If you’re tapped into the local music scene at all, you’ve probably seen Marc Charron perform at some point.

After all, the 35-year-old musician averages between 180 and 200 shows per year, many of them in Ottawa, which he calls home whenever he’s not on the road.

But when the guitarist, singer and songwriter hits the Blacksheep stage at Cisco Ottawa Bluesfest as a part of rock band The Cheap Seats tomorrow night, you might be surprised.

He usually performs cover songs at his gigs at bars and pubs, but come tomorrow, festivalgoers will be treated to some of the versatile artist’s original music.

Charron is among 50 to 60 local acts featured at Bluesfest this year. Local talent makes up about one-fifth of the roster, which is rare in music festivals, especially one of Bluesfest’s calibre, said festival spokesman AJ Sauve.

“And there’s not one blip in the degree of excellence,” Sauve said. “It’s always been a source of pride for Ottawa Bluesfest, the vast talent available in Ottawa.”

Charron, who grew up in Kanata, got his start in music as a young teen.

“My dad was a guitar player and he always wanted to teach me, but I didn’t want to learn,” said Charron.

“He died when I was 13 years old. The day after he died, I started playing.”

He hit the road at 18, busking his way across the country. Today, he plays hundreds of shows a year and opens for bands like The Dears, Pilot, The Stills and Xavier Rudd.

This year marks Charron’s fourth time at Bluesfest. Besides being “thrilled to be playing with very accomplished musicians,” Charron said he loves Bluesfest.

“I book my tours around the festival,” he said. “We get treated like rock stars at Bluesfest. Until you play shows like this, you don’t realize how good it is. And you get to meet such incredible people.

“This festival is definitely a hub for Ottawa musicians,” he said.

It’s win-win for the festival and the artists, Sauve said. In addition to being “a wonderful networking opportunity for musicians,” having Bluesfest on their resumés “gives them a lot of cachet,” he said.

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