Before we look at some of the artists performing at CityFolk today, just some things to remind you about the festival.

  • 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 (Great Lawn)

This evening’s CityFolk lineup is heavy on Canadian content with a legend sprinkled in to draw audiences of all ages to the festival. Things get started off with Montreal’s Motel Raphael (6:00, RavenLaw Stage), a young indie folk-pop band who utilize three-part harmonies to stunning effect. Their music is similar to rising folk-pop band PHOX and California’s The Wild Reeds, so expect to be completely swooned by Emily Skahan, Clara Legault, and Maya Malkin…

…or choose to be hypnotized by the great Patrick Watson (6:15, Telus Stage), who earlier this year released Love Songs for Robots, his bes album in years. Supported by a multi-talented band, the Montreal-based artist will surely have the audience in a state of hypnosis with his ethereal and cinematic music and his trademark falsetto. It’s music meant to be shared with your loved one…


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…much like Jenn Grant‘s (7:00, RavenLaw Stage) songs are. The Canadian darling has serenaded audiences in Canada and across the globe with her indie-folk that can be light-hearted and whimsical or endearing and romantic. The Nova Scotia native will be sharing tracks from her fifth studio album, Compostela, providing people an opportunity to become familiar with Juno Award winner’s latest work…

…or maybe you will want to hang out to catch Amy Helm and The Handsome Strangers (7:15, Telus Stage). While many know Helm as the daughter of the great Levon Helm, Amy is a talented singer-songwriter in her own right. Her album, Didn’t It Rain, was originally to be released last year, but, as she tells our Kristine, after a number of events Helm took the time to make the album the way she wanted it. We are thankful that she did…


…and it took some time for Elle King (8:15, RavenLaw Stage) to hit stardom, which she has achieved with her hit single, “Ex’s & Oh’s”. But what fans of the young singer-songwriter may not know is that King’s foundations are in folks and blues- and garage-rock. She has an edgy side that matches her poignant lyrics about life and independence. While her hit single may be pop-oriented, the rest of her portfolio ranges from the grit and honesty of P.J. Harvey to the sublime and intimate folk of Gillian Welch. So take the opportunity to open your mind to her fantastic music because she might one day be occupying a position…


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…that Van Morrison (8:30, Telus Stage) currently presides over. The legendary singer-songwriter rarely tours overseas, yet this is the second time in eight years (the previous was opening the 2007 Ottawa Bluesfest) that he’ll be performing in the city. People obviously will be awaiting to hear (and sing) the hits like “Brown Eyed Girl”, “Moondance”, and “Someone Like You”. This might be the last opportunity to see The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee…

…but hopefully this will be the first of many performances that St. Paul and The Broken Bones (10:00, RavenLaw Stage) will be performing in Ottawa. Their combination of soul, blues, R&B, and rock is highly contagious. If you’re a fan of Charles Bradley or Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings, you must check out the sextet from Birmingham, Alabama. Remember to bring your dancing shoes and a partner…


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…and don’t forget your sense of humour if you’ll be sticking around to see LeE HARVeY OsMOND (11:30, RavenLaw Stage), the pseodonym of Tom Wilson. Also known for his work with Blackie & The Rodeo Kings and Junkhouse, Wilson brings his sly tongue and acid folk once again to the city. He might be on the big stage, but the show promises to be an intimate affair.


Marvest Lineup

There are 26 performances associated with Marvest today. Due to the volume, I’ve only provided some short summaries and organized them by location, which are listed alphabetically. Some of the venues are right at Lansdowne or a short stroll away. Most shows are free, although a $5 cover charge is required at House of Targ.

Aberdeen Stage in the Pavilion

6:00 – Her Harbour – the project of Gabrielle Giguere, her delirious experimental folk is inventive and sensational. You have to hear it to believe it.

7:00 – Ilvekyo – the indie-pop band will be releasing their new album Out of Control. Get ready to boogie.

10:00 – Loon Choir – the multi-instrumental indie band will be launching their new album, All of This and Everything Else, this evening. Discover why they could be Ottawa’s next great music export.

11:30 – The East Pointers – Every Canadian festival needs some East Coast Celtic music right? Grab a partner and do a jig.


Black Squirrel Books (1073 Bank Street)

9:30 – The Vaneglory Farm – The project of husband-wife duo Derek Stow and Monica van Hoof, The Vaneglory Farm create brooding, jazz- and blues-infused indie-rock. This is music that belongs in a smokey bar in Soho.

10:30 – The Lionyls – The quartet combines soul, rock, and hip hop and this formula led to winning last October’s Live 88.5 Big Money Shot contest. Here’s your chance to discover why there’s a lot of hype behind this band and what new songs they have in development.

