Maybe it was Elaina Martin’s humorous comments, her ability to stick to a timetable or her promise of beer tasting but, whatever it was, Westfest’s launch on Friday 13 April was a fab place to be.
Martin is the founder, producer and director of the annual festival, now in its ninth year. Martin is larger than life and her enthusiasm, and obvious dedication to the festival, has made Westfest into Ottawa’s premier multi-disciplinary arts event.
For three days from Friday, 8 June to Sunday 10 June, Westboro will turn into a musical haven featuring local and national artists. The days will be jam-packed with interesting and diverse performances from gospel, folk and rock music to slam poetry by local youth.
The festival’s opening night headliners are the Hidden Cameras whose performance kick starts their first Canadian tour since 2009. On Saturday, the Domicile stage opens late morning and performers will keep the audience rocking until Steven Page takes the stage. Page, who co-founded and performed with the Barenaked Ladies for 20 years, comes to Westfest on the heels of his first solo album, Page One. Sunday, as Westfest fans know, features local artists and this year’s lineup includes Tara Holloway, Ty Hall and Andrea Simms-Karp. Canadian Country Rock band The Cooper Brothers will wrap up the evening – and festival – with 70s and 80s country rock tunes.
Although music is the main draw for the festival, there will be performances from spoken word artists on the main stage while storytellers will weave their tales at the Juniper Kitchen and Wine Bar.
And then, of course, there is the beer.
This year, the Clocktower Brew Company has brewed a special beer to celebrate the three days of WestFest. The beer is called WestBrew, and it promises to be a local star that can be found easily hanging out at the Domicile Stage bar.