Marvest: Strengthening Ottawa music through partnerships

Marvest_Web_1200x630 (1)

CityFolk is expanding its programming this year to include more local artists from the Ottawa/Gatineau region. Musical Harvest  – dubbed “Marvest” – is an event series offshoot of the larger and newly rebranded CityFolk, and it will take place in small, unconventional venues in the Glebe neighbourhood September 17-20. All the locations are easily accessible and close to CityFolk’s main grounds at Landsdowne Park.

This free concert series is a result of the festival organizers taking interest in the growing strength of Ottawa’s music scene. They are rethinking the festival format to be a ‘hybrid’ between the traditional big-festival happening on a specific site and the more disparate, yet expansive, South By Southwest showcase-style venue-based festival (based in Austin, TX). Although the two formats are rarely combined, Marvest represents CityFolk’s desire to support Ottawa’s local musicians and provide them stages from which they can share their music with a wider audience. Moreover, this series will help support the local businesses that have offered their space to be converted into a concert venue for the festival.

Organizer Mark Monahan was quoted in the Ottawa Citizen: “What we’ve been seeing over the years with Bluesfest and Folk is that more and more local artists are submitting to be part of the programming,” he said. ”We’ve seen the list of acts grow from 200 to 450. I think the scene right now is better than it’s ever been in the 25 years or so I’ve been involved in local music.”

The Aberdeen Pavilion will host Marvest shows in addition to 13 local shops in the Glebe. The venues include The Aberdeen Pavilion, The Wild Oat, Metro Music, Octopus Books, Black Squirrel Books, House of Targ*, Kunstadt Sports, FarmTeam Cookhouse, David’s Tea, The Unrefined Olive, Original Burger, Whole Foods, Local, and Irene’s. (* House of Targ is the only venue that is not free).

original burger joint
Showbox’s Marvest showcase will take place at Original Burger Joint on Bank St. in The Glebe. (Photo: John Olsthoom, Apt613)

Of the 60 of local acts chosen to play Marvest, nine were specifically selected to release their new albums during this time. These acts include many familiar faces: Loon Choir, Alex Silas and the Subterraneans, James Leclaire & the Cable 22’s, Waters, Lost to the River, Ilvekyo, John Allaire, Moonfruits, and the Brook.

Some of the Marvest shows will be curated by local music media personalities, including yours truly. There will be other local showcases happening over the course of the festival, the rest of which are organized by CityFolk itself. Ottawa Showbox’s showcase will take place on Saturday, Sept. 19 at Original Burger Joint and features Jack Pine & The Fire, Jon Becker & The North Fields, & Nightshades.

For more detailed event and artist information, check out the Marvest website or look at the schedule. Here are the events and curators:


Sept. 18 – Original Burger Joint 

Couch Assassin – FarmTeam Cookhouse & Bar

RadioActive (CHUO) – The Unrefined Olive

Chris White (Canadian Spaces, CKCU) – Wild Oat Bakery

Jackpine – The Unrefined Olive


Sept. 19

Ottawa Showbox – Original Burger Joint 

Ryan Bresee (Whatever’s Cool With Me, CKCU) – Wild Oat Bakery 

Peter Simpson (The Big Beat, Ottawa Citizen) – Irene’s Pub Restaurant

Trevor Greenway (Backstage Pass, Metro News) – Irene’s Pub Restaurant