Grassroots Festival 2020 Launch

The Ottawa Grassroots Festival (OGF) will hold its launch party on Tuesday, February 25, 2020 at Irene’s Pub, 885 Bank Street, from 12 p.m. to 1 p.m. The festival, proudly entering its 9th year, is happening from April 23-26, 2020 at its new venue: St Andrew’s Presbyterian Church, 82 Kent St. (at Wellington). This venue offers a central location and plenty of parking. Headliners  are Kristine St-Pierre and Band, along with Jessica Pearson and the East Wind (as a co-bill), The Vanier Playboys and Twin Flames.

Opening the April 25 all Indigenous evening for Twin Flames are Larissa Desrosiers, and Algonquin Elder Albert Dumont, a Spiritual Advisor, poet and storyteller. Twin Flames is an award winning duo that combines Jaaji, an Inuk/Mohawk man from Nunavik and Chelsey June, an Algonquin/Cree Métis woman from Ottawa. Openers for the other headliners will be Quote the Raven and Maria Hawkins.

As the Launch emcee, OGF is thrilled to welcome the unique enthusiasm of Rowena Pearl. She is a musician and popular music teacher, regularly involved in local community theatre and choirs. Rowena has also performed as the music director for the OGF “pickup” choir for the past few years.

The opening performer for the launch will be Gatineau singer-songwriter Mia Kelly. She was named as one of 10 artists to watch in 2020 by Ottawa Citizen’s Lynn Saxberg, “Mia is a depth of talent beyond her years, characterized by a robust and soulful voice and a knack for writing heartfelt songs in both official languages” writes Saxberg. She has performed at many shows and released an EP, Cardboard Box, in 2019. Her youthful spirit and powerful voice are infectious and light up a room.

Bob Nesbitt, Founder and Festival Producer, will reveal the full line-up of performers and workshops at the launch. “Once again, Grassroots will have over 50% of programming represented by female performers. Gender balance is a focus and equality, diversity and inclusion continue to be fundamental values for this festival”, beams Nesbitt.

The launch will feature special guest speaker, Teri Loretto, a professor of Performing Arts, TV Broadcasting at Algonquin College. In addition to teaching, Teri Loretto is also on CBC’s media weather team and fills in as host on CBC’s In Town and Out.

Launch attendees will have an opportunity to win a 3-day festival pass which includes entry to all evening performances.  In addition the famous OGF pins, which are designed and manufactured by Mark Evenchick in limited quantities, will be offered for sale at the launch.

Closing out the hour will be a performance by Don Bray, a singer-songwriter from Ottawa who recently released his 6th solo CD, I Bless the Wounds. Don performs his emotion filled songs while playing guitar, hollowneck lap slide or mandolin and draws you in with his heartfelt performances.

Anyone who is interested in taking a tour of the new venue prior to the festival, please contact Bob at [email protected].

Online tickets and festival passes for the Ottawa Grassroots Festival evening performances are available via the festival website and physical tickets are available at both Compact Music locations. Tickets will also be available at the launch and onsite during the festival. A festival 3 day pass is $59 (online); $60 at the door. Ticket prices for individual nights are: $25-Thurs., $20-Fri. and $35-Sat. Children 15 and under are free when accompanied by an adult. The daytime programming on both Saturday and Sunday are FREE for everyone!

The Grassroots Festival is a family-friendly gathering of folk music, dance and spoken word. It’s called Grassroots because it is! This not-for-profit organization is run entirely by volunteers and prides itself for the participatory workshops it provides, cultivating community, embracing diversity and nurturing inclusivity in a fun and friendly way.