Ottawa, you're in for a treat! This week, the National Arts Centre presents Ontario Scene. The festival starts Wednesday and ends on May 10. During the 12 days, there are over 90 events that will feature over 600 artists. The events will happen in over 30 venues across the Ottawa-Gatineau area. Very impressive!
Ontario Scene is the seventh event in a series of multidisciplinary festivals showcasing the work of artists (both established and emerging) from a specific region of the country. The festival will feature music, dance, theatre, visual and media arts, film, literature and culinary events.
Although the event focuses on the best of Ontario artists, there are many local acts that will be featured during the festival, including Zoo Legacy, Boyhood, Big Dick, Kalle Mattson, Nightshades and more. On Thursday, April 30, check out Next Wave: Ottawa Music Spotlight at SAW Gallery. The show will feature Roberta Bondar, the Yips, Bonnie Doon and DJ Gina Vanelli.
Ontario Scene also features many free events, including most art exhibitions as well as a Gallery Crawl.
There are so many cool events lined up for this festival; I dare you to find something that doesn't tickle your fancy. Here are a few shows I'm excited about:
Daniel Lanois and Basia Bulat with the NAC Orchestra: Sure to be an unforgettable evening! Lanois played the Ottawa Jazz Festival last summer (in the pouring rain) and gave a solid performance. His resume of musical accomplishments is impressive! Worth checking out. On her end, Basia Bulat is making waves in the national music scene as well and has played many shows in the National Capital Region lately. She's quickly becoming a favourite of many.
Cold Specks: For those of you who've never heard of Cold Specks, listen up! This musician should be on your radar! This Toronto based singer/songwriter released her second album last year. Her style of music is hard to describe but her vocals are out of this world. After one song, you'll be hooked. Take my word for it - Do not miss this show!
Shad: Although he's recently been propelled in the spotlight because of his new gig as host of popular CBC Radio One program Q, Shad's refreshing style of hip hop has been making waves in the Canadian music scene for a while now. Two years ago, the Kenya-born, Toronto-based rapper performed at the Ottawa Folkfest and delivered a great performance. Going there with absolutely no expectations, I was blown away and I've been a fan ever since. And although I'm not a fan of the Bronson Centre as a music venue, this should be a great show.
Excited to check out Ontario Scene? Couch Assassin is giving away two pairs of tickets for Shad on May 2nd. Check out our Facebook page for more details!
For a complete schedule of events, check out the Ontario Scene website.
Photo: April Verch. Credit: Parker J. Pfister