Friday, November 12, 2010

Ottawa Bluesfest partners with Ottawa Folk Festival

The Ottawa Citizen has a front page story today reporting that the Ottawa Folk Festival has been bailed out and taken over by the Ottawa Bluesfest.

Reading the article, I surmise that the folk festival will likely move from Britannia Park and have more commercially viable headliners. It remains to be seen what that means for the rest of the artistic direction, artistic legacy and traditions of the festival (or the staffing and volunteer continuity). I guess we'll see in the coming months.

Update (Saturday, November 13): With thanks to Brian Silcoff and his OFME e-mail list, here is the press release that was issued Thursday by the Ottawa Folk Festival. As Ottawa Folk Festival board member Bob LeDrew notes in his comment,  the new arrangement is a partnership rather than a takeover. It certainly would have been helpful for me -- as a member of both the media and the Ottawa Folk Festival community -- to have received the press release on Thursday; or, at the least, to have been able to find it on the Ottawa Folk Festival  or Ottawa Bluesfest websites, both of which I checked after the news broke in yesterday's Citizen.

Pictured: Mike Regenstreif and Ramblin' Jack Elliott at the 2010 Ottawa Folk Festival (August 14, 2010)

--Mike Regenstreif


  1. Don't believe everything a headline writer writes, Mike. This is NOT a takeover. It's a partnership. I am as big a Britannia lover as anyone. But there's some serious limitations to Britannia. Transit is abysmal; last year the pedestrian paths were torn up. Para Transpo had troubles with getting access.
    And anecdotal and survey data we have at OFF suggest it "feels" "out of the way" and off the beaten path for people who don't go to the festival.

    I'm more than hopeful for OFF's future. It's up to people like you and me and the volunteers and the staff and the sponsors to keep us the festival we know and love no matter where it sits.
    Bob LeDrew (board member)

  2. The Blues Festival is being given majority control of the Folk festival's Board of Directors (4-3). That amounts to a takeover in my book.