Photo by Nneka Nnagbo

DIY Spring is back for its third year, and the organizers have just announced the lineup for the 2019 edition. The festival, which will take place on May 10-12, was originally founded by local promoters/collectives Debaser and Babely Shades in 2016 to highlight, support, and celebrate the work of emerging Black, Indigenous and racialized women and LGBTQ+ artists in the Ottawa area.

With so many music festivals in the Ottawa-Gatineau region, DIY Spring is unlike any other. It is not just an event or an experience where the audience watches music on stage. Born from the ongoing frustration that exists for the under-representation of marginalized groups in the music industry, the organizers seek to push back against the overwhelming failure of most music festivals to adequately program diverse lineups.

“DIY Spring has become a platform for these voices, and a space for us to celebrate the excellence of artistry in Ottawa and the surrounding communities.”

DIY Spring aims to create community spaces where LGBTQ folks and minorities can feel safe, represented, and a sense of ownership over the activities taking place. This is part of a wider and ongoing movement in Ottawa’s music scene to enhance safety and inclusivity for all people—not just individuals who are white, cisgender, and straight. The festival serves as an example for other promoters and organizers in town, illustrating the diversity of talent that exists in the region, and the need to include more underrepresented artists in programming across the board.

DIY Spring
DIY Spring at General Assembly in 2018. Photo by Nneka Nnagbo.

“The reason DIY Spring remains crucial to Ottawa’s music scene is because artists of colour continue to be underrepresented and underpaid in the live music industry—the issue of underrepresentation becomes twofold once you consider the intersectional experience of women and queer people of colour,” explains DIY Spring founder Elsa Mirzaei.

“DIY Spring has become a platform for these voices, and a space for us to celebrate the excellence of artistry in Ottawa and the surrounding communities.”

Another way in which DIY Spring is unique is that it doesn’t just highlight one type of music. The festival allows each artist to explore their own style and sound however they like, creating a unique experience for concert-goers that includes everything from post-rock to Inuit throat singing to hip hop.

Juno-award nominees Silla + Rise will participate in the festivities this year, bringing their genre-bending performance of throat singing mixed with dancehall beats. Singer-songwriter Rita Carter will also grace the stage, having garnered notoriety for her memorable and evocative performances. Electronic musician and producer Ziibiwan will also bring their ambient experimental project to the forefront, defying genre boundaries by bouncing between electronics to hip hop, trip hop, R&B, and more. The full lineup includes many other artists pushing limits in their own way, which you can look into below.

Ziibiwan is Anishinaabe from Wiikwemkoong, and is an electronic musician/proudcer with a no-holds-barred approach to production. Photo provided.

Shows will take place in various locations over the weekend—on May 10 in Hintonburg at General Assembly/The Record Centre, May 11 at Black Squirrel Books in Old Ottawa South, and they will cap things off at Queen St. Fare on May 12. DIY Spring has also announced that 2019 marks its first year as an official collective, with an aim to become a registered not-for-profit by 2020. Head to DIY Spring’s website to view the lineup and schedule in more detail, and follow @diy_spring on Twitter and Instagram.

The DIY Spring Festival takes place May 10-12 at at various locations around town. More lineup information can be found here.

2019 Lineup

Friday, May 10

  • Cap City Cypher
  • x.morganii
  • Novusolis
  • King Kimbit
  • Eyeda Sophia

Saturday, May 11

  • Kimberly Sunstrum
  • Lucila Al Mar
  • Lia Kloud
  • Sydanie
  • Fruit, Star, Candybar

Sunday, May 12

  • Ziibiwan
  • Rita Carter
  • Silla + Rise