When you think of a folk festival, these may not be the names you’d expect to see at Britannia Park this weekend.
But the likes of Arrested Development, Calexico, Ramblin’ Jack Elliott and the Jim Cuddy Band, along with bands like Juno-nominated band Bahamas and Delhi 2 Dublin — which fuses Punjabi and English vocals backed with an eclectic mix of instruments — are all part of the folk festival’s new direction.
“It’s a little more varied than in the past,” said festival director Dylan Griffith of this year’s lineup.
“Ottawa already has a super-strong folk community,” said Griffith. “It’s got a very rich, very strong tradition.” Still, he’s hoping this lineup will bring a new generation of folk music lovers to the 17th annual festival, which runs Aug. 13 to 15.
Griffith combined his wish list with acts he found interesting.
“I had my eye on Arrested Development before I got the job,” he said. “They’ve been making inroads in Canadian folk music festivals in last two years, and have been met with huge success.”
Another headliner is Calexico, “One of the most interesting groups doing roots music right now,” he said. “They bring a lot of different influences and have a really cool sound. They’re very promiscuous in who they borrow from.”
Festivalgoers won’t want to miss Ramblin’ Jack Elliott, a folk legend who played with Woody Guthrie and Bob Dylan.
In addition to concerts, the festival offers daytime workshops and a chance to hear collaborations between artists.