Ottawa bid goodbye to summer 2018 with one last celebration of music in all of its diversity.
The 25th anniversary of CityFolk offered an international lineup of artists from across generations and genres. From the first performances on Wednesday, September 12, of Americana icons, Steve Earle and The Dukes, and Tedeschi Trucks Band and the rising Icelandic blues powerhouse, Kaleo, it was clear that this year’s CityFolk was out to celebrate everyone’s definition of folk.
Following Wednesday’s blues-themed opening night, the Capital was in for a real treat of legendary proportions on Thursday night, as David Byrne mesmerized the crowd with a blend of material from his latest solo album, American Utopia, past solo work and even some select Talking Heads classics alongside his 11-piece backup band.
The celebration continued into the weekend with two full days of music representing over five decades of music.
While patrons were brought into the warm music of PEI’s Whitney Rose, Rose herself was starstruck during an interview session with the legendary Janis Ian and CBC Ottawa’s Alan Neal. Ian herself would have the RavenLaw Stage crowd in tears with her own performance Sunday evening. The RavenLaw Stage also saw a rousing performance from Toronto favourites, the Skydiggers.
Meanwhile, on the main City Stage, the weekend brought afternoon performances from a wide array of Canadian talent, including Ben Caplan, Barney Bentall, Lindi Ortega, MonkeyJunk, Colter Wall, Whitehorse and Terra Lightfoot. Closing out the evening were rocking performances from Doobie Brother member, Michael McDonald, Irish superstar Hozier and Portland kings of indie, the Decemberists.
And as CityFolk rocked on the Great Lawn of Lansdowne Park, Marvest offered a variety of free shows from Ottawa’s best up and coming talent. From Greathunter at Industria Pizza at Lansdowne to Onionface at Irene’s Pub and Cody Allen outside on the patio of the neighbouring Soup Guy Cafe, the party stretched down Bank St. all the way to the 417 highway. Even smaller businesses such as Studio Urban B Hair found space in their salon to host duo The Opposite Point of Life.
With 25 years of providing a wonderful, diverse, festival, it’s exciting to think who CityFolk could bring to the Ottawa stages in the years to come.
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Born and raised with thoughts and aspirations of becoming a famous bassist in Sarnia, ON; Emily Plunkett now lives in Gatineau, QC, and considers National Capital Region home sweet home. A product of the Beatles, MuchMusic and the Southwestern Ontario summer festival circuit (circa 2000), her interest and love in concert photography came almost completely by accident when her journalism program at Algonquin College required courses in photojournalism (and she quickly realized that photos taken at concerts using a DSLR are enormously better than ones she was taking on a point-and-shoot she bought for a trip to England). She is extremely proud of the fact she has seen Sloan in some form or another 25 times.