Skip To Content

ARBORETUM wants to put the nature back into Ottawa’s music festival scene

By Ryan Saxby Hill on June 8, 2012

When Rolf Klausener of the Ottawa band The Acorn looked at the festivals in Ottawa’s crowded summer lineup, he noticed that there was one important element missing. “We realized that there was a lack of camping inclusive festivals in the city” said Klausener, explaining why he and his co-founder Marlene Power set about to create a music festival in Ottawa that welcomed campers. Think of the Hillside Festival in Guelph or the Wolf Island Music Festival, where staying on site and sharing that experience is part of the package.

“The dream location would be one that reflects the social and natural history of the region” said Klausener, adding “something that is heavily forested, has a body of water, accessible swimming, where people would really connect with their environment.”

In a city known for it’s green spaces and relationship with the natural environment, this sounds like a winner.

With this as motivation, Klausener and Power are launching ARBORETUM, a music and arts festival intended to grow into their vision for a marquee camping-inclusive festival. This year’s event will be held at the Ottawa Jail Hostel (75 Nicholas Street) and Arts Court (1 Daly Street) on September 15, 2012, with a line-up of acts featuring Ohbijou, Michael Feuerstack (from Snailhouse), Andrew Vincent and a list of acts that reads as a who’s who of the local music scene. You can see the full line up here.
“A lot of the festivals that I really love and really cherish, have almost exclusively local food” said Klausener, explaining how the event has gown to encompass leaders from Ottawa’s growing local food scene. The Manx Pub is involved, as well as Kichissippi Beer, the Hintonburg Public House and Norman Hardie Wines. The local food community has also supported the festival with fundraising incentives for those who donate to the get things off the ground. For donations of $1000, you can choose from a dinner cooked by Steve Milton of Murray Street or Charlotte Langly of Tononto’s Cafe Belong, or you and 99 friends can have a private keg party hosted by the folks at Kichissippi. In other news… I’m seeking 99 friends.
It’s an interesting addition to Ottawa’s quickly expanding festival scene, but ARBORETUM’s passionate organizers and community spirit should make for a great event. I am looking forward to spending the night under the stars with local Ottawa music fans in the not so distant future.