Mark your Calendars: 5 Ottawa 2016 Music Festivals You Shouldn’t Miss

Real Estate Sales Representative with RE/MAX Hallmark Realty Group, Brokerage

Five Ottawa Summer 2016 Music Festivals 

In Ottawa this summer, you can hear Sarah McLachlan at Confederation Park, you can attend a Shakespeare and Music concert with the great actor Christopher Plummer at Dominion-Chalmers Church or you could spend an evening at LeBreton Flats  with the Red Hot Chili Peppers.

These are just a few of the dozens of star performers who will be in Ottawa to perform at the city’s summer music festivals in 2016.

As a realtor with more than 30 years of experience in Ottawa, I  know that one of the things many residents love about our city is its thriving performing arts scene. In the summer months, that includes a spectacular line-up of music festivals, some of them with concerts you can enjoy outdoors.

Many Ottawa music lovers book their vacations around these festivals to binge on music, purchasing a festival pass and attending as many concerts as they can take in, from morning to night. The festivals all offer a range of passes and single tickets.

The TD Ottawa Jazz Festival starts June 22, and that will be followed by festivals celebrating classical and chamber music, blues, rock and folk music, with an impressive roster of headliners.

If you will be hosting family or friends from out of town this summer or if you are a music lover yourself looking for memorable performances in coming weeks, mark your calendars and check out the websites of these festivals.

If you’re considering buying or selling a home in the Ottawa area, I’d love to meet you and fill you in on the current Ottawa market. If you’re considering a move to Ottawa, I can share many other things I love about  the region. You can reach me through, or by calling me at 613-747-4747.


The TD Ottawa Jazz Festival

When and Where: June 22 to July 3. Venues include Confederation Park (at the corner of Elgin Street and Laurier Avenue); the National Arts Centre and the ByWard Market’s intimate Mercury Lounge. On a warm summer night, it’s lovely to sit in green and lush Confederation Park and hear performances by star musicians.

Like the other festivals mentioned here, the Jazz Festival also presents a wide range of musical styles and genres.

Performers include: The lineup for the 2016 festival includes the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with trumpeter Wynton Marsalis; the Chick Corea-Brian Blade-Christian McBride trio; Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings; singer-songwriter Sarah McLachlan; singer-songwriter Buffy Sainte-Marie; and Beach Boys co-founder Brian Wilson, marking the 50th anniversary of the band’s landmark Pet Sounds album.

More details on lineup, passes and tickets:


Music and Beyond

When and Where: July 4 to 17. Venues include the beautiful (and air conditioned) Dominion-Chalmers Church on O’Connor Street at Cooper; the National Gallery of Canada, the Canadian Museum of Nature and the Irving Greenberg Theatre Centre (home of the Great Canadian Theatre Co.) on Wellington Street.

Presenting 75 concerts, this festival has a focus on classical music but some performances include  theatre, dance, visual arts or circus performers as a way of  exploring connections between music and other art forms.

For example, Academy Award-winning Canadian actor Christopher Plummer will perform at a Shakespeare and Music concert July 8 and 9 at Dominion-Chalmers. Plummer will perform excerpts from Shakespeare, woven between orchestral music inspired by Shakespeare plays. Plummer performed a similar concert at the 2011 festival to a sold-out house and rave reviews.

Another concert will feature the Utrecht String Quartet and other musicians performing Russian music July 5 at the Diefenbunker, the Cold War Museum  in the massive underground shelter in Carp that was planned as a retreat for government and military officials in the event of war. It’s one of the most unusual and fascinating museums in the Ottawa area, and this performance is a great chance to check it out.

An event at the Canadian Museum of Nature July 6 will feature 100 musicians and allow visitors to stroll through the museum, see the exhibits and hear dozens of brief performances of music with a nature theme.

Performers include: In addition to Christopher Plummer, performers and ensembles appearing at the 2016 festival include China’s Hebei Acrobatic Troupe, the Vienna Piano Trio, the London Handel Players, jazz pianist Oliver Jones on his farewell tour, the NAC Orchestra, pianist Jan Lisiecki and the excellent San Francisco-based men’s choir, Chanticleer.

For more details on lineup, passes and tickets:


RBC Royal Bank Bluesfest

When and Where: July 7 to 17. Grounds of the Canadian War Museum at LeBreton Flats. Ottawa’s largest music festival offers several different stages on the grounds, and also uses the Barney Danson Theatre inside the museum. This event attracts huge crowds. Last year’s festival attracted more than 300,000 people, the festival says.

Performers include: The 2016 festival will present more than 75 performers, including British singer-songwriter Joe Jackson, country star Brad Paisley, the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Duran Duran  and a 50th anniversary tour featuring The Monkees, with original band members Mickey Dolenz and Peter Tork.

For details on lineup, passes and tickets:


Ottawa International Chamber Music Festival

When and Where: July 21 to Aug. 3. Venues include Dominion-Chalmers Church, the National Gallery and Ottawa City Hall.

The world’s largest celebration of chamber music, Chamberfest presents a wide range of music, including  classical, jazz, ragtime and Japanese drumming.  Highlights include a concert July 22 with the Gryphon Trio, the Ewashko Singers and baritone Russell Braun marking the 125th anniversary of Ukrainian settlement in Canada.

The closing concert Aug. 3 will present Bach’s Mass in B Minor, with the Arion Baroque Orchestra and conductor Alexander Weimann.

Performers include: Soprano Marie-Josee Lord, the Cecilia String Quartet, pianist Janina Fialkowska, oboist Charles Hamann, sax player Jane Bunnett and many others.

For more details on lineup, passes and tickets:



When and Where: Say goodbye to summer with this festival running Sept. 14 to 18,  at Lansdowne Park, with additional free concerts at other venues, mostly in the Lansdowne area along Bank Street. Formerly known as the Ottawa Folk Festival, this event presents music, dance, visual arts, artisan booths and family programming.  Music styles include folk, country, rock, hip-hop and children’s performers.

Performers include: More than three dozen acts have been announced for 2016, with more to be announced. Performers will include Vance Joy (Sept. 17), British singer-songwriter James Bay (Sept. 15) and Boston group Dropkick Murphys (Sept. 15), hip hop artist Lil B (Sept. 15), country star Dean Brody (Sept. 18) and children’s performer Fred Penner (Sept. 17 and 18).

For more details on lineup, passes and tickets: Festival passes and single-day tickets are available.



Comments (2)

Dan Tabit
Keller Williams Bellevue - Sammamish, WA


I have a niece in Ottawa and I bet she'll be attending some of these performances.  Sounds great, I'd love to see Christopher Plumber do Shakespeare. 

Jun 20, 2016 11:01 AM
Roy Kelley
Realty Group Referrals - Gaithersburg, MD

This is very good information to share with area residents and visitors.

Have a most productive summer!

Jun 20, 2016 11:34 AM

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