Competition weekend brings again the crowds with three main music occasions


Escapade, Tim Horton’s Dragon Boat Competition and TD Ottawa Jazz Competition delight Ottawa music followers in various methods

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Hundreds of Ottawa music followers shook off the lingering risk of COVID-19, braved the warmth and made their technique to a pageant on the weekend, whether or not it was the throbbing digital beat at Escapade, the singalong Can-rock at Tim Horton’s Dragon Boat Competition or the abundance of extraordinary musical expertise at TD Ottawa Jazz Competition.

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With three main music festivals converging on the identical weekend, Ottawa’s pageant trade returned, not fairly as massive and strong as earlier than the pandemic, however with a lot of the identical vibrancy we missed over the past three years.

Again in its conventional headquarters at Confederation Park, the jazz pageant marked its first weekend of a 10-day, Fortieth-anniversary celebration with pleasant headlining performances by bluegrass innovators Punch Brothers on Friday, legendary Charles Lloyd Quartet on Saturday and Ottawa pageant faves Blue Rodeo on Sunday.

Attendance was robust every evening, as a number of thousand followers reclined of their folding chairs or stretched out within the grass. With a nice forecast and no signal of disruptive protesters, many people determined to point out up on the final minute, organizers mentioned, boosting the general numbers.

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Jazzfest additionally featured concert events on a separate, non-tented stage at Marion Dewar Plaza, with a free Block Social gathering through the day on Saturday and Sunday, extra performances on the Nationwide Arts Centre and a late-night jam on the Lord Elgin Lodge.

One NAC spotlight was Friday’s look by Cecile McLorin Salvant within the Azrieli Studio. Regardless of the sudden failure of the sound system late in her set, a glitch that required speedy reconfiguring, the American vocalist soared, partaking in a uniquely creative back-and-forth together with her backing musicians.

Whereas technical issues like that had been uncommon and rapidly solved, it wasn’t really easy to resolve a few of the logistical challenges of getting artists to the town. Punch Brothers, for instance, couldn’t journey with two of their members, who got here down with COVID final week, so that they recruited the acclaimed Nashville fiddler Brittany Haas to affix them on the final minute.

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Then the band’s Air Canada flight was cancelled the day earlier than departure. To get to the pageant, they needed to stand up earlier than daybreak, drive 12 hours from Iowa to Nashville, after which fly by means of Chicago and Toronto earlier than touchdown in Ottawa.

“And that was simply the primary day of the pageant,” mentioned creative director Petr Cancura, estimating that he’s already handled not less than a dozen flight delays or cancellations affecting artists. “There have been extra journey points up to now three days than we normally get in a complete pageant.”

The Punch Brothers’ efficiency, by the way in which, was unbelievable, with Haas including a stupendous texture to the glowing precision of the bluegrass-dominant sound.

On the different finish of the Rideau Canal, a bicycle trip away, 110 dragon-boat groups paddled in Mooney’s Bay and greater than 10,000 individuals confirmed up for 2 nights of free concert events staged by the Dragon Boat pageant, with Strumbellas headlining on Friday and Serena Ryder on Saturday.

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John Brooman, who’s CEO of the Dragon Boat fest, mentioned attendance was down about 30 per cent, however he was pleased with the turnout. Different dragon-boat festivals in Canada are down much more, he added, though the American occasions are again in a giant means.

“It tells us the paddling group remains to be on the market,” he mentioned, noting the constructive spirit of the weekend. “I feel what this weekend has taught us is we’ve got one thing nice right here for the group. It was nothing however constructive vibes from everyone — paddlers, followers, and distributors.”

In the meantime, 802 days after its final version, the Escapade Music Competition was the most important and loudest of the three occasions, attracting a sold-out crowd of hundreds of younger electronic-dance music followers — most dressed for the warmth briefly shorts and skimpy tops — to Lansdowne Park to listen to DJs from all over the world, together with massive names like Deadmau5, Tiesto and Martin Garrix. The music passed off on three phases over three nights, and was topped off by a fireworks show as a grand finale.

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Escapade had its largest version ever, with about 66,000 individuals in attendance over the three-day occasion, mentioned director Ali Shafaee, noting the excessive share of out-of-town festivalgoers.

About 65 per cent of the group travelled to Ottawa to attend, producing an estimated $18 million in financial affect.

Escapade and Dragon Boat will return subsequent 12 months, whereas the jazz pageant continues till July 3, with a day of free outside programming deliberate for Monday, spotlighting the music of New Orleans. Don’t miss a few of Massive Simple’s best, together with Soiled Dozen Brass Band, Cha Wa and Aurora Nealand and the Royal Roses.

Different performers on the schedule vary from the not-so-jazzy sounds of nation queens Lucinda Williams and Emmylou Harris to jazz heavyweights Kamasi Washington and the Jazz at Lincoln Centre Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis. Go to for extra particulars.

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