Annual festival rebrands while staying true to folk roots
As the weather begins to cool and the fall term kicks off, festival season bids us adieu until next year. But before that happens, Ottawa will finish off with one of the most anticipated events of the year—CityFolk.
CityFolk, formerly known as Ottawa Folk Festival, is an annual festival that began 21 years ago by Max Wallace, a former station manager of Carleton University’s CKCU-FM radio station, Ottawa-based singer-songwriter Chris White, and a community of volunteers. The festival has grown from its humble roots on Ottawa’s Victoria Island to its new home at Lansdowne Park, next to TD Place.
The festival begins Sept. 16 and runs until Sept. 20. It will feature a range of artists from Van Morrison to Of Monsters and Men.
Canadian folk pop singer-songwriter and Juno Award nominee, Jenn Grant, is one of the musicians who will be performing at this year’s festival. She is slated to perform Sept. 18 on the Ravenlaw stage at 7 p.m., right before Elle King, singer of the summer hit “Ex’s & Oh’s.”
“I really like playing in Ottawa,” says Grant of her upcoming performance. “I’ve played at the National Arts Centre several times, and I’ve played at Parliament Hill… I feel like I’ve had a lot of support from the city of Ottawa so I’m just excited to go back.”
Grant will be bringing a full band to the festival, including Kim Harris, an East Coast singer-songwriter. Grant is a huge fan of Harris’s music and is excited to be performing with her at CityFolk.
When Grant was asked of her preference on performing in concert tours or in the festival circuit, she said that it really depends on the festival.
“I’m looking forward to this one because I’m sandwiched between two really great acts, and I’m playing at 7 which is sort of a nice time to play, and we’ve got a nice hour-long slot,” says Grant. “I think this one’s going to be really good.”
With the rebranding of the festival, CityFolk artistic director Mark Monahan has introduced a new part to the festival called “Marvest.” Marvest will feature mostly free shows and take place along Bank Street. This is perfect for students who want to enjoy the festival, but have already spent all of their OSAP money on beer and FNS breakfasts.
For those who do want to attend the main portion of the festival but find the $45-$60 day passes too expensive, there are also student rush tickets that can be purchased at the festival box office each day. Student rush tickets are $30, except on Sept. 18 when they will be $40, and require student ID to purchase.
For a complete schedule, line-up and more info, check out http://cityfolkfestival.com.