If it isn’t Opera under the Stars, then it’s Jazz in the Park, or a rock concert at the beach.

Every weekend there is a festival happening somewhere in Ottawa.


This weekend, the National Capital Commission and the National Arts Centre are hosting Orchestras in the Park, while the Ottawa Chamber Music Society (OCMS) opens its annual Chamberfest.

The crowds will likely not be so big as Bluesfest, nor as loud as FIFA U-20 World Cup spectators, nor as frenetic as the Hope Beach Volleyball Summerfest (all three events wrapped up here last weekend) but it won’t be due to fatigue.

“It’s a very different audience,” said Frances Phillips with the OCMS. “We have a very loyal following. There are people who carve out their holidays in order to attend the chamber music festival.”

Barbara Stacey, executive director of Ottawa Festivals, said the pure variety of Ottawa’s festivals make the summer season so exciting.

“It’s strong and varied and they appeal to different audiences. It just gives residents and visitors something to do all through the summer, as long as we have great weather to cooperate.”

Since mid-April, there’s been a festival or large event somewhere in Ottawa every weekend, and the trend will continue into early October, said Stacey. In August, Greek Fest, the Super Ex, the Lumiere Festival, Folkfest and Pride Week will all draw eclectic crowds, she said.

For the next two weeks, though, chamber music will be the soundtrack for the capital. The unofficial theme for this year’s festival is a Musical Tour of the World, said Phillips. Nearly 300 performers from around the world will be in Ottawa to celebrate their music.

“You often hear musicians talking about the special camaraderie around festivals and the buzz they get from the audience,” said John Frecker, executive director, OCMS. “There’s no doubt the festival-goers become part of the magic.”