The Tim Hortons Ottawa Dragon Boat Festival returns June 22-25 with free all-ages concerts from headliners Dear Rouge, Tim Baker, and Bedouin Soundclash.
Juno award winners Dear Rouge, (“Black & Gold”, “Live Through The Night”) will kick off the festival on Thursday, June 22, in support of their newest, most personal, vulnerable, and intimate album to date, Spirit, featuring the number one hit song “Fake Fame”.
Prolific wild-eyed dreamer Tim Baker, who is best known as the songwriter and leader of Hey Rosetta!, a Juno-nominated, Polaris-shortlisted, and multi-award-winning band based in St. John’s, Newfoundland, will headline night two on Friday, June 23. Baker is touring in support of his latest solo effort, the aptly titled, The Festival; a sonic embrace, a call in for love, and a cry out for connection.
Canadian indie rock and reggae royalty, Bedouin Soundclash (“When the Night Feels My Song”) take the stage Saturday, June 24. Back better than ever, the Juno-winning Bedouin Soundclash returns with a brand new album titled We Will Meet in a Hurricane, out now on Dine Alone Records.
Joining the headliners as part of the all-Canadian lineup will be performances from a number of special guests. Rebelle, from Wakefield, Quebec, will rock the stage with their new single “Around”. Ottawa-based The New Hires are a breath of fresh air pairing panache with copious amounts of energy. Alanna Stirling is an outspoken advocate for mental health and uses music to express personal struggles with trauma, depression, and anxiety, bouncing between dozens of instruments, and blending genres from jazz to rap to rock’n’roll. The Gladsome Gentlemen, Ottawa’s most seasoned pickers, Joe McDonald (guitar, vocals) Trevor Lubin (mandolin, vocals) Dylan Watts (guitar) and Duncan Reitbeock (Bass) play a mixture of original and traditional tunes. Every album from The Darcys is an event, accompanied by vibrant imagery and playful lyrics, with each release they craft distinct eras that explore their creative headspace accompanied by a show not to be missed. Sister Swire is a fem-led, art rock band and is the product of a lifelong songwriting project, culminating in an inaugural 12-track record produced by Joel Plaskett.
The concerts take place in the natural setting of Mooney’s Bay Park, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday on the festival’s Hillside Stage where concertgoers can enjoy a beverage from local brewery Beyond The Pale and Side Hustle Sodas or some tasty treats from any of the 14 different food trucks. 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 2023 regatta is a premier race on the North American dragon boat calendar and is a Dragon Boat Canada (DBC) Race Series Event where top teams compete for a spot in the 14th IDBF Club Crew World Championships in Ravenna, Italy in 2024. In one of the race’s 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.
In addition, teams will be competing in a variety of other spectacular divisions including the Breast Cancer Paddlers Cup, the Accessibility Challenge Cup, a division for paddlers with a disability, their caregivers, and supporters to experience the sport, the Pride Challenge Cup, the first 2SLGBTQ+ dragon boat division in Canada, and the Youth Challenge Cup bringing together teams whose members are 13 – 17 years of age. These divisions and many more are some of the highlights of the weekend’s events.
Paddlers are coming from throughout North America including teams from Florida, Montreal, New York, Philadelphia, Toronto, Vermont, Wisconsin, and more. To date, 120 teams have registered including 67 mixed – teams that are a mix of male and female paddlers, 35 women – teams that are made up of all female paddlers, and 18 open – teams with no specific gender requirements.
In honour of the Naval Reserve celebrating 100 years of service to Canada, the festival will be welcoming several Divisions competing in the Naval Reserve Centennial Challenge. The festival will be hosting teams representing Naval Reserve Divisions from across Canada in this celebratory challenge!
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 25.
|THURSDAY, JUNE 22||FRIDAY, JUNE 23||SATURDAY, JUNE 24|
|9:30 PM DEAR ROUGE||9:30 PM TIM BAKER||9:30 PM BEDOUIN SOUNDCLASH|
|8:00 PM REBELLE||8:00 PM ALANNA STERLING||8:00 PM THE DARCYS|
|6:30 PM THE NEW HIRES||6:30 PM THE GLADSOME GENTLEMEN||6:30 PM SISTER SWIRE|
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I’m Jenna, the founder and editor of Canadian Beats. I have had a strong love for Canadian music, which started many years ago. I have a passion for promoting these talented Canadian bands and artists, and that’s how Canadian Beats came to be.
Canadian Beats has grown to become more than media, and what a journey it’s been.
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