If you’re heading to CityFolk for the first time today, just a few quick reminders:

  • All performances at CityFolk, which take place on the Great Lawn, require a ticket or a festival pass. If you don’t have a ticket, you can purchase one at the gate.
  • Alongside CityFolk is Marvest, a celebration of the city’s music scene. Performances are being hosted in and around Lansdowne Park. Many of them will be held at Aberdeen Pavilion, which are free. Shows taking place outside Lansdowne may require you to pay a small admission fare to enter the building.

You can check the festival map for just those shows happening at Lansdowne Park. People are highly encouraged to bike, walk, or take public transportation since parking will be limited in and around the area. There is underground parking available on site.

The CityFolk and Marvest schedules are available online or download the app.


CityFolk Lineup (at the Great Lawn)

After yesterday’s light appetizer of music, CityFolk gets underway with a full slate of music. Going to toe-to-toe to kickoff the festival are Les Soeurs Boulay (6:00, Telus Stage) and Scarlett Jane (6:00, RavenLaw Stage). Dream-folk duo vs. dream-folk duo. Quebec vs. Ontario. Montreal vs. Toronto. Who to choose? You can’t go wrong…

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…much like when selecting who to choose among the 7:00 performers. On the one hand, chart-toppers Walk Off The Earth (Telus Stage) will be having the crowd in a euphoric frenzy with their catchy and funky pop music. The show will arguably be the biggest dance party of the festival while…

…over on the RavenLaw Stage The Steep Canyon Rangers will just mesmerizing the crowd with their artistry. Long a favourite of the festival scene in the States, the North Carolina sextet have long won audiences over with their masterful skills and their vivid and sometimes dark storytelling. Their music stays true to the bluegrass, folk, and swampy blues foundations of the deep south, transporting you back to the 1940s and 1950s…

…whereas the folk and bluegrass of Lisa Leblanc (8:15, RavenLaw Stage) transcends the genres. The New Brunswick-native transforms these classic genres into something that is anthemic and blistering with the infusion of rock and Americana. In just three years, her stunning music has her being compared to Bonnie Raitt, and for good reason. Her meteoric rise is…

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…matched by The Avett Brothers (8:30, Telus Stage). It wasn’t long ago when the North Carolina band was performing during the early time slots, but with their energetic live shows and their contemporary take on folk-rock and country-rock have launched them into the must-see category. For the past year, they’ve been touring in support of their latest album, Magpie and The Dandelion, which will be on full display tonight…

…and Canadian indie-rock favourites Wintersleep (10:15, Telus Stage) will likely also showcase songs from their forthcoming album, which was to be called Boreal. This album has been in the works for about 18 months, but the Juno Award-winning band from Halifax appear ready to release some new material (or at least we hope they will).


Marvest Lineup

There’s no shortage of local talent performing inside the Aberdeen Pavilion. James LeClair with is band The Cable 22’s (7:00, Aberdeen Stage) will be one of the first local acts to release a new album at CityFolk / Marvest. These Weights promises to be another folk/folk-rock band, much in the mold of Joe Fletcher & The Wrong Reasons. If you want a preview, hear “Makin’ Good Time” below.

If you were torn on who to see at 6:00 between Scarlett Jane and Quebec twosome Les Soeurs Boulay, the four musicians are getting together for a special In Harmony collaboration (8:00, Metro Lounge). As mentioned above, both pairs are known for creating lush and dreamy folk music, so what magic will they create when performing together? It could be something really special.

Later in the evening, Alex Silas & the Subterraneans (10:00, Aberdeen Stage) will share their quick word-play, hip hop that is infused with rock, pop, and Middle Eastern sounds. So after UB40 has finished, dash inside the Pavilion and continue the party.

Off-site, specifically at the House of Targ ($5 cover charge), you’ll find the following artists.

For the better part of four years, Ilvekyo (9:00, House of Targ) has established themselves as a fixture of the capital city’s music scene. Their pop music is alluring and fun, making the close quarters at House of Targ the perfect place to get your groove on as you dance the night way to Ilvekyo’s music. This will be the first of two shows the duo will be performing.

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Speaking of Marvest two-timers, The Brook (10:00, House of Targ) will also be making a second appearance at the festival later in the week. However, they’ll first perform off-site, sharing their indie folk-rock, which ranges from brooding, sentimental songs to fiddle-infused, East Coast-inspired tunes. They’re not your typical folk-rock band.

Speaking of “not typical”, art-rock quartet High Waters (11:00, House of Targ) create music that crosses between experimental, classic rock, and even a bit of prog-rock. You’ll either be completely moved by their music and perplexed, but one thing for certain is that they will capture your attention with their innovative sound.

The first night of Marvest comes to an end with the way it started – with James LeClair & The Cable 22’s (midnight, House of Targ). So if you missed them earlier, you’ll have a chance to catch them over at Ottawa’s favourite pinball playground.

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