A common saying you’ll hear frequently when living in Ottawa is that it is the city that fun forgot. I’d like to make a case for the exact opposite and all you have to do is take a look at the summer festival season.

So Canada’s capital city, home of the Ottawa Senators and the Grey Cup winning Redblacks, home of the world’s longest skating rink on the Rideau Canal but also the Festival capital of Canada.

I’ll give you a minute to let that sink in…the Ottawa region has more festivals, every year, than any other city in Canada. Here we are almost in July and the festival season is already well underway and won’t end until after the Grey Cup is won in November. This isn’t a one off simply because it’s Canada’s 150th…Ottawa has most of these festivals every single year, the Grey Cup being the only non-annual event.

So let’s take a look at the events that await and some of the artists that will take to the stage at an event in Ottawa this summer.

Mountain Man Music Festival

One Bad Son Performs in Toronto photo by Angel Marchini

Firstly, for us, the Ottawa Festival season kicked off with this past weekend’s Mountain Man Music Festival.

The festival takes place at one of the region’s most scenic venues just west of the city in Calabogie at Calabogie Peaks resort. Feature performers this year include Kingston’s Glorious Sons and Saskatoon’s One Bad Son. For more information or tickets visit http://www.mountainmanfestival.com/

Stay tuned for full coverage from our Laura Collins coming up this week.

Tim Horton’s Ottawa Dragon Boat Festival

The Sheepdogs perform at the Canadian Tire Centre – photo by Dave DiUbaldo

One of Ottawa’s premiere free events kicks off mid-week this week as Dragon boat racers from across North America will descend on Mooney’s Bay for the annual Tim Horton’s Ottawa Dragon Boat Festival.

The event is free for all to attend with races running throughout the day and concerts lighting up the night. This year’s lineup features the Sheepdogs, Dear Rouge, Said the Whale and more.

TD Ottawa Jazz Festival
Serena Ryder

CBC Music Fest: Serena Ryder. May 2017. Photo by Dale Sinclair

Also kicking off on Thursday evening is the TD Ottawa Jazz Festival. One of the marquee events in Ottawa every year the TD Ottawa Jazz Festival welcomes artists from around the world and this year features world-class headliners Kenny Rogers, Serena Ryder, Feist, Joss Stone and many more. For tickets visit www.ottawajazzfestival.com

Montebello Rockfest
Wu-Tang Clan Riot Fest 2015

Wu-Tang Clan Riot Fest 2015 photo by Trish Cassling for Sound Check Entertainment

Also kicking off next weekend is another first for us, officially this year (we’ve covered it in the past but via fans who paid writing reviews), will be Montebello Rockfest. This event is going into it’s 12th year and this year features Rammstein, The Offspring, Wu Tang Clan, Queens of the Stone Age, Iggy Pop, Megadeth and more. Rockfest runs from June 22-25 in Montebello, Quebec and at last check advanced tickets were 90% sold out. For tickets and more visit www.montebellorockfest.com

Canada 150 – Experience Canada Day in Ottawa
Walk Off the Earth - Photo by Wornleathermedia

Walk Off the Earth performs in Banff, AB in June, 2017 – Photo by Wornleathermedia

Canada Day – Parliament Hill

Ottawa Jazz festival leads straight into the most anticipated event of 2017, Canada Day in Ottawa. This event takes place annually in front of Parliament Hill but 2017 is Canada’s 150th Birthday so the Canada Day celebrations will be stretched over 3 days and will feature some of Canada’s top performers including Dean Brody, Alesia Cara, Serena Ryder, Walk off the Earth and more.

Canada Day – Major’s Hill Park

CBC Music Fest: Ruth B. May 2017. Photo by Dale Sinclair

A secondary stage will be setup in Major’s Hill Park and will feature performances by JUNO Award Winner Ruth B., Mother Mother and Laurence Nerbonne starting at 6:15pm on Canada Day.

July 2 – Parliament Hill – WE Day

Jacob Hoggard of Hedley – Photo by Dave DiUbaldo of Worn Leather Media

WE Day returns to Ottawa for a special event on July 2 featuring special performances and appearances by the Barenaked Ladies, Hedley, Alanis Morrissette, Kardinal Offishall, Chris Hadfield and more.

Various communities in Ottawa will host their own Canada Day celebrations, watch for a separate post on where you can celebrate Canada Day if the massive crowds of Parliament Hill aren’t right for you.

RBC Ottawa Bluesfest

Hugh Dillon of the Headstones salutes the crowd at Barrymore’s in Ottawa November 25 photo by Dave Di Ubaldo

When it comes to music festivals in Ottawa one event continues to stand out amongst the crowd and that event is RBC Bluesfest. Ranked by Billboard Magazine as one of the TOP 10 most successful outdoor music festivals in the world! This summer’s event runs July 6 to July 16 and features Toby Keith, The Headstones, MUSE, Pink!, Tim Hicks, Tom Petty and many more.

Tim Hicks at The 2017 Country Music Association of Ontario Awards Photo: Kayla Winkworth

If you’ve never been to RBC Bluesfest event is one that must be experienced and I’m willing to bet you won’t be able to just go once, we will be covering the event for our 5th straight year this summer. It’s by far one of our favorite events of the summer every year. www.ottawabluesfest.ca

HOPE Volleyball
The Strumbellas at Bronson Centre by Scott Martin Visuals 2

The Strumbellas perform at the Bronson Centre for JUNOfest 2017. Photo credit: Scott Martin Visuals

HOPE (Helping Other People Everywhere) was started 35 years ago by Fred Logan and his friends as part of a group of events, inspired by Terry Fox, whose sole purpose was to give back to the Ottawa Community. What was a small group of teams has grown into the World’s Largest One Day Volleyball Tournament, that has continued to support Ottawa’s local charities. This summer’s HOPE Volleyball concert will feature performances by JUNO Award winners The Strumbellas, USS and Lowest of the Low at Mooney’s Bay on July 15. For full details and tickets visit: www.hopehelps.com

Kemptville LIVE!

Dwight Yoakam photo credit: Emily Joyce

Going into it’s third year Kemptville LIVE! 2017 will feature a diverse lineup of some of yesterday’s biggest stars of country and classic rock worlds. This summer’s event will feature headliners David Wilcox, Dwight Yoakam, Burton Cummings and Gordon Lightfoot. Kemptville Live runs July 20 – 23 in Kemptville, ON.

CityFOLK Festival

Jack Johnson at Budweiser Stage in Toronto. Photo by Laura Collins.

As summer fades into fall, the event formerly known as Ottawa Folk festival, CityFolk Festival will head into it’s third straight year on the great lawn at TD Place at Lansdowne Park. This year’s lineup features Jack Johnson, Amanda Marshall, Fred Penner and many more. What makes CityFOLK even more special is Marvest. Marvest is a festival within the festival featuring local performers on various stages in and around the city. Stay tuned, we expect the 2017 Marvest lineup to be announced later this summer.

Add to the list above events such as GlowFair, Ottawa Children’s Festival, Escapade Music Festival and more; now Ottawa is starting to look less and less like a city that fun forgot.

The fun is here and venues across the city are looking forward to seeing you, we will be there…will you?

For more information on Ottawa Festivals visit www.ottawafestivals.ca