11:30 – Cody Allen – Allen earlier this year released a new album, Ignite, a deeply emotional and personal album of alternative folk music. Hear for yourself why Christina said Allen’s album will “ignite your deepest emotions”.


FarmTeam Cookhouse (683 Bank Street)

9:00 – The Ramblin’ Valley Band – Light-hearted, whimisical bluegrass music is what The Ramblin’ Valley Band masters. Another way to think of them – like Steve Martin’s band.

10:00 – Mackenzie Rhythm Section – We met them last year at Ottawa Bluesfest, and they have a great sound. Their funk-soul-pop is infectious and their dance moves are – well, you have to see them. They have altered their sound a bit, adding more of a disco and dance feel, which makes you wonder what moves they’ve added.

11:00 – The Hornettes – Cool, smooth, sultry soul and funk is the music perfected by The Hornettes. End the evening on a euphoric high with the band’s terrific harmonies and melodies.


House of Targ (1077 Bank Street)

9:00 – Skreedlemania ($5 admission and donations to the Ottawa Food Bank also welcome, which will be deducted from your fee) – This will essentially be a live mic night, where bands will be showing up and performing. You don’t know who will show up for this 3-hour jam session.


Irene’s Pub (885 Bank Street)

9:30 – Monday I Retire – Pop music infused with jazz and soul, the type of music that you’ll want to have a glass of wine in your hand as you listen to the piano-driven melodies of grooves of the local band.

10:30 – The Strain – Winners of the 2012 Live 88.5 Big Money Shot, Wakefield band The Strain have been busy writing new music for a new album. We’re not sure if Irene’s is big enough to hold in their anthemic and euphoric indie-pop. A dance party could break out at good old Irene’s.

11:30 – The Split – Just when you think the dance party is over, The Split bring their neo-soul and funk combination to Irene’s. Their music will get everyone, regardless of their age, on their feet.


Octopus Books (116 Third Avenue)

8:30 – Fiddlehead Soup – Haunting and hallowing, that’s the Eastern European Folk of Fiddlehead Soup. You’ll be swept away from the enchanting music.


Original Burger Joint (873 Bank Street)

9:00 – Moonfruits – The project of Alex Millaire and Kaitlin Milroy, Moonfruits make classic folk music. Their dueling vocals create a mesmerizing harmony that instruments are optional.

10:00 – Kelly Sloan – One of the city’s favourites, Kelly Sloan has carved a substantial niche in the Ottawa music scene with her personal and intimate folk. If you haven’t heard of her, here’s your chance.

11:00 – Matt Dorgan Project – Originally from Saskatoon, this one-man band / producer creates some incredible sounds. He’s slowly making a name for himself across the country, and his star is ready to explode when his new album, Breaking Radio Silence, is released this evening.

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These shows are presented by Apt613.


The Unrefined Olive (151 Second Avenue)

8:30 – Pith & The Parenchymas – They’ve gone from experimental rock to avante-garde rock. Whatever they’ll play, you’ll probably be perplexed yet drawn in.

9:30 – Orienteers – The Ottawa quartet create spacey, dreamy indie-folk. Imagine Bowie as Ziggy Stardust deciding to play folk music.

10:30 – Steve Adamyk Band – The Olive is going to lose its pit when the Steve Adamyk Band take the stage. Their combination of post-punk and punk-pop is blistering and head-rattling. Fans of Simple Plan should get to the Olive and check this band out.


Wild Oat Bakery (817 Bank Street)

9:00 – Stone Age Man – The Wakefield, nine-piece band specializes in a sultry mix of jazz, blues, soul, and rock. Grab a beverage at Wild Oat and noodle your head to their catchy musical blend.

10:00 – Lost to the River – Formerly known as country-rock band Miss Polygamy, the band has changed its name to reflect their new sound – a more melodic, southern-rock / folk-rock one. They’re currently raising funds to support the distribution of their new album. You can check out their crowdfunding campaign here.

11:00 – John Allaire – Veteran singer-songwriter John Allaire brings his classic rock and folk-rock sound to Wild Oat. He may not be a household name, but he’s one of the most respected artists not just in Ottawa or even Canada but in North America.

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Whole Foods Market (951 Bank Street)

7:00 – Suits ‘N Toques – If you punk mixed with ska is your thing, check out Suits ‘N Toques. There might be a dance mosh that breaks out at Wholes Food.

8:30 – Harea Band – Folk-pop, bubble-gum pop, and soul. What’s there not to like? Harea Band’s music is the perfect pick-me up to a tough work week.

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