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Image: Debby Friday (YouTube)

DIY Spring fest announces Digital Summer lineup

By Greggory Clark on July 27, 2020



The festival’s fourth edition features Jah’kota, HTEBASIŁÉ, Polaris nominee Backxwash and more.

Ottawa’s underground music festival is set to return, albeit in an entirely digital format. In an announcement posted to YouTube today, organizers of DIY Spring 4 shared the details behind DIY Spring: Digital Summer.

Taking place from August 3 to September 3, the program will feature a mix of exclusive performances and new works. It’s going down exclusively on YouTube and IGTV (@diy_spring) so your pass to this year’s festival is two clicks away: follow and subscribe.

“This year, we made the choice to transform our physical festival into a digital format,“ says festival director Elsa Mirzaei. “While we are saddened that we can’t gather in person this year, it’s important to us that we continue to support underground artists in the Ottawa community and beyond.”

In spite of the circumstances, the festival team is optimistic about the shift to digital that has been made necessary by the pandemic.

“We are excited to present our thoughtfully curated lineup in a free online format that makes space for our different realities, in a way that is slow, accessible, and meaningful during these hyper-digital times.”

There are Girls+ Rock Ottawa showcases throughout the month, as well as DIY Spring’s virtual rap cypher featuring Paula C, Babe Ruth, SeiiizMikk, Zim, and Eyeda Sophia, which will drop at an unspecified time. If it’s not clear by now, the one-two punch of follow and subscribe is essential for keeping up with the fest! Some DIY Spring material is going to drop seemingly from thin air at a time when the artists are feeling it.

Jah’kota opening the festival on August 3 is set in stone, however, many performances will occur spontaneously. “It’s pretty go with the flow of whomever sends their projects first,” says Mirzaei.

In addition to music programming, DIY Spring will present the live discussion panel A Look Into: The Intersections of Art, Current Events, and Accountability, co-hosted by Full Femme and BabyPink Collective on August 30 at 3pm. Panelists include Kimberly Sunstrum, Naïka Champaïgne, and more to be announced.

The inaugural 2016 event, which drew a few hundred listeners to shows at Zaphod’s and Pressed, was actually intended as a one-off event, said Mirzaei in this 2019 interview with Apt613. DIY Spring started as a collaborative project between local art collectives and concert promoters Debaser and Babely Shades. Since 2016, DIY Spring has featured an array of Black, Indigenous and racialized artists working hard to strengthen the local music scene.

The lineup

DIY Spring: Digital Summer takes place from August 3 to September 3, 2020. Visit for the complete lineup and schedule. Subscribe on YouTube for notifications and follow @diy_spring on Twitter and Instagram for updates.