The Festival With Everything That Costs Nothing | The Ottawa Dragon Boat Festival.

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Photo by: Annette Ejiofor.

The sun was set high from June 23rd to June 26th as the Ottawa Dragon Boat Festival kicked off. Featuring a musical lineup for the young and old, the Ottawa Dragon Boat Festival filled the hills and pathways of Mooney’s Bay Beach, welcoming hundreds to thousands in attendance per day and night. The fun did not end at the concerts as annual Dragon Boat races took place. Attendees were able to enjoy vendors of all kinds from beers to Booster Juice, french fries to spaghetti, henna tattoos to stylish dresses. Did I mention it was all free?

Keep on reading for a full insider on the festival that had it all, but cost nothing, to attend.

Day 1 [Thursday, June 23]:


Coming straight out of ‘the 6,’ Modern Space is an alternative rock/alternative/indie band consisting of five members; Sean Watson Graham (vocals) Sam Arion (guitar), Alex Laurie (guitar), Cody Steele (bass) and Tay Ewart (drums). Their debut EP Before Sunrise put them on the map having worked with reknowed producer Tawgs Salter.


Originating from our nation’s capital, The Lionyls consist of bassist, Alex Jee,
drummer, Anto Rizzuti, guitarist, Robbie Rigg, and vocalist, Zach Raynor. With their rock and soul sounds, performing at the beach stage at the Ottawa Dragon Boat Festival.


Strumming from the French streets of Montreal, The Muscadettes are a ‘garage-pop-surf-punk’ band, fronted by twin sisters Chantal and Kathleen Ambridge. Performing songs from their latest albums Side B and Side A, The Muscadettes transported Ottawa to the 60s and 90s days, of grunge music.


Formed in Toronto in 2012, July Talk is a Canadian blues/alternative rock band consisting of lead singers, Peter Dreimanis and Leah Fay, guitarist, Ian Docherty, bassist, Josh Warburton, and drummer, Danny Miles. July Talk brought with them high energy, edgy vocals, resounding bass, and drums. From swinging the mic stand, to Dreimanis playing with Fay’s hair, to Fay singing upside down to the crowd, July Talk gave their all, to the captivated audience.

Day 2 [Friday, June 24]:


Named after the area they reside in Toronto, The Beaches brought their fem/alternative rock sounds to the ever welcoming beach of Mooney’s Bay. Founded in 2012, the band is made up of Jordan Miller, Kylie Miller, Eliza Enman McDaniel, and Leandra Earl.


The Canadian singer and songwriter from Halifax, Nova Scotia, set the scene at the ODBF on day 2. Mixing pop melodies with alternative and folk, Ria Mae brought her kind soul and transcendent vocals to the hills of Mooney’s Bay.


Delivering an electric performance similar to that of July Talk, Mother Mother, a Canadian indie rock band originally from Quadra Island, brought their unique style to our nation’s capital. Mother Mother engaged in a transferral of energy between the audience and themselves as with each song, the lights grew bolder, and their voices grew stronger.

Day 3 [Saturday, June 25]:


With a lead singer as sweet as ice cream on a summer’s day, Nap Eyes brought their cooling sounds to the main stage of ODBF. A band that brought with it, it’s positive and endearing energy.


Canadian indie pop band, Alvvays, formed in Toronto, Ontario in 2011, dropped by the ODBF this weekend to bring back heavy indie sounds. The band consists of vocalist Molly Rankin, keyboardist Kerri MacLellan, guitarist Alec O’Hanley, bassist Brian Murphy, and drummer Phil MacIsaac. ALVVAYS came together on Saturday night, to bring musical vibes to Ottawa.

Day 3 [Sunday, June 26]:


Closing off the four day festival was A Tribe Called Red. Showing true Indigenous pride, positioning culture, heritage, and honesty, at the forefront of their art, ATCR gave ODBF something to remember. Blending Indigenous music and sounds, traditional attires and dancers, trap music with the edge of hip-hop, A Tribe Called Red had the audience soaring with excitement, love, and admiration.

An incredible weekend flooded with memories and insanely fun activities. Filled with attendees from across Ontario and even the United States, the Ottawa Dragon Boat Festival was a time for the best of our cities, to come together in the name of fun, memories, and a love for the arts. Until next time.


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