Holiday Wishes from the Ottawa Grassroots Festival

The past year did bring us together to enjoy some live in-person music, arts, and community events. We have another bump in the road we must navigate around once more. There is hope the new year will bring us together safely again to experience the special connection between the audience and performer we so crave. The Ottawa Grassroots Festival planning is well under way and we are excited about the 10th edition taking place April 21-24, 2022. Our Festival Producer, Alison Bowie, in collaboration with our Artistic Director, Ian Tamblyn, have been very busy programming a special line-up to celebrate our festival’s major milestone. Please save the dates, folks!

A BIG ‘Thank-you’ to everyone involved in our Fall event which included a cooking workshop and concerts on Nov. 27, 2021. When our volunteers and community come together, great things happen! With the help from generous sponsors, the festival was also able to offer American Sign Language (ASL) interpretation and captioning the entire evening. The vision of our festival founder, Bob Nesbitt, was to make OGF as accessible as possible and to keep building on it. This event allowed members of the deaf and hard of hearing communities to participate and feel welcome at Ottawa Grassroots. Leading up to the festival, you can look forward to more OGF events being announced in the new year. Stay-tuned to our social media and newsletters.

There is more wonderful news to share. The OGF Board is growing and thrilled to welcome Teri Loretto (CBC & Algonquin College - Performing Arts Program) and Anneke Van Nooten (Catholic Centre for Immigrants) to the board of directors of Ottawa Grassroots! Teri and Anneke have been involved with the festival for many years. They are strong community builders with a passion for supporting the arts, youth and helping newcomers to Canada feel welcome and establish important connections so they may thrive. They are a perfect fit for Ottawa Grassroots, and we know Bob is smiling, too!

The festival is in great hands with returning board members Lynn Chiarelli newly elected President, along with Ken Hoffman (Vice-President) and Peter Bowie (Treasurer). Due to a very heavy workload at Canada Post, I will be taking a leave of absence from my involvement with OGF for a period of time. I’m two years away from retiring but it is poised to be a challenging and exciting time in my career.

As past President of OGF and on behalf of the board, Alison and Ian, I wish you all a safe and wonderful holiday with best wishes for the coming year. If there are family, friends and neighbours who might be spending the next few weeks alone, there are ways to spread kindness by reaching out to help them through this time. The Winter Solstice is near and we can start looking forward to Spring again.

Grace Smith