This past Thursday, I attended the launch of a new arts, music and food festival called Arboretum at Babylon nightclub. The Arboretum reveal had for objective to announce what this new festival is all about and to raise funds in order to make it happen considering this will be the first edition and the organizers have a very limited budget to work with. Hence, admission was by donation.
Ontario breweries Beau’s and Kichesippi were specially on site to promote their beers as part of the festival’s food partners. Also on location was Art-Is-In Bakery, making delicious grilled-cheese sandwiches for the crowd to enjoy.
The decoration and event atmosphere was conceived by Carleton University architecture students who designed a progressive space with an emphasis on nature. Kitchen Party DJs got things started as both members of the media and public trickled into Babylon, after which Managing Director Marlene Powers and Artistic Director Rolf Klausener made their way to the stage to announce the line-up.
Powers and Klausener began by explaining how they had the idea to create an urban camping festival in the city by putting an emphasis on nature and the local scene. They highlighted the festival’s partners which include Forest School Canada, Artengine, CHUO FM, Saw Gallery, the Ottawa Art Gallery, the Ottawa International Animation Festival, and Ottawa Explosion. By presenting the National Capital Region with something off the beaten path, they hope to offer visual and media artist collaborations as well as showcase the most progressive foods rooted in the community. Part of Arboretum’s mandate is to remain local and this is reflected in their music selection which ranges from Adam Saikaley to Highneken to Gatineau-band Eraserheads and Montreal-based Snailhouse.
Several fundraising incentives will be taking place throughout the summer to raise funds for Arboretum and you can find all of the details on the official website here. The festival is set to take place on September 15 at the HI Ottawa Jail Hostel. More to come!
Then on Friday, June 8, I attended Westfest for the first time and checked out The Hidden Cameras on the main stage. Not only was it my first time at Westfest, it was also my first time in Westboro and I was immediately charmed by the boutiques and cute store facades. What a great way to discover one of the many unique neighborhoods of Ottawa! And all that without spending a penny (aside from my Bridgehead Chai Latte that is)! The Hidden Cameras, an indie-pop band from Toronto, were a nice musical discovery as well Although the sound wasn’t very good, the group put on an energetic show and performed a variety of songs from their repertoire including several crowd-pleasers. All in all, a great family-friendly festival, which is extremely accessible and fun to partake in! Kudos Westfest!