Arboretum Music Festival has become a mainstay in the Ottawa music community, allowing smaller venues and bands to come together and hold intimate showcases of the talent this city has to offer. This, along with the main stages in the Concert Village at Ottawa City Hall, means there is something for everyone. The festival spans from Wednesday, August 17th to Sunday the 21st, with not only shows each day but also panels touching on record labels, media relations, and more, as well as after parties with local DJs, and secret performances. Here are a few events that I think are must-sees when attending the festival:


Beliefs/Vallens/The Heavy Medicine Band @ Bar Robo, Wednesday, Aug. 17th


The Heavy Medicine Band is quickly becoming a local favourite, with its deep, dreamy vibes and enticing vocals. Opening up for dark and fuzzy bands like Vallens and Beliefs means you’ll be in for a killer shoegaze kind of night.


Dilly Dally/Fake Palms/Twist/Bonnie Doon @ Babylon, Thursday, Aug. 18th


Present by Buzz Records, this show is packed with kickass femme rockers that will make every feminist’s heart flutter. Come to this show for the artsy-punk local opener, and stick around for the beach-pop-meets-atmospheric-grunge acts to follow.


BB Cream @ Debaser Stage-Concert Village, Friday Aug. 19th


This three-piece Ottawa-based band is known around the DIY scene for its playful-but-raw vocals, courtesy of Alanna Why (also of the local promotion team, Casual Hex) and its catchy, bedroom-punk melodies, that are sure to get you bobbing along.


Kina Nimiwag @ Main Stage-Concert Village, Saturday Aug. 20th


Arboretum Fest is welcoming back this electro-pow-wow phenom for a second year and Nimiwag is bringing along a traditional Anishnabe drum group for accompaniment. Head to the Concert Village to be mesmerized by this combination of dancing, drum-song, and electronic dance music.


High Fidelity: The New Record Label – Panel @ Bar Robo, Wednesday, Aug. 17th

Panelists from numerous records labels will be speaking on the viability of smaller, independent labels, and the modern bond being built between labels and their roster.


Publicity Tip Sheet: Media Relations – Panel @ Bar Robo, Thursday, Aug. 18thCheck out this discussion on best practices for publicizing projects on new media with PR experts Darryl Weeks, and Jill Krajewski.


Reconcile This! – Workshop @ The Commons-Concert Village, Saturday, Aug. 20th

Led by those affected and seeking justice, this workshop on indigenous allyship is to inform all members of the community of their role in creating solutions regarding reconciliation. At this workshop you’ll hear from 2 Spirit advocates, members of Nawash, and Batchewana First Nations, and experts on Indigenous peoples’ health and wellness.


To see information on pricing and all of the events, check out the official website,