As the days get warmer the festival scene in Ottawa starts to heat up. This weekend will have launches of the Fringe, the Ottawa Jazz Festival and the Ottawa Explosion Weekend, and our new favourite upstart Arboretum is adding themselves to a busy a weekend line-up.
The team at Arboretum has a reputation for doing things right and their event this Friday, Holy Smokes, looks to build on that reputation. They have partnered with one of Canada’s most famous and well-respected underground music series – Wavelength from Toronto – to present a special show as part of Ottawa Explosion.
According to Jonny Bunce, the organizer of Wavelength, they have “a 13+ year track record of championing new and emerging talent through our music series and our zine-turned-blog.” Adding that “roughly 1,500 bands and artists have participated in Wavelength over the years. Some of the better known names include: Broken Social Scene, the Arcade Fire, the Constantines, Feist, Fucked Up, Holy Fuck, The Hidden Cameras, Crystal Castles, Tokyo Police Club, Braids, Austra, METZ and Grimes.”
“I played my first Wavelength back in 2004, and have been a huge fan of what they’ve done for Toronto’s underground. In a lot of ways, they’re a perfect amalgam of what Explosion and Arboretum are trying to do in Ottawa,” said Rolf Klausener, co-director of Aboretum. “It was crazy serendipity that Wavelength asked us to present their curated road show when they did. This collaborative program we’re presenting kind of sums up the mantra that I’m sure all three of us whisper to ourselves from time to time, on those long, seemingly thankless nights of postering: There are no rules, so let’s party.”
The night is an Ontario talent buffet, bringing new talent from Toronto to an Ottawa audience, while highlighting some great locals. The night will feature Most People (Toronto), The Yips (Ottawa), Fresh Snow (Toronto) and Del Bel (Guelph/Toronto), along with a later-night dance party with DJ Matty McGovern (Shameless / Visions / Silk) and DJ Pat Johnson (Night Moves / Silkken Laumann).
The venue for the event seems like it should be interesting. St. Alban’s Church is reportedly the City’s oldest surviving Church, recently known for a battle with its own congregation over conflicting views on same-sex marriage.
“I think an event like the Holy Smokes Party really embodies the mutual support we feel is at the heart of our community. In addition to this crazy collab between three niche festivals, we’re also presenting this showcase in a venue that is being very progressive, open, and community minded,” said Stephanie Power, co-director of Arboretum. “St. Alban’s has emerged as an ally and a beautiful alternative space. We really want to put on a good, crazy, mind-torching, event for people. Plus, it’s affording us the opportunity to collaborate with festivals who we feel contribute to the fabric of their cities in a positive way.”
They’ve licensed the venue and are promising “you a night of genre-torching live music and an incendiary party,” according to a press release from the Arboretum team.
Sounds about right for a Friday in Ottawa.
Doors open at 8pm, music starts at 9pm, DJs are until late. Tickets are 8 bucks or 5 after midnight. You can find more info at the Arboretum festival website.