The first night of CityFolk Festival in Ottawa was Wednesday, and it went off without a hitch. With stylings from the likes of Kaija, Ruth B, Allan Rayman and Post Malone, there was a little something for everyone.

Kaija performs at the 2017 CityFolk festival / photo: Renée Doiron

Wednesday night at CityFolk drew two very different crowds of people to Lansdowne park. The earlier shows drew in the families, kids in tow, to listen to Canadian singer-songwriter Ruth B perform “Lost Boy”, whereas the late show with Post Malone, had a lot of teens waiting to sing “Congratulations”.

Ruth B performs at the 2017 CityFolk festival / photo: Renée Doiron

When I arrived last night, I made it just in time to catch Ruth B take to the City Stage at Lansdowne. She put on a great set full of songs that were easy to listen to and had everybody in the crowd swaying to the beat. It was still early in the night and many people were still arriving. She had the perfect sound to visit with friends and enjoy a drink with her smooth, jazzy voice in the background.

As soon as Ruth introduced “Lost Boy” as having been inspired by her favourite childhood character, the crowd went wild! I have never heard that many high-pierced screams from all the little ones! I was thoroughly impressed by Ruth’s performance of “Lost Boy”, it could have been straight off the radio. She was sitting at the piano, playing and singing simultaneously and it was flawless! Her delivery was incredible.

Ruth B performs at the 2017 CityFolk festival / photo: Renée Doiron

Ruth finished her set with one of her only upbeat songs, “Superficial Love”. Overall, I really enjoyed Ruth’s set. She is very comfortable on stage, interacts with the crowd, and is great role model for her younger fans – encouraging them to “embrace their differences” and to truly be themselves. After her set, all of her younger fans were plastered against the fence, hoping to catch a glimpse of the rising star.

After Ruth, alternative singer and Toronto native Allan Rayman took to the stage. His style could not have been more different! With his jerky dance moves and indy vocals he certainly was a good bridge between the two very different acts of Ruth B and Post Malone.

Allan Rayman performs at the 2017 CityFolk festival / photo: Renée Doiron

Rayman could have been a lot more organized for his set Wednesday night. He was scheduled to perform for an hour, and was on stage barely 30 minutes. He seemed to decide which songs were to be played next in the moment and had his band playing catch up the whole time. He even said that he was sick from falling in a lake while enjoying camping a little too much.

I believe that Rayman could have put on a great show. His extremely unique sound, coupled with his quirky stage presence was a lot of fun to see! I think that Rayman’s band deserves commending! They kept up with his antics and made the performance as seamless as possible.

Post Malone headlines night#1 at the 2017 CityFolk festival / photo: Renée Doiron

Due to Rayman’s finishing a half an hour early, that left an hour for fans to (im)patiently await Post Malone to take the stage! Every time anyone would walk on stage, the crowd went wild! Pushing in to be as close as possible to this incredible artist! It gave me crazy Lil Yachty and Migos at bluesfest flashbacks.

To introduce the next act, one of Live 88.5 DJ’s (a radio station in Ottawa) jumped on stage, small packets of Cheetos in hand. He claimed that he knew everyone would have the munchies after what they’d been up to all night. The anticipation of the crowd was contagious and when Malone’s DJ/crowd pumper got on stage the roar was deafening.

After a couple of different hits spun by his DJ, Malone finally came bouncing out on stage. He came out ready to have fun and his laissez-faire, whatever happens – happens attitude suited his music style perfectly. This is an artist who can go from performing heavy rap, to casual hip-hop, throw in a little acoustic country and still give us that soulful R&B feel. No one genre can fit his style and I think that is part of what makes him so great.

Post Malone headlines night#1 at the 2017 CityFolk festival / photo: Renée Doiron

Malone was interactive with the audience, chatting with people, sharing different things, and even discouraging fighting. When a fight broke out in the crowd he stopped and said “Nobody fights at a Post Malone concert. So that better be a tickle fight – ouuu, eeeh”. This joking approach to discouraging the young boys was perfect! And a complete breath of fresh air. And it was a great way from keeping that particular fight from escalating. The boys involved felt embarrassed enough to separate and go their separate ways.

Malone had a perfect blend of all his styles and his personality came through both in his music and in his introductions to his songs. Before launching into “Too Young”, he took a moment to recognize all the great artists that we have lost and to take a moment and tell them to “rest in peace”. Although a little unconventional, the crowd loved it and hung on his every word.

Malone was a treat to enjoy, and I would definitely recommend catching one of his live performances – although maybe in the back. Where there are less people pressed against one another, and the smell of recreational drugs isn’t quite as strong.

Night 2 of CityFolk continues today! Check out the schedule here.