Cover photo: Whitehorse (performing Sep 16, 7:20pm)

If this year’s Bluesfest left you longing for more joy that only a festival in the sunshine can bring, take solace that summer is still with us and more music is only a few days away.

This September, CityFolk returns to the great lawn of Landsdowne Park. The format has been altered from previous renditions, featuring a single stage and running Thursday through Saturday for two sequential weeks (Sep 8-10, Sep 15-17). We believe this is a positive shift, allowing for a favourable balance of everyday life and festival fun.

Should you be eyeing the schedule but still pondering who you would like to see, here are a trio of options to keep top of mind: our Three to See as it were. As usual, we purposely omit featuring the main-stage headliner and aim to shine a light on other alternatives through the evenings. Explore for yourself what each evening holds by checking out the full schedule. Various passes and tickets are still available for purchase.

As a quick helpful hint, follow Ottawa Cityfolk on social media for any fun notables and changes in schedules.

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Sarah Harmer

Thursday, September 8th
The White Buffalo – 6:00

The first pick is the inaugural set of this year’s festival. Perhaps you are not familiar with The White Buffalo by name, but chances are the musical talent of singer-songwriter Jake Smith has not gone unnoticed. Over their two-decade tenure, many of their songs have been featured on popular shows, such as Sons of Anarchy, This is Us, and Californication. His seventh and latest release, On the Widow’s Walk, buoys us with their baritone voice, rippling through strings and piano in the ballads and swelling in the rock-forward tracks.

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Saturday, September 10th
JJ Wilde – 7:00

Showcasing another early time slot, skip on down to the great lawn for JJ Wilde. The Kitchener-hailing rocker blew into our collective consciousness in 2020 with the triple chart-topper “The Rush”. Their debut EP Ruthless garnered a Juno Award for Rock Album of the Year. Her latest EP, a duet project with Billy Raffoul, seeps with emotion – from softly serene to searingly heart aching. That set should be worth being unfashionably early.

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Sunday, September 17th
Sarah Harmer – 7:20

Can we just say that we adore Sarah Harmer? From her solo debut album, Songs for Clem, to her latest in a decade, Are You Gone, Harmer consistently satiated us with her musical breadth and songwriting talents. I cannot remember where I left my car keys daily, but I still know all the words to “Silver Road”, which was featured prominently in mixtapes I gave to friends back in the day. Also, we’re still pining over the loss of a Weeping Tile T-shirt that somehow disappeared into the dryer netherworld.

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