Opening of Festival House

Ottawa’s festivals, special events and fairs celebrate the Launch of the Festival Season and join RBC Bluesfest for the opening of Festival House. On May 8th, Ottawa Festivals officially launched the 2014 festival season and joined RBC Bluesfest and Mayor Jim Watson to officially open Festival House.

“This is a very exciting time for the Ottawa Festivals organization,” said John Brooman, President of Ottawa Festivals and President/CEO of the Tim Hortons Ottawa Dragon Boat Festival and Foundation. “As we officially launch another festival season with close to 100 member events taking place this year, we also celebrate embarking on a new era. We have a new Executive Director leading a great team and our move to Festival House will facilitate a new level of engagement and accessibility between Ottawa Festivals and our members.”

Festival House is located in the former Westboro United Church that was gifted to Bluesfest for the purpose of turning it into a music and art school for the community and housing community arts organizations.

“The idea of Festival House has been around for some time,” says Mark Monahan, Executive Director of the RBC Bluesfest, “In fact, it goes back to discussions I had 20 years ago with Michelle Gauthier who was heading the Canadian Tulip Festival at the time. When this opportunity was presented by the First United Church, I felt that it was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to make Festival House happen – to provide a facility for the festival industry to get together and share resources and ideas . . . and to make even further inroads into music and arts education.”

In addition to RBC Bluesfest, Ottawa Folk Festival, the Ottawa International Film Festival, the Indian Festival and the Canadian Association of Fairs and Exhibitions, Ottawa Festivals will move into Festival House in the coming days. The space will also facilitate networking events, meetings and casual work space for Ottawa Festivals members.

“This exciting partnership with RBC Bluesfest provides Ottawa Festivals with the capacity to enhance the services that we already provide to our membership,” said Carole Anne Piccinin, Executive Director of Ottawa Festivals, “It is more than simply a facility that will house festivals. Festival House will become a dynamic new hub for our members to network, learn and contribute to developing best practices, and will inspire partnerships and collaborations that will benefit the organizations involved and the industry as a whole. Its impact will extend far beyond the strong foundations upon which Ottawa Festivals is built. As new ideas and initiatives are born they make Ottawa’s festival industry stronger and better than it is right now.” About Ottawa Festivals Ottawa Festivals is a not-for-profit organization that represents 100 not-for-profit festivals, special events and fairs that take place in Canada’s Capital Region. In partnership with the City of Ottawa, Employment Ontario and Trillium Foundation, the organization manages a number of programs to develop and sustain the industry to contribute to positive benefits that impact the community.

About Festival House
Festival House is a new community arts hub, devoted to developing musical and artistic talent through the Bluesfest School of Music and Art (BSOMA). Festival House will also provide office space for the RBC Bluesfest and Ottawa Folk Festival organizations, as well as the ‘Ottawa Festivals’ organization, among other future tenants.

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