Ottawa Folkfest going green

-- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 4:09 AM ET

The 2007 Ottawa Folk Festival is getting back to its green roots with a larger, “more ecological” footprint at Britannia Park when the folkies come to play Aug. 16-19.

The larger site, which includes more parkland and an outdoor dance floor, means artistic director Chris White can concentrate more on creating a cool vibe than chasing celebrities.

“The festival will feel different this year as we’ve eliminated most of the boundaries around the site,” White explained yesterday at a media preview at Rasputin’s. “It’s a more casual and environmentally friendly atmosphere.”

Which also describes this year’s musical offerings, an eclectic blend of acoustic folk with almost no negative impact on listeners’ ears. Headlining the 14th annual event is singer, songwriter and Hollywood actor Kris Kristofferson, who will perform three shows, including the “Ribbon of Highway” tribute to Woody Guthrie on the Saturday night.

More than 60 bands, including Souljazz Orchestra, Tony D., Buffy Sainte-Marie, Penny Lang, Eliza Gilkysonand and The Arrogant Worms, will play on the festival’s seven stages throughout the weekend.

“Mariposa shaped my idea of what a festival should be, bringing artists of different backgrounds together and finding the common ground,” White explained. “We wanted to focus on our strengths and why people such as Kristofferson want to play here.

“They come here because the Ottawa Folk Festival is such a wonderful experience. We rely less on name recognition of the talent and more on creating an interactive, environmental experience inside the park to make the Folk Festival fun.”

The festival’s new executive director, Tamara Kater, pointed out that part of the fest’s long-term plan to go green included eliminating the need for driving to Britannia Park. Early Bird passes now include unlimited OC Transpo travel.

Growing the Britannia Park site is a dramatic turn of events compared to the past two years when White and then executive director Gene Swimmer wanted to reinvigorate the festival’s aging demographic with more urban appeal by including a concert with Canadian Idol’s Kalen Porter and a series of gigs at downtown nightclubs.

“They were fun and well-attended but people ultimately wondered what a concert at the Capital Music Hall had to do with the Folk Festival,” White said.

Early Bird four-day passes range from $30-$60 while passes bought at the gate are $40-$85. Single ticket prices are $10-$35.

Tickets are available at the Folk Festival office at 858 Bank St., CD Warehouse, End Hits, Retrotown Music, Mother Tongue Books, Compact Music, Legend Records, Arbour Environmental Shoppe, the Ottawa Folklore Centre, Miller’s Tale Bookstore, Lauzon Music, Capital Ticket Outlets and online at www.capitaltickets.ca.

Complete information on the festival will be posted on www.ottawafolk.org.


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