The Ottawa Grassroots Festival came to a close Sunday night, following a jam-packed day that ran from 11 a.m. all the way to 11 p.m.
Artistic Director Ian Tamblyn mentioned that the festival featured around 54 performers throughout the weekend, with about 90 per cent hailing from Ottawa.
Sunday’s show was wrapped up by The Broken Bridges followed by The Sunday Night Revue.
The Sunday Night Revue was corralled by Birdie Whyte, who wrangles up her own crew of folk musicians, armed with banjos and guitars, in order to perform at Irene’s every weekend.
The Broken Bridges formed in 2020, originally comprised of two sisters aged 18 and 14. The duo of Fern and Willow Marwood became a trio rather quickly, adding Graham Lindsey to the ensemble. Willow is armed with a violin, while Fern plays the banjo and Graham entertains the crowd with his guitar.
Like being in the band’s living room
The trio released The Porch Sessions just last year, which was a compilation of its three earliest tracks. Since then, it has played virtual summer festivals and “Hogman-eh!” the Scottish Society of Ottawa’s Hogmanay celebration on New Years Eve.
The trio performed a show on Sunday that made the crowd feel as if they were sitting in the band’s living room. There were light-hearted jokes, digs made at each other, and an overall home-like experience. The only thing I was missing was a home cooked meal!
Their rookie status enthralled the crowd as they sat back to enjoy the band’s refreshing sound. Throughout the weekend, we were treated to a multitude of artists who showcased diverse instruments and genres. However, the festival’s concluding act offered the crowd arguably its most pure representation of folk music.
The Sunday Night Revue took the stage around 9 p.m. The Revue began as a lockdown ensemble curated by Birdie Whyte. Her and her roommates and neighbours would often congregate in her kitchen to jam out.
During their sets, the members pass around a point-and-shoot camera to capture the true essence of those attending their events. They play games, which include prizes, and original folk tunes.
Throughout the night, the five-piece band entertained the crowd with call-and-response-style folk, which engaged the crowd. The showmanship added a new an interactive element to the show, which unique among the performances this weekend.
Irene’s Pub is hosting The Sunday Night Revue from 8 p.m. to 11 p.m. for the foreseeable future.