Happy Monday morning, everyone!
It’s an exciting time of year: we’re now into spring, and we are seeing all the signs of summer getting closer. And festival season is now upon us! Each year, in my mind anyway, the starting point of spring is when the Home and Garden show arrives in Ottawa, and that was last weekend. I can’t quite see my gardens yet, but that’s probably only a week or two away!
In this edition of my newsletter, I’ve got details on recently-announced events and festival lineups, a few words on my experience at Indulge Ottawa, and I’ll finish off with what to expect in the coming week.
Starting with music festivals, there have been several lineup announcements recently! Most of the major festivals have now made their key announcements, but there remain a few outstanding. Of note in this edition, you can read recent announcements by clicking the links for each of the following festivals:
Escapade Music Festival – As usual, an absolutely stellar EDM lineup! I love this festival and the DJ’s that they bring in. It’s always an all-star program, and this year is no different. Some of the names that I’d be looking forward to seeing are: Afrojack, Infected Mushroom, Marshmello, Kygo, Zedd and Deadmau5!
Bluesfest – I sent out the announcement previously about this year’s incredible festival lineup, but just last week, they announced the breakdown of their lineup by day and stage. I don’t see too many surprises in there, and I’m still so stoked about this festival! The only bad news is that this year, it’s only nine days as opposed to the usual ten.
Ottawa Jazz Festival – Still maintaining its roots in Jazz music, you’ll see some amazing headliners capped off by Buddy Guy and Herbie Hancock!
To round out the list of recent announcements, HOPE Beach Volleyball has announced their lineup. The Blue Stones, J.J. Wilde, and The Beaches will be playing during this one-day festival!
On Friday night, I was honoured to be invited to attend the long-anticipated return of Indulge Ottawa. This event was postponed for a few years due to the pandemic, but returned this year stronger than ever! The event was perfect: it was fun, it was lively, there was great food, amazing drinks, and a fantastic live band. This event really had it all! I’ve been to a lot of swanky affairs throughout Ottawa, and although this one was certainly not casual, something about it felt more ‘down-to-earth.’ The attendees were all really friendly, showing no signs of being snooty or clique-ey, which sadly is sometimes the case at other galas/fundraisers. I met some really interesting people, and also ran into some old friends there. Indulge Ottawa offered delicious food from a variety of vendors, and delicious craft beer and wine as well! The evening’s entertainment was provided by the Jeff Rogers Trio, and they played incredible music all evening, keeping the room rocking! The venue was the Santo Cristo Banquet Hall, which I’ve walked by several times, but have never been into before. Wow, it’s beautiful! It was a great spot for this event.
As usual, I have to talk about the food and drink a little more. I had the Tofu Bao with Asian Chopped salad from Mozaik Street Foodery. It was so friggen’ amazing, I went back for seconds, but they were gone! When I first arrived, I was deterred by their long line up, so I wandered the room for a while instead. I should have known….where there’s a line, it’s often worth the wait! Hopefully they are back next year. In the meantime, I will go by their restaurant on Queen Street! ?
While waiting for Mozaik’s line to go down, I kicked off my food-sampling of the evening with a delicious gourmet donut from Mavericks Donuts, and washed it down with a Conclave Vienna Smoked Lager from Beyond The Pale. That’s currently my favourite Ottawa craft beer (I can provide my address if anyone wants to send me some).
I have to give a massive shoutout to Gutsies Station. This is Ottawa’s newest gluten-free grocery store/bakery. You can find them on St. Joseph Boulevard in Orleans, and even if you don’t live in the east end, they are ABSOLUTELY worth the drive!! Their food is SO amazing, I didn’t even know it was gluten-free when I tried it! Okay, well, technically I did, but I wouldn’t have if someone hadn’t told me! Whether you’re celiac, gluten-sensitive, or just follow a gluten-free diet, this is the place for you! We ended up with an entire plate filled with various samples from them at the event, and I can’t wait to head out to their store and see what else they serve up! So far, I highly recommend the carrot cake and the Rosemary Sourdough bread…the bread was still warm when I tried it! Thank you, Gutsies, for your commitment to making quality, delicious gluten-free food, and thank you to Indulge for including food and desserts for a variety of dietary restrictions at your event… it makes a world of difference for those who have to follow a specific diet, and is so, so appreciated!
So basically, great food, great drinks, impressive venue, fun entertainment, super people…what else matters? Oh yeah! The fact that they raised over $50,000 to help support the Ontario Special Olympics! They had a silent auction running for a few days prior to the event, and a live auction at the event itself. Ryan Watson (www.raisingthebid.com) was the live auctioneer and he was absolutely perfect; so funny and so animated! I bid on the gift card to Gutsies, and got it! Did I mention how much I loved them?!
Tickets to this event were only $75, which included unlimited food and drinks, and a great night out supporting an incredible cause! I’ll be there again for sure in future years. I LOVED it!
This Week’s Events
I don’t even know where to start. This week is jam-packed with exciting events all over the city. My events calendar is loaded with a ton of options for you! On the weekend, there seems to be a trade show for every stage of one’s life: the EY Centre has the Ottawa Wedding Show and Mini Comiccon, and the Nepean Sportsplex has the Parent and Child Expo and the Capital Trade Show’s Sports Card and Comic show. Between all of those, most people should be able to find something that they are looking for!
If it’s sports that you’re looking for, you can catch the Sens in action with three home games this week as they try to make up some ground for that last wild card playoff spot (not looking too good to be honest, though!) Monday night, the Florida Panthers are in town, Thursday night, you can catch the Philadelphia Flyers, and Saturday night it’s the dreaded Toronto Maple Leafs (this could be the last time you see Auston Matthews in a Leafs jersey…just saying!). Also in the sports world, the World Men’s Curling Championship starts this Saturday at TD Place and runs until April 9th. You can check their website for the full schedule. Finally for sports (although I’m not sure whether to categorize it as sport or entertainment…perhaps it’s a fusion!) The Harlem Globetrotters are in town on Sunday at the Canadian Tire Centre.
There are concerts all over the city this week as well! A couple of great tribute bands are performing, with Hotel California (Eagles Tribute – in case it wasn’t obvious) on March 31st at Shenkman Arts Centre and April 1st at Meridian Theatres @ Centrepointe. If you’re a Beatles fan, you’re in luck! On Friday night, “ELEVATION” is playing at the Bronson Centre, and on April 1st, you can head over to The Rainbow and see the Abbey Road Tribute. Along the tribute theme, but with a bit of a twist, FeverUp has been running their Candlelight series of concerts for some time now. This week, they have two concerts, the first is a Radiohead Tribute on Saturday night at the Gladstone, and then an Adele Tribute the following night, also at the Gladstone. And rounding out the cover-band concerts are NOFX, My Chemical Romance and Black Flag* playing Saturday night at SAW Gallery. *Please note these are COVER BANDS! While I do love a great cover band, we have some original-music concerts this week as well: Blue Rodeo is in town with a pair of shows on Friday and Saturday nights at the NAC.
That’s it for me for this edition of my newsletter! As mentioned previously, I’ve got some changes coming up soon, so keep an eye out! Thanks for reading, and please share!
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