hop
StillNative | Raw Beat Rock
13eaudry Muzik | Hip Hop, Beat Box
Go Long (!) | Acoustic Folk Trio
Neegus | Rap, Poetry
Garden of Weeds | Rock and Roll
AkoufèN | French Alternative Pop Metal
Presented by The University of Ottawa Community Life Services.
Everyone Wins at Ottawa Rock Lottery 5.0
Eric Scharf & Matías Muñoz hanging with ORL organizer Samantha Everts and Luca Fiore (Photo: Ming Wu)
The fifth edition of the Ottawa Rock Lottery, which was held at Maverick’s, blew me away. You are probably wondering what is a rock lottery? Well you take 25 members from local bands, pull their names out of a hat to form 5 bands. Then give them 24 hours to come up with 20-30 minutes of original music. And for an added twist, you assign each band a special instrument that they must integrate into their set. If all of that does not sound fun enough, consider that all proceeds of the event go the the Ottawa Foodbank and there were free draws between sets with a lot of merch from sponsors and bands.
The event’s special guest host was CBC Radio 1’s Amanda Putz. Amanda hosts the show Bandwith, which focuses on Ontario music. In her opening remarks she declared that not only does Ottawa have one of the best music scenes in the province (eat your heart out Montreal and Toronto), but “one of the greatest scenes in the country.”
First up was But I Don’t Want to be a Pirate. The band was comprised of Arturo Portocarrero (Miss Polygamy), Cody Allen (Cody Allen), James Rooke (Modern Era Pirate), Mike Libbos (The Goodluck Assembly) and Rory Lewis (Kalle Mattson). They were tasked with the coolest random instrument of the night, a keytar. Man can Rory rely shred on his guitar and he even did a solo on the keytar. They set the bar very high. And Ottawa is very lucky, as Jame Rooke won a three song EP recording from Audio Valley Recording Studio and announced he will use it to record with But I Don’t Want to be a Pirate.
The second band of the evening was Sextadeth. The band said the name was in honor of Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield, who they assume will be sexted to death now that he is back on Earth. Fitting that the band that ended up with two drummers, also got assigned the spoons, and had an epic percussion finale. Sextadeth was, David Wisjman (Fire & Neon), Max Savage (StillNative), Peter Zachar (Those Gulls), Reverend Doctor D (The Pelts) and Riishi Von Rex (Riishi Von Rex). They played a really fun set, but unfortunately David announced at the end that “due to creative differences we are breaking up.” the crowd got a good kick out of that.
Black Usher was up third. They were two Keys, two MCs and a Macbook. The keys were Patrick Steele (StillNative) and Sarah Bradley (Fevers), the MCs were Atherton (Atherton) and HYF the GypsySun (Missing LinX) and the man on the Macbook was Jordan David (The Love Machine). Their set was awesome! The dynamics of the five members singing or spitting rhymes throughout their performance was very good. And the energy…oh lord the energy. They finished with the incredible “Weird, Odd, Strange” that could very well have been the song of the night. And it was fun to watch both MCs play on pots and pans with wooden spoons.
Fourth to the stage was Slow Dance Chubbies. As per their name, they slowed it down a little bit. Their set was full of guitar solos, incredible trumpet play and funny lyrics. The crowd got into their set singing along with the band. Slow Dance Chubbies was Connor (sorry no last name provided), Erik Hertzberg (Cold Capital), Gregg Clark (Pony Girl), Jake Ting (Zoo Legacy) and Shawn Desjardins. What happens when one band gets two drummers, another band gets none. But that did not stop Slow Dance Chubbies. Jake Ting, who had never played drums live before, took on the task and did a great job.
Closing the show was Nicolas Cage in Con Air. The band was made up of Craig Barlow (Loon Choir), Dave Nado (The Wicked Mercy), Jon Schofield (The Yips) Just Jamaal (Missing LinX) and Kalle Mattson (Kalle Mattson). All of their songs were named after Nic Cage movies, they opened with Ghost Rider Two, followed with Ghost Rider One, which led to Raising Arizona and concluded with Face Off. Nic Cage was an amazing combination of rap and slam poetry over rock. Their special instrument was the whistle, which they integrated into more than one song, the only band to do so. While the band tuned, Just Jamaal used his instrument, his vox, to keep the crowd entertained with some freestyling.
I think Amanda Putz said it best when speaking of the evening. “The talent tonight blew me away.” I overheard many people in the crowd saying “I figured this would be a train wreck, but this is awesome.” And I must agree, it was a great night. If you did not go this year, or are an artist and did not participate, I strongly encourage you to do so next year.
Every song from the show should be available by May 25, thanks to Audio Valley Recording Studio. Keep checking back at Ottawa Rock Lottery website for it.
Photos of the night here by Ming Wu.