Three Festivals, One Weekend

Ottawa Life’s Festival City Series is back! We'll provide a unique look at some of your favourite events.
We’ll go beyond the music with artist interviews, volunteer profiles, concert reviews and spotlights on
the tastes, sights and sounds of the festival season. 

Your city! Your festivals and events!
Like a good sunscreen, Ottawa Life has you covered.

Photos by Lucian Delean

It is a good time to be a photographer in Ottawa. The long, cold winter gave way to a wet, cool spring, which is blossoming into an amazing summer. Being Canada's 150th birthday, festivals and celebrations abound. This past weekend I had the pleasure of attending three of those festivals: Ribfest, Glow Fair, and Italian Week.


Ribfest was held from June 14-18 on historic Sparks Street in downtown Ottawa. It was the event's 25th anniversary. Ribbers from across North America served-up vast amounts of ribs and chicken to the thousands attending this delicious event. The savoury aroma from dozens of massive barbeques in full production could be enjoyed city blocks away, depending on the breeze.

As I walked past the myriad of grills lining the street, I sensed a joviality in the crowd around me, and that of the boisterous grillers as well. It is amazing how good food and good atmosphere bring out the best in people.

I eventually sat down to a rack of succulent ribs, but had to take extra care not to get BBQ sauce on my camera.

Italian Week

My second destination was Preston Street for the Italian Week Festival, in the Heart of Little Italy. One thing that Italians do particularily well, amongst other things, is celebrate. There is certainly nothing bland about Italian culture. As I immersed myself in experiencing this first hand, music played, buskers busked, as people ate and drank Al-fresco in the warm evening air.

One of the main highlights of the day was a large collection of privately owned Ferraris on display for admiring onlookers to stare and imagine what it might be like to drive one of these legendary beauties. A group of friendly security officials, clad in official yellow Ferrari T-shirts, made sure no one came too close to these very pricey automobiles. As the evening progressed, I took in a little entertainment as a band called Rio and the Rockabilly Revival performed on stage to an appreciative audience.

The headline group performing that evening, was Enrico Capuano and T- Rock. Lead singer Dunia Molina delivered a spectacular performance on vocals as this rock-folk-swing band dished out an amazing mix of intoxicating rhythmic tunes rich with Italian culture.

Glowfair 2017

My final destination on this weekend of festivals was Glowfair 2017. Located on Bank Street, this was truly to be an interesting evening. A snake handler was all too happy to drape baby pythons around the necks of anyone brave enough to subject themselves to this unique experience. This gentleman seemed to be looking for the smallest child he could to sling his snake around, perhaps hoping the unsuspecting youngster might become a convenient snack for the slithering reptile.

As I progressed along I encountered numerous street performers, consisting of a rather comical knife juggler,an aerial trapeze act, and  a particularly talented  street pavement artist. All good festival people doing their craft and making this festival truly vibrant. As I moved along, I found myself standing next to the Soundboard stage staring at several thousand Z-Generation teenagers, dancing to the tunes being spun by DJ Katrella. Well, dancing might not be the word to best describe what I witnessed that night. Whatever it was it looked kinda' painful and made me glad I was on the safe side of the reinforced barrier, next to the hired security.

After snapping numerous images of the sweaty revellers, I made my escape and decided to make my way home, because I was just about festivalled-out. However, I soon came across some nice young girls handing out free condoms, served on trays, somewhat like hor durves. How thoughtful.

My last stop was a small gathering of happy people dancing and enjoying themselves to the guitar strummin' of a great guy named Zach Martin, who in my opinion was the type of performer that gives such a festival the charm and artistic diversity which makes someone want to just let loose and dance in the street.

With so many more festivals to come where might I turn up next?