Ottawa’s First Ever MEGAPHONO Showcase Festival!

As I’ve mentioned before, I am a part of this exciting new event in Ottawa — MEGAPHONO! It’s first showcase festival is taking place February 3-5, 2015. There are 34 local and 6 regional bands, playing in 10 venues, from the Mercury Lounge to Raw Sugar to the Diefenbunker! Add in some industry gurus from across Canada and the U.S., some great panels, and the release of an Ottawa music sector profile called Connecting Ottawa Music, and you’ve got an exciting three days to get your heart, mind, and soul all fired up! Check out the full release below, join our Facebook events, and spread the word!



MEGAPHONO has released the full artist lineup and schedule for its inaugural music showcase festival in Ottawa, happening February 3rd to 5th, 2015. The 40-artist fest will feature local & regional favourites, including Last Ex, Jeremy Fisher, HILOTRONS, Evening Hymns, Boyhood, Jim Bryson, Amanda Rheaume, FLO, The Yips, Jill Zmud, and Steve Adamyk Band, as well as out-of-towners Socalled, Heat, U.S. Girls, Michael Rault, and Crosss.

The showcase festival will host music industry guest delegates from the US and Canada including record labels, publishers, booking agents and music supervisors from LA to NYC and Toronto to Montreal. Ottawa artists and music entrepreneurs will have the chance to connect one-on-one with these guests with the hopes of finding new opportunities for Ottawa-area music outside of our city’s borders.

All participants will enjoy a tightly-scheduled three-day musical adventure around the city, including performances from 34 local artists and 6 out-of-towners. Venues include the cold war-built Diefenbunker, where bands will play in a Bank of Canada vault meant to protect the country’s riches in case of nuclear war; legendary drinking hole The Dominion Tavern; new favourite House of Targ, and the cozy St. Alban’s Church. Afternoon showcases will see artists in the Elmdale Oyster House, Record Centre, Raw Sugar, and Pressed.

MEGAPHONO kicks off Tuesday February 3rd at 12PM for THE MEGAPHONO LAUNCH LUNCH, which includes a 2″ TAPE CUTTING CEREMONY, followed by the release and discussion of the recently-completed Ottawa music industries profile Connecting Ottawa Music. The event is free of charge and open to the public.

Funded by the Ontario Music Fund (OMDC) and compiling responses from over 800 local musicians and 50 music businesses, Connecting Ottawa Music profiles the local music ecosystem, identifying recommendations for ways to move forward as an industry and help to build Ottawa as a musical hub.

Daytime panels are aimed at helping local artists and music entrepreneurs increase their knowledge, gain insight to help them make career decisions, and network with local, regional, national, and international festival attendees.

A TRIBE CALLED RED: A look at the tremendous rise of Ottawa’s greatest musical export since Alanis. This Juno-award winning DJ collective and their core team discuss their successes and how they built a musical mammoth out of Ottawa. Panelists: Guillaume Decouflet (ATCR manager), Dee Jay NDN (ATCR); Adam Countryman (ATCR booking agent- The Agency Group)

WEARING ALL THE HATS: Local artist entrepreneurs discuss the ins and outs of grinding out a career as a musician in the Ottawa area. From studio engineering to composition to production to live sound, this group wears a lot of hats. Our panelists will talk about how they balance all of their different musical roles and make it work. Panelists: Lynn Miles, Jim Bryson, Mike Dubue (HILOTRONS), Matt Ouimet

IF WE ONLY HAD AN AGENT: One of the most important pain points for today’s up-and-coming artists is convincing an agent to sign you. Our panel of booking agents will help you decipher the mystery of how they find and sign new acts, and what it takes to put pen to paper. Panelists: Adam Countryman (Agency Group), Nicole Rochefort (AIM Booking), Josh Iden (Panache)

JUST THE SIZE OF MONTREAL: Too big or too small? For a lot of Ottawa-based artists, Montreal’s live music market has always been a tough nut to crack. Hear from some of that city’s key music players on the particular challenges of building an audience in Montreal, the differences between its Franco and Anglo scenes, and tips on what you can do to improve your chances of success in everyone’s favourite weekend party destination. Panelists: Dan Seligman (Pop Montreal), Andre Guerette (Guerette Agency), Michaël Bardier (Heavy Trip)

Local artists and music entrepreneurs will also have the opportunity to connect one-on-one with guest delegates in a series of speed meetings: 7-minute meetups to pitch their wares and make new connections.

