In it’s 35th year, the Ottawa Dragon Boat festival is an attraction for outdoor music revellers, beach enthusiasts and competitive dragonboat racers. The best part – it’s free. So, for anybody that may have missed it this year, put it on your calendar for next year as a must see event!

Here is what you may have missed-

Day One

The Elwins: A great new band from Keswick, ON with a lot of fun, upbeat songs. They have a great stage presence and one of the best moustaches I have ever seen. Find them here-

Elwins, Ottawa Dragon Boat Festival 2017. Photo by Dale Sinclair

Said the Whale: I first seen Said the Whale a number of years back at the Folk on the Rocks festival in Yellowknife, NT. They were very new back then with a very unique and interesting sound. With a bit of pop mixed with some west coast Canadian folk. Their style has remained much the same and I was excited to see them again. Although, I was a bit disappointed hearing them this year as I don’t think the venue fit their music very well. It seemed muted and not as fun as I recall, but we all have our bad days, so don’t let this stop you from giving them a listen. Find them here-

Said the Whale, Ottawa Dragon Boat Festival 2017. Photo by Dale Sinclair

The Sheepdogs: As expected. Hailing from Saskatchewan, these guys have gained popularity with their bluesy filled, rock/folk music and their country stylin’ appearance. It’s the type of music you want to hear loud at any outdoor (or indoor) music festival. The Sheepdogs filled the park with more Dragonboat festival goers than any other band this past weekend. Find them here-

The Sheepdogs, Ottawa Dragon Boat Festival 2017. Photo by Dale Sinclair

Day Two

Kalle Mattson: Not to be outdone by the cool temps and overcast, Kalle had some nice chill tunes to help bring in the crowd for the upcoming acts. His mellow tunes encouraged folks to pull up a piece of lawn and crack open that first cold one. Find Kalle here-

Kalle Mattson, Ottawa Dragon Boat Festival 2017. Photo by Dale Sinclair

The Zolas: In some cases, a similar sound to Said the Whale, and 1 of several Vancouver based bands attending the Dragon Boat festival this year. The Zolas are fun and clearly love being in front of a crowd. I would be happy to see them again. Find the Zolas here-

The Zolas, Ottawa Dragon Boat Festival 2017. Photo by Dale Sinclair

Dear Rouge: Danielle from Dear Rouge is like Steve Tyler meets Joan Jet. From the moment she hit the stage, it was all about the performance. I can’t wait to see where Drew and Danielle McTaggert go – they can only get bigger. Great modern rock sound – don’t miss Dear Rouge!

Dear Rouge, Ottawa Dragon Boat Festival 2017. Photo by Dale Sinclair

Day Three

Twin Flames: A blend of modern folk and indigenous vibes. Twin Flames carry an amazing message of harmony and love for their community and the strong desire of expanding that community to reach every one that listens to their music. They call Ottawa home and like many of us that live in Canada, have a varied background of many different cultures. The strength of their values and desire to teach through their music should be embraced. You can find them here-

Twin Flames, Ottawa Dragon Boat Festival 2017. Photo by Dale Sinclair

Kasador: What I would consider Canadian indie rock – if there was a poster, they would be on it. A blend of mellow guitar, great vocals and a fun beat. Fresh from Kingston, On and they only got together in 2015 – I look forward to more of their fine tunes.  The only disappointing bit was that the upcoming bands clearly had more gear than the stage could handle so Kasador was smushed over to one side of the stage. They still made the most of it and did an outstanding performance. Find them here-

Kasador, Ottawa Dragon Boat Festival 2017. Photo by Dale Sinclair

The Darcy’s: I am still not sure what to make of these guys. A two piece beach party with a lot of gear – this consisted of both a giant neon sign, a giant plastic lit palm tree and whatever gear you need to have a functioning air puppet on the stage. Yah, you know those things you see in front of used car lots waving around and popping up every 30 seconds… Props aside, they played some good tunes to welcome the sunshine back after a brief down pouring of rain. And here I have to give credit to the local Ottawa radio station, Live 88.5, for distributing some much needed rain ponchos. You can find more The Darcy’s here-

Darcy’s, Ottawa Dragon Boat Festival 2017. Photo by Dale Sinclair

Half Moon Run: This band has really put a lot of thought into their light show. There was barely a moment when the stage was not dynamically changing through the effects of their lights – it was quite a feat. The crowd was not quite as big as it was for the Sheepdogs, but I think that may have been due to the risk of rain. And to be fair, it did rain earlier. I think their music was good, but I was memorized by the lights for most of the show – well… I was also trying to take pictures. Crazy light shows and photography don’t always mix, but when you do it right, you can get some pretty awesome shots. I would shoot performances like this all the time if I could. Find them here-

Half Moon Run, Ottawa Dragon Boat Festival 2017. Photo by Dale Sinclair

That wraps up another year of music at the Ottawa Dragon Boat Festival.

All of the photos you see in this article were taken by me and of course, you can me find me here on the interwebs- or on Facebook- @dalesinclairphoto. Please take a moment and check out the below gallery containing more pics of Ottawa Dragon Boat festival 2017.