Live Music

Arboretum Festival, Colleen Green are this week's top picks for live music in Ottawa-area

From a festival on an island in the Ottawa River to a show in an old barn in the country, we've got you covered for live music to see in the Ottawa area this weekend and next week.

Austra, The Sadies, Braids, more @ Arboretum Festival, Wednesday-Saturday

If there's one bright side to summer winding down, it's the fact that  Arboretum is back for a fourth year. The festival prides itself on originality, from its lineup to its physical design, and this year sees it hitting "next-level" status with a roster that includes the likes of Braids, The Sadies, Austra, U.S. Girls and Hayden, alongside boast-worthy local acts such as Flying Horses, Scattered Clouds, New Swears and Pipahauntas.
Braids headline the main stage at Arboretum Festival on Friday night. (Victoria Masters)
Arboretum's new location on Albert Island marks the first public event to happen on the site in what's believed to be around 200 years. In keeping with the festival's goal of fostering discussion about arts and local culture, talks will take place to acknowledge the location of the festival on unceded Algonquin territory, as well as the question of how to ensure the responsible development of Albert Island. If you want a sure sense of Ottawa's growing, thriving culture, this festival is the way to get it. Arboretum began Wednesday and continues Thursday night with a show at St. Alban's, presented by Laurie Brown of CBC's The Signal. The festival moves to Albert Island for Friday and Saturday, with tickets costing $25 per day ($40 for a weekend pass).

Ray Harris and the BSOBs, more @ Barnstorm (Finch, Ont.), Saturday

Ray Harris and the BSOBs play Barnstorm in Finch on Saturday. (Barnstorm)
Meanwhile, a smaller festival celebrates its
16th year on Saturday. Far from the bustle of downtown, Barnstorm brings together fans of alt-country music in a 150-year-old barn in Finch, Ont., dubbed the Odditorium. Just less than an hour's drive from Ottawa, the festival's lineup features creaky-voiced roots veteran Ray Harris and the BSOBs, Capital Grass & The No Men, St. Stephens, BrockZeman, Randy Shenanigans and Jimmy Tri-Tone. As much as it holds a dear place in the heart of its patrons, though, this year's installment of Barnstorm was nearly cancelled following the passing of co-organizer and much-loved audio engineer Mark Valcour, who had handled the festival's gear and sound. In order to keep the event going, this year's event sees a slight hike in ticket prices to cover the costs of bringing in new sound engineers. For $40 at the gate it's still well worth the drive to Finch, and tickets are $30 if you buy them through That's also where you can find directions to the festival.

Jacquemort @ Le Petit Chicago, Saturday, 8 p.m.

With its laid-back, unpretentious atmosphere, Le Petit Chicago is one of Hull's best spots to grab a drink and hear some live music. On Saturday night the bar hosts Montreal dream-pop outfit Jacquemort, the longtime second project of Malajube's keyboard player, Thomas Augustin. Synth lines form the arteries of the band's most recent album, La montagne de feu, but Augustin doesn't pursue the space-age arpeggiation and dance-floor bass drops that define today's synth-driven electronic music.
Jaquemort play Le Petit Chicago on Saturday night.

Instead, think Malajube-esque sensibilities: lush pop melodies that carry an understated weight. Jacquemort is the last of three bands to perform at Le Petit Chicago on Saturday; the other two are Sans Foulard and Les Moindres$12.

Colleen Green @ Pressed, Wednesday, 7 p.m.

Colleen Green plays Pressed on Wednesday, Aug. 26. (Steele O'Neil)
Now that our weekend's covered, let's skip ahead a few days to the oft-overlooked Wednesday night. At Pressed you can take in a show that features a buzzworthy L.A. songwriter and two energetic local bands, and still be in bed by midnight. The headliner is Colleen Green, who, at barely 30, has released a fun and heartfelt collection of songs that reflect the mild identity-crisis brought on by that milestone. I Want to Grow Up is 90s-style indie-rock a la mode, with Green's sweet-yet-gutsy vocals floating over powerful guitar riffs. For $5 you'll want to catch her live show now, because this kind of intimate venue won't contain her popularity for long. Green will be joined by Ottawa's Creep Wave and Weed Mom, who'll draw loyal crowds of their own. $5.

About the Author

Jessa Runciman

Associate Producer

Jessa Runciman is an associate producer with CBC Ottawa, and an avid music fan and show-goer. You can follow her on Twitter @jessarunciman.