It’s official: festival season in Canada’s National Capital is upon us! The time of year that many of us look forward to is finally here and it’s definitely an exciting time to be in and around Ottawa-Gatineau if you’re into music, arts and culture because there’s plenty to take in.
Having said this, the amount of festivals being held this month can be a bit overwhelming since the bulk of them are being held throughout June. To give you a hand, Eventful Capital has put together a comprehensive guide of June festivals, which will help you navigate through the sea of offerings and give you a global picture on the best festivals that Ottawa-Gatineau has to offer in an effort to help you pick and choose the ones worth attending.
The Canada Dance Festival, being held from June 9 to June 14, is opening the season. This annual festival, which celebrates the many facets of dance and movement, is a great way to experience this art form at an affordable price. The performances, taking place at various locations, will feature choreographies by emerging Canadian choreographers and dancers, short works, Bboyizm breakdancing, the playful and colourful Prismes by Montreal choreographer Benoît Lachambre, and Danielle Sturk’s dance film Rachel Brown: A Good Madness among others. You can grab the entire program by clicking below.
The 39th edition of the Festival Franco-Ontarien kicks off on Thursday, June 12 and is being held until Saturday, June 14. This year again, this family-friendly festival, which celebrates francophone music and culture, is being held at Major Hill Park and will present popular musicians from French Canada including Lisa Leblanc, Pierre Lapointe, Karim Ouellet, Marie-Mai and Marc Hervieux. Check back in on the blog next Sunday, June 15 for a full coverage of Thursday and Friday’s performances.
The third annual edition of the Ottawa Explosion Weekend runs from June 12 to June 15 at various locations across Ottawa including Club Saw, House of Targ, Mugshots, Cafe Dekcuf, and Avant-Garde Bar. This niche music festival, which features underground punk, rock, garage, psych pop bands from the region and beyond will present over 75 groups, the majority of which you’ve probably never heard of, but that you should definitely discover and encourage if you’re into that kind of music. This is what the Ottawa Explosion Weekend is all about, a crazy fun music party!
Westfest, Westboro Village’s festival of music, art and life is celebrating its 11th edition this year from June 13 to 15. This family-friendly community festival brings you 3 days of free concerts and activities in Ottawa’s Westboro neighborhood. This year’s festivities will bring you live performances by George Leach, Ashley MacIsaac, Fevers, Pony Girl, The PepTides, and Ottawa favourites A Tribe Called Red among several others. To view the full program, click on the festival poster below.
Meat lovers rejoice! The sticky social that is the Ottawa Ribfest is back and happening along Sparks Street from June 18 to June 22. Ribbers from all over North America will be on site to sell their best BBQ ribs, chicken, pulled pork and more. The festival will feature a pulled pork eating contest along with live entertainment.
Ottawa’s largest theatre festival, the Fringe, is back for its 18th season from June 19 to June 29 at 16 different downtown venues. The 2014 edition will feature over 400 performances, many of which are local-based productions. The Fringe is one of the city’s most accessible festivals with tickets for performances priced under $11. What’s more, 100% of ticket sales go directly to the performers, and that right there is seriously amazing. Building on last year’s success, festival organizers will continue to offer a series of free outdoor concerts featuring performances by Silkken Laumann, StillNative, HIGHS, Django Libre, Crissi Cochrane and the Adam Saikaley Quintet.
The Ottawa Dragon Boat Festival is celebrating it’s 21th anniversary this year with tons of free family-friendly activities. North America’s largest dragon boat festival will feature a children’s area filled with family-friendly entertainment, extreme sports demos, the classic dragon boat races and a free concert series. This year, festival-goers will have the chance to see local acts Claude Munson & The Storm Outside, Amos The Transparent, Harlan Pepper and The Mohrs along with headliners Stars, The Sheepdogs, The Zolas, Arkells and Down With Webster. We’re spoiled aren’t we? It would be a shame not to take advantage of all these amazing and accessible events!
There’s a new festival in town! Glow Fair is joining the festival family this year with free art performances, vibrant music shows and state-of-the-art light projections, which will make a stretch of Bank Street come to life on June 20 and 21. Experience the core of Centretown like you’ve never seen it before and find out what Glow Fair is all about! To access the full program, just click on the festival poster below.
The fourth annual Summer Solstice Aboriginal Arts Festival & International Competition Powwow is being held from Friday, June 20 to Sunday, June 22 at Vincent Massey Park in Ottawa. The 2014 edition, which offers free admission, will feature a variety of traditional powwow dance competitions along with live music shows, a drum contest, a children’s village, workshops, artisans, crafts, a selection of traditional aboriginal foods and lots more.
The popular Ottawa International Jazz Festival is kicking off on Friday, June 20 and continues until July 1. One of Ottawa’s longest running festivals and a recognized household name that’s been around since 1980, Jazz Fest will present an eclectic lineup for festival-goers looking for a bit of everything. This year’s roster includes headliners Earth, Wind & Fire, Ben Harper & Charlie Musselwhite, Steve Martin & The Steep Canyon Rangers, Aretha Franklin, Diane Reeves, the Hypnotic Brass Ensemble, Snarky Puppy, and Austra among others. Organizers have also included several local acts to the programming namely Les Mosquitos, The Split, The PepTides, Pony Girl and The Hornettes among others. As per tradition, all of the performances taking place on July 1 offer free admission. Check out the full lineup by clicking below.
Carivibe, the festival celebrating Caribbean culture in the Nation’s Capital, is back at Petrie Island on June 21. This annual beach party, which offers a diverse array of tropical rhythms, cuisine, carnival and culture, will celebrate the 2014 World Cup with some beach soccer, and by projecting some of the live games on big screens. Find out all about Carivibe by checking out their website below.
Over in Gatineau, Francophones will be celebrating St-Jean Baptiste from June 20 to June 24 with a series of activities, rides, fireworks and live shows at the Des Cedres Park in Aylmer. This year’s lineup will feature headliners Eric Lapointe, Louis-Jean Cormier, Coeur de Pirate, Les Cowboys Fringants, Marjo, and La Compagnie Créole.