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Dance to your own ukulele at folk fest

Returning to Britannia Park this August, the 15th annual Ottawa Folk Festival has more to offer than music.


Returning to Britannia Park this August, the 15th annual Ottawa Folk Festival has more to offer than music.


In addition to more than 60 musical acts, this year’s festival, to be held from Aug. 14-17, features dancers, poets, visual artists and artisans, as well as new features, including a dance tent and a build-your-own ukulele workshop.


“As far as the lineup goes, it’s eclectic, and enjoyable and intended to create interaction between artists and the audience and the artists themselves,” said Ottawa Folk Festival artistic director Chris White at yesterday’s event launch.


Musical headliners include indie rockers Broken Social Scene, Nashville dobro player Jerry Douglas, singers Rufus Wainwright, Country Joe McDonald and Sarah Harmer and guitarists Don Ross, Roxanne Potvin, Colin Linden, Doug Cox and Andy McKee.


Growing every year, this year’s four-day festival is expected to see upwards of 6,000 attendees per day, said White.


“We’re staying true to our roots and adding a few new things as well,” said the festival’s executive director Tamara Kater.


New this year with a sprung-wood dance floor, the 8,000 square-foot dance tent is a place where festivalgoers can dance to bands like The Sadies, The Carolina Chocolate Drops, Ball and Chain, Roxanne Potvin and Donna the Buffalo.


The Uke Can Build It build-your-own ukulele project will allow children to build and decorate their own ukulele and learn some basic playing techniques.


Getting children more involved is one of the goals this year, said Kater.


Through special ticket pricing, the festival is more accessible to youth than ever, she said.
Volunteer coordinator Julia Adam said she was “blown away” by how much work is done by the volunteers.


“I’m in love with the Ottawa Folk Festival,” said folk musician and singer Ana Miura, who will be featured at this year’s festival.


“It’s such a welcoming community to be in. There’s something to appeal to everyone. There’s such a variety of groups performing.”