A definitive guide to Ottawa’s many summer festivals

Eighteen of the hottest tickets this summer, including Shakespeare, Serena Ryder, Ja Rule, an Indigenous pow wow competition, and Greek food

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Italian Week Ottawa

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When: June 9-19

Where: Mainly Preston Street, some other venues

What: Range of music, food, dance, art, film, street party, Ferrari display, bike races, soccer games. Free, some ticketed events.

Information: italianweekottawa.ca

Ottawa Writers Festival

When: June 14-July 13

Where: Various locations and virtual

What: The festival offers a mix of events – live online, replays, streamed, in person and podcasts. Upcoming In-person appearances include talks by authors Sarah Polley and Kathy Reichs.

Information: writersfestival.org

Ottawa Fringe Festival

When: June 16-26

Where: Arts Court and downtown venues

What: Indie theater and performances, from drama to comedy, cabaret, improv and dance, most shows only an hour. Ticketed, some free events.

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Information: ottawafringe.com

Torchlight Shakespeare

When: June 20-Aug. 13

Where: Parks around Ottawa

What: A Company of Fools presents fun, accessible Shakespeare in the park, with The Tempest. Pay what you can.

Information: fools.ca

Stephanie Sarazin is Artistic, Marketing and Client Relations Director of Indigenous Experiences at Madahoki Farm, which will host the Summer Solstice Indigenous Festival in 2022.
Stephanie Sarazin is Artistic, Marketing and Client Relations Director of Indigenous Experiences at Madahoki Farm, which will host the Summer Solstice Indigenous Festival in 2022. Photo by Tony Caldwell /post media

Summer Solstice Indigenous Festival

When: June 21-26

Where: Madahok Farm, 4420 West Hunt Club Road

What: Celebration of Indigenous arts, culture and heritage, including pow wow competitions, performances, craft and culinary workshops. Free, advance registration required

Information: summersolsticefestivals.ca

Tim Hortons Ottawa Dragon Boat Festival

When: June 24-26

Where: Mooney’s Bay

What: Dragon boat races, kids activities, concerts, including headliners The Strumbellas and Serena Ryder. Free.

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Information: dragonboat.net

Ottawa Jazz Festival

When: June 24-July 3

Where: Confederation Park, Ottawa City Hall’s Marion Dewar Plaza, NAC and other locations

What: Various genres, with headliners including Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis, Kerry Washington, Buddy Guy, Blue Rodeo, Holy Cole, Blind Boys of Alabama, Emmylou Harris, Dirty Dozen Brass Band. Ticketed. Some free shows, including on Canada Day.

Information: ottawajazzfestival.com

Escape Music Festival

When: June 24-26

Where: TD Place, Lansdowne Park, 1015 Bank St.

What: Electronic dance music festival. Sold out.

Information: escapedemf.com

Music and Beyond

When: July 4-17

Where: Various venues, virtual

What: Focus on classical music, including orchestras, bands, choirs, recitals, small ensembles, plus world music and “beyond” events that link music with other art forms and cultural disciplines.

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Information: musicandbeyond.ca

Fans enjoyed the Barenaked Ladies at Bluesfest last summer.
Fans enjoyed the Barenaked Ladies at Bluesfest last summer. Photo by Errol McGihon /post media

RBC Bluesfest

When: July 7-17

Where: LeBreton Flats

What: Various genres, headliners include Sarah McLachlan, Jack Johnson, Luke Combs, Alanis Morissette, Marshmello, Alexisonfire, Luke Bryan, Rage Against the Machine, Ja Rule, The National.

Information: ottawabluesfest.ca

Ottawa Lebanese Festival

When: July 13-17

Where: St. Elias Center, 750 Ridgewood Ave.

What: Food, entertainment, culture, midway

Information: ottawalebanesefestival.com

HOPE Volleyball Summerfest

When: July 15-16

Where: Mooney’s Bay beach, 3128 Riverside Drive

What: Volleyball tournament, charity fundraiser, concerts with headliners July Talk and Headstones

Information: https://www.hopehelps.com/

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Ottawa Chamber Festival

When: July 21-Aug. 4

Where: Various locations

What: Chamber music, small ensembles, a mix of in-person concerts indoors, outdoors and live-streamed.

Information: chamberfest.com

Ottawa Asian Fest

When: July 22-24

Where: Sparks Street

What: Night market, street food, dancers, musicians, performers

Information: https://ottawaasianfest.com/

Brent and Maya McCoy, Her Majesty's Secret Circus, perform as Agents Honeymoon and Butterfly on Sparks St. as part of the 2017 Ottawa Buskerfest.
Brent and Maya McCoy, Her Majesty’s Secret Circus, perform as Agents Honeymoon and Butterfly on Sparks St. as part of the 2017 Ottawa Buskerfest. Photo by Darren Brown /post media

Ottawa International Busker Fest

When: July 29- Aug. 1

Where: Sparks Street

What: Family-friendly buskers and other performers, aerial and circus show, fire show, plus late-night burlesque. Free.

Information: https://www.sparkslive.com/buskerfest

Ottawa Greek Festival

When: Aug 5-7, Aug 12-15

Where: 1315 Prince of Wales Drive and virtual

What: Food, performances, dancing

Information: http://www.ottawagreekfest.com/

House of Paint

When: Aug 19-21

Where: Under the Bronson Street Bridge

What: Hip-hop festival with graffiti mural painting, break dancing battles, DJs, MCs, virtual poetry slam. Free

Information: https://houseofpaint.ca/

Capital Pride

When: Aug 21-28

Where: Various locations

What: Events include parade, street festival, speakers, music, art, drag shows, community events

Information: capitalpride.ca

For more information on festivals: https://www.ottawafestivals.ca/calendar/

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