Nick Murphy performed at ELE Fest on Sept. 24. Photo: Parker Townes.
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Jazz Cartier, Nick Murphy, local artists give it their all despite small crowds

Sunday, Sept. 24 was the final day of Everybody Loves Everybody (ELE) Festival, held at the University of Ottawa’s University Square, outside the Faculty of Social Sciences building.

The crowd started out small, but the local acts immediately brought a high energy that lasted throughout the day. When RBLx, a hip-hop collective from Ottawa, took the stage at 6:30 p.m., they kicked off the night with a chant of “f–k who’s not here” to the roughly 15 people in the audience. After one more act, the highlight of the night, Probably Raymond, took the stage for his second set of the evening—covering in the place of J-Soul’s absence.

Probably Raymond is a 20-year-old rapper from downtown Toronto who has yet to release his first album. Even without the energy of the crowd, pyrotechnics or any lights at all—the sun was still up during his second set—he was a tremendous live act. He only played five songs to bridge the gap, but the small yet passionate audience was into every second of it.

“Always remember, (making music) takes time,” Probably Raymond said as he left the stage. “Like Big Sean said, it took me five years to become an overnight success ‘cause he was in the game for 10 years but for half of it he was just writing, he was learning, he was growing. But the point is when you’re pursuing it, start slow. Feet up when you know you can keep running, not when you think you can.”

When Toronto-born rapper Jazz Cartier, also known as Jacuzzi Lafleur, hit the stage at 8:30 p.m., a full setup of lights and pyrotechnics was used. He fed off of the crowd’s energy and soon it was easy to forget that there were no more than 300 people in the audience by the end of his set. Before his last song he spoke to the energy he brought with his live show: “Even if you don’t know me, even if you don’t f–k with my music, I want you to leave at the end of the night thinking, Jacuzzi puts on a good show.”

Cartier finished his last song with a toss of the mic and he sprinted off of the stage, with security close behind. Before his DJ left the stage, he said that they would be appearing at the 27 Club in the Byward Market, and with the announcement of this news, most of the crowd left to follow.

As they were leaving, a new crowd streamed in under the canvas tent for Nick Murphy, the final show of the night. With his appearance came a different style of live performance. Gone was the crowd surfing and water throwing, and in its place was a five-piece band grooving the night away with their extended instrumental breaks. When the set was finished, the crowd chanted for an encore—however municipal by-laws prevented the set being even one song longer.

Even though the headliner attracted 500 people at most, and the local artists had 20 people show up for their sets, all the acts gave it their all. They all embodied Probably Raymond’s mantra to keep running—to make the most of it for the committed crowds who are there, and maybe make some new fans out of them.


  • Spring 2022: Desiree Nikfardjam Fall 2021: Zofka Svec 2020-2021: Aisling Murphy 2019-2020: Ryan Pepper 2018-2019: Iain Sellers 2017-2018: Ryan Pepper