The festival will be accepting applications until Feb. 25. Photo: Courtesy of UPROAR via Facebook.
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Festival gives priority to female, Genderqueer, Ottawa-based artists

Ottawa has a few notable festivals that have become increasingly popular in the past few years—like Bluesfest and CityFolk Festival—but, that has not stopped would-be organizers from starting out their own new, and smaller, celebrations.

This summer, from Aug. 8 to 10, artists will kick off the first-ever UPROAR festival at the Arts Court on 2 Daly Ave.. “UPROAR is a new multidisciplinary arts festival that will showcase female and genderqueer artists of all kinds,” Monica Bradford-Lea, one of the festival’s executive producers and public relations representative, told the Fulcrum in an email.

“The festival really started with a single goal: let’s celebrate womxn artists,” she continued. “As a group of local artists, this is something we’d all felt for a few years—that desire to celebrate and connect with other female (and) genderqueer artists.”

Initially, the group had put a policy in place requesting all groups only apply if they were composed of 80 per cent women or queergender members—because the festival is based around celebrating those communities—but has since removed that requirement due to logistical challenges.

“When we initially wrote the call for artists, we were thinking about representation—we wanted to make sure that the artists involved in the festival were representative of the communities we wanted to celebrate,” Bradford-Lea explained. “After we launched the call, we heard from some in those communities that this requirement was a challenge for them.”

“It’s important to us that female and genderqueer artists be at the forefront of the festival; but so is having representation from a variety of disciplines,” they continued. “So we had to balance that, and ultimately decided to remove the requirement and instead list it as a programming priority.”

Indeed, the fledgling festival recently opened up applications for would-be musicians, artists, comedians, poets, and more—and applicants have until Feb. 25 to apply on the group’s website.

“Don’t be shy to apply! The goal for this festival is to showcase artists of all kinds—from any age, background, or artistic discipline,” Bradford-Lea told the Fulcrum. “So, whether your project is brand new or something you’ve already been working on, we want to hear about it.”

To get the festival started, the organizers conducted two separate fundraisers at the end of the summer in 2018, and successfully reached all of their target donation goals.

“I think we’ve all been blown away by the support we’ve received,” Bradford-Lea continued. “Our fundraiser back in August, and the online campaign we ran in September were both incredibly successful—we hit over our target fundraising goal at both events—and we’ve had so many people reach out and ask how they can get involved.”

“The support we’ve received has definitely indicated to us that this was something that the rest of the community also felt was missing,” she explained, “and we’re both excited and humbled by everyone’s support.”

So, if you would like to take part in the beginnings of a new festival, or even if you just want to support female, and queer gender artists, be sure to check out UPROAR this August.

“We can’t wait to see everyone’s work, and start UPROAR off with a bang this summer.”


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