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Reggae fest highlights burgeoning hometown talent

Though Ottawa-based reggae/rock band Loudlove have played all over North America, drummer Dan Loach says there's something special about playing gigs athome.

They've played all over North America and recently returned from playing the South by Southwest festival in Texas, but to Loudlove drummer Dan Loach, there's something to be said about playing gigs at home.

The Ottawa reggae/rock band will be playing at HOPE Volleyball SummerFest, Cisco Ottawa Bluesfest, and the Ottawa Reggae Festival this year.

"It's nice that we don't have to travel to Toronto or the east coast to play at a good (venue)," said Loach.

That's the idea behind the second annual Ottawa Reggae Festival, said festival director Danielle Vicha.

Ottawa's music scene has really grown, said Vicha at the festival's launch Wednesday. "People are going to shows more, artists are coming here and there are more venues for artists."

While there are many music festivals in Ottawa, this one fills what is mostly an untapped niche, she said. "Reggae music is so universal. It's like rock and roll — it has universal appeal."

More than 30,000 people from as far as Montreal, Toronto and New York are expected to attend the festival, which was planned as a one-day event but grew to two in its first year. The 2009 event runs three days, from August 21 to 23 at LeBreton Flats.

Although the festival includes national and international acts like Shaggy; Kardinal Offishall, one of the biggest hip-hop acts in Canada; dancehall artist Baby Cham and Jamaican reggae singer Tanya Stephens, 75 per cent of the festival's acts are Canadian, said Vicha, including Ottawa artists Diction and Cris Quammie.

"We want to give people a chance to see Canadian talent," said Vicha, "and to promote culture, arts and diversity in Ottawa."

 
 
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