Tim Hortons Ottawa Dragon Boat Festival Unveils 2024 Free Concerts Presented by Scotiabank


Monday, May 13, 2024

This June 21-23 get ready to race, and rock, at the Tim Hortons Ottawa Dragon Boat Festival, with fierce competition on the water and free all ages concerts presented by Scotiabank, featuring Rare Americans, The Blue Stones, NOBRO, and more!

Headlining the festival on Friday June 21 are JUNO Award nominated Rare Americans, (“Brittle Bones Nicky”, “Baggage”). Rare Americans have established an identity as inventive storytellers. Their songs, paired with narrative-driven animated videos have garnered the band their first top 100 Billboard album, 500M+ streams, 2M+ social media followers, and sold out international tours. 

Headlining night two of the festival on Saturday June 22 are The Blue Stones, (“Shaking off the Rust”, “Black Holes (Solid Ground)”), who since bursting onto the scene with their acclaimed debut album Black Holes, have delivered a crowd-thrilling live show that defies the laws of physics, generating an impossibly massive sound from its two members alone.On their third album Pretty Monster, the duo fully capture the controlled chaos and combustible energy of their live set for the very first time—all while expanding on the potent songwriting and sonic ingenuity shown on Black Holes (a 2018 release that earned them a JUNO Award nomination for ‘Breakthrough Group of the Year’) and its 2021 follow-up Hidden Gems (a JUNO nominee for ‘Rock Album of the Year’). 

Joining the headliners as part of the all Canadian lineup will be performances from a number of special guests. 

Montreal new-age punk outfit NOBRO (“Eat Slay Chardonnay”) will hit the festival Hillside Stage in support of their debut full-length record Set Your Pussy Free, a caustic, celebratory, glorious party-punk firework show. It’s a record about the ecstatic pursuit of personal escape and liberation even as the walls are closing in, a 21st century power-punk analog of Born To Run that rages against modern life’s restrictive pressures and dares them to a game of chicken. If a hurricane is bearing down on NOBRO, they’re spitting into it, arm-in-arm, with middle fingers raised. 

The Hallions are a high-energy Celtic rock band from Glengarry County, Ontario. Influenced by artists like Flogging Molly, Dropkick Murphys, The Peelers, The Mahones and The Pogues, their music brings a fresh take on traditional Celtic music. In 2018, they released their debut EP featuring the hit single “Take Me Back”. The band is made up of Pat Miller on lead vocals and guitar, Alex Macmillan on guitar, banjo, and mandolin, Rachael Campbell on fiddle, Noel Campbell on bass, Stephen Blondin on drums, and Bob Pavlounis on guitar and banjo. Their dynamic live performances celebrate their heritage and love for music, leaving audiences dancing and inspired.

Luella is the musical project of 20 year old Kingston based artist Liv Whitfield. Her soulful dream-pop sound is most notable for its catchy baselines, crisp vocals, and honest lyrics. 2022 brought the release of her debut album, Luna, produced in collaboration with her father, Zane Whitfield, at North of Princess Studio (Glorious Sons, Kathleen Edwards, Blue Stones). In less than a year, Luella quietly amassed 30k video streams, and over 100,000 streams on Spotify while playing sold-out shows alongside fanclubwallet, Dizzy, and Claudia Bouvette. Luella’s sophomore album, Summer Bummer, is set to be released in Spring 2024. A testament to her final years of girlhood, SB promises to be bolder with a newfound confidence all while staying true to her trademark vulnerability. 

High Waters, from Ottawa, Ontario, were established in 2009, craft melodious indie rock that evokes the ineffable. “Goodnight Mara” (2015) resonated nationwide, paving the way for coast-to-coast tours. Their latest EP, “Not Dead Not Alive,” was released in January 2024. Present members include Derek Connely, Martin Villeneuve, Matt Speedy, Brandon Walsh, and Joshua Hofmann. Critically praised for their delicate balance of somber and serene, High Waters create enduring experiences that speak to the human condition.

Dan Kelly is an indie/folk musician from Ottawa, Ontario. His sound is best described as wandering through a sun-dappled forest, where the echoes of acoustic guitars mingle with the whispering winds and the rustle of leaves underfoot. It’s a genre that invites you to sit around a crackling campfire under a star-studded sky, sharing stories of love, loss, and the raw essence of human experience.

Kingston, Ontario-born singer, songwriter, guitarist and producer Emma Lamontagne landed a single’s deal the very first time she performed a bonafide gig in 2016, winning Ottawa Bluesfest’s She’s The One contest and recording “I Don’t Sleep” with songwriter/producer Robyn Dell’Unto. The teenager at the time went on to achieve close to half-million streams for the song. Just out of high school, she released two more singles and her 2019 debut full-length, Uncomfortable Eye Contact. Now, with an audio engineering degree under her belt and a new home studio, Emma is back with a sound that she wants: lyric-focused folk-pop. “I wanted it to feel very intimate and essentially the way how I perform on stage with a guitar and vocals,” she says. Emma’s intense empathy forms the basis of many of her new songs as well as her newly sprouted romantic life, but don’t doubt Emma’s between-song banter is downright hilarious. “You may have a career as a comedian,” wrote one fan on her Instagram.

The concerts take place in the natural setting of Mooney’s Bay Park, where concert goers can enjoy a beverage from local brewery Beyond The Pale and Side Hustle Sodas or some tasty treats from any of the 10 different food trucks and shop at 15 exhibitors. Every year, both public and participants enjoy the free all age shows in addition to highlights from Success Dragon Lion Dance, RCAF Pipes and Drums, Chinese Canadian Children’s Choir of Canada and so much more, including a massive playground for the young and young at heart.

Not to be outdone, the festival features exhilarating non-stop racing featuring thousands of competitors in community, corporate, and competitive divisions. The 2024 regatta is a premier race on the North American dragon boat calendar and is a Dragon Boat Canada (DBC) Race Series Event as competitive teams get ready to head to the 14th IDBF Club Crew World Championships in Ravenna, Italy from September 3-8. In one of the festival highlights, DBC teams will go head to head in the highly competitive Sue Holloway Cup, named after the Olympic medalist and Canadian Sports Hall of Famer.

The festival is proud to welcome first-time team “Great Big C”, a local men’s team of male cancer survivors, to the All Cancer Paddlers Cup, as well as Ottawa’s long-standing breast cancer survivor team, “Busting Out”, to the Breast Cancer Paddlers Cup. In addition teams “Capital City Condors”, “Ausome Ottawa” and “ORCC Paddle All” will face off in theAccessibility Challenge Cup, a division for paddlers with a disability, their caregivers and supporters to experience the sport. Ottawa’s “Vintage Queers” will be back to defend their title in the Pride Challenge Cup, the first 2SLGBTQ+ dragon boat division in Canada, and the Youth Challenge Cup will bring together a new generation of  teams whose members are 13 – 17 years of age. These divisions and many more are some of the featuress of the weekend’s race schedule.

Paddlers are coming from throughout North America including Barrie, Guelph, Halifax, Kingston, Mississauga, Moncton, Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto, Wisconsin and more. To-date 115 teams have registered including 65 mixed – teams that are a mix of male and female paddlers, 29  women – teams that are made up of all female paddlers, and 21 open – teams with no specific gender requirements.

The festival is looking forward to the races, free concerts, fantastic festival food and welcoming teams, volunteers, exhibitors, sponsors and supporters back to Mooney’s Bay beach, all coming to an epic conclusion with the Official Closing Awards Ceremony on Sunday June 23.