We have been conditioned to think of giving chocolates and/or long stemmed red roses to loved ones on Valentine’s Day, both of which require us to dig deep into our wallets, as their prices soar during this time. And these traditional February 14th gifts amuse us, but for a fleeting time. Here is something else to consider for that special person or those special people in your life: the lasting gift of music.
Our romantic milestones in life are often anchored with a special song or melody. They can also be attached to events, such as attending a concert or festival, where music is the primary entertainment. The soundtrack playing during the last dance of prom night, the special song in the background during a marriage proposal, the first dance at a wedding are just a few memories where music completes the moment.
A word of advice. If these special songs have slipped from memory, do whatever it takes to remember them. This question is likely to surface on Feb. 14th: “Sweetie, what song did we first dance along to on our wedding day?” So, take heed and be ready for it. (You’re welcome)
This year, think outside the proverbial box and present a beautiful card with tickets to a concert or a music festival pass, tucked inside. It's an opportunity for a perfect date night(s); how wonderfully romantic!
Concert tickets and festival passes can be quite expensive. True, however this is not always the case. The 7th Annual Ottawa Grassroots Festival (OGF), taking place April 26-29, 2018 at Southminster United Church in Old Ottawa South, takes pride in keeping this event affordable for everyone, especially families. A festival pass is only $49, if purchased online. In comparison, a dozen long-stemmed red roses will cost between $50-$60 leading up to Valentine’s Day. Tickets can also be purchased for evening performances with Saturday night, featuring Lynn Miles with Keith Glass $30, Friday evening, featuring Sneezy Waters and His Very Fine Band $25 and the spectacular opening night of the festival, a Franco-Ontarian themed night only $20. Let’s explore this line-up further.
With twelve albums to her credit, the winner of multiple Canadian Folk Music awards (2011 English Songwriter of the Year), and a 2003 Juno award for Roots and Traditional Solo Album of the Year, Lynn Miles has certainly found her strength over time. “Lynn’s music often draws on her love of literature and poetry, but her magic as a songwriter is also in her ability to take life experiences and interpret them in a way that people relate to.” - The Tennessean
“I’m absolutely thrilled to have Lynn Miles headline our festival in 2018" says Bob Nesbitt, Founder and Festival Producer. "She most definitely is a crown jewel in Ottawa, who has been performing in this city since the 70's. She is a gifted performer and so well respected among artists, communities and her devoted fan base in Canada and internationally.” Opening for Miles, is Campbell Woods, a singer-songwriter seasoned in performing throughout the Ottawa Valley and Eastern Ontario. The evening kicks off with an address by Algonquin elder, Albert Dumont.
Sneezy Waters sang as a child in Ottawa's St. Luke's Church Choir and in the 70's in local coffee houses such as Café Le Hibou. After touring and performing in Japan and Hong-Kong, he returned home and began performing where he garnered the title of "Ottawa's first busker". He continues to perform to sold-out audiences here and across the country either solo or with His Very Fine Band consisting of Dave Bignell and Vince Halfhide – guitars; Ed Bimm – keyboards; Ann Downey – upright bass; and Peter Beaudoin – drums. They play an eclectic range of music from many genres and eras, blending jazz, blues, folk, country, rock, reggae and even African music.
“There is no shortage of amazing and talented musicians and singer/songwriters in the Ottawa area” says Bob Nesbitt. “Having Lynn Miles and Sneezy Waters and His Fine Band part of the festival in 2018 will shine a spotlight on some of Ottawa's finest artists. Announcements of the line-up on the opening night of the festival, showcasing Franco-Ontarian performers, will be released soon. It promises to be an evening rich in traditional French Canadian music and it will definitely be one of those Hallmark moments”, beams Nesbitt.
This festival values inclusivity and one can look forward to a mosaic of musicians offering rich performances that will ultimately lead to new musical discoveries. Grassroots is a unique experience, accessible and indoors with participatory workshops, sing-alongs, special kids’ activities, jam sessions, a Festival Community Choir, folk dancing, instrument building and much more. Adding to the affordability of this event, children 15 and under are free when accompanied by an adult and the daytime events on both Saturday and Sunday are FREE for everyone! The daytime workshops and performers will be announced soon. Visit the festival’s website at www.ottawagrassrootsfestival.com for more info.
The Grassroots Festival is a family-friendly gathering of folk music, dance and spoken word. This not-for-profit organization is run entirely by volunteers. If you are interested in volunteering, there are opportunities to help with pre-fest work and also during the event. Signup via the volunteer link on the festival website homepage.
Happy Valentine's Day!