Tickets and festival passes are now on sale at; full delegate passes (available exclusively to artists and music entrepreneurs) for the week including all shows, panels and networking activities are a steal at $75; individual day passes and show tickets range from PWYC (pay what you can) to $40.

Paper tickets go on sale Friday January 16th at Vertigo Records (193 Rideau) and Compact Music locations (206 Bank & 785 Bank).


Want to get involved? We are looking for:
– sponsors
– community partners
– and, of course…VOLUNTEERS!

Jon Bartlett or Lesley Marshall

A special thank you to our sponsors:
The Audio Recording Academy TARA / APCM (Association des professionnels de la chanson et de la musique) / Downtown Rideau BIA & Chill Factor / Scotiabank / Novotel / Beau’s / Algonquin College: Music Industry Arts / Uber

And our co-presenters:
CKCU / CHUO / E-Tron Rec. / Arboretum Festival / Ottawa Showbox / Small Talk / Ottawa Explosion


Ottawa and Green Bins Will Meet this Fall

I was wondering when this might happen, and it looks as though this is year.

The City of Ottawa is going to start distributing green bins to 22,000 households this fall and winter. They will start Green Bin pick ups next January (2010) — bi-weekly pickups in winter with weekly pickups the rest of the year. According to the City, there is a “state-of-the-art indoor composting facility” where the waste will be turned into compost. More information on the City’s Green Bin program is at

(Post and links updated November 2013)

Earth Hour – March 28

Earth Hour is an interesting notion to me. On one hand I think it is a great initiative. Right now, more than 500 cities around the world have signed up to turn their lights out for one hour. And that kind of project usually has lasting impact, as it gets everyone thinking about the issue. On the other hand, what is the impact of turning all that power back on at once? *I could insert a smilie here, if you like*

In any case, I will be one of the Ottawa people to participate. From the City: The City of Ottawa is proud to be a supporting city of Earth Hour and will be asking all residents to participate in the campaign scheduled to take place on Saturday, March 28th from 8:30 to 9:30 p.m.

(Links updated November 2013)

Is Ottawa Transit an essential service? Have your say.

Happy New Year everyone! It’s been a few weeks now for the Ottawa Transit Workers’ Strike. There is a key vote coming up on Thursday. The City has an offer, and they don’t really have a back-up plan if it is rejected. I’ve seen a few blogs and articles indicating opinions that it will indeed be rejected. Here’s to hoping it’s not. I understand the transit workers have needs, but the impact their strike is having on people and the local economy is, in my opinion, not equal action. I personally believe that transportation is an essential service for any city. I came across this just today, and I’ve posted it here directly from from OttawaStart: Your daily guide to Ottawa on the web

CIRB looking for public input on whether Ottawa transit should be deemed an essential service
Posted by Sue Clark-Wittenberg

The Canada Industrial Relations Board is looking for input from the public into whether or not transit services in Ottawa are essential

The Canada Industrial Relations Board is looking for input from the public into whether or not transit services in Ottawa are essential.

People can provide input before Friday, January 9th, by

  • e-mailing: octranspo-atu@ cirb-ccri.
  • faxing 613-941-4461
  • or writing to: Canada Industrial Relations Board, Regional Director C.D. Howe Building, 4th Floor West, 240 Sparks Street Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0X8

When looking at whether or not transit services are essential, the Canada Industrial Relations Board is limited to the grounds in section 87.4 (1) of the Canada Labour Code which allow the Canada Industrial Relations Board to order a service to be provided if it is necessary, “to prevent an immediate and serious danger to the safety or health of the public.”

This will not interfere with the vote on the City’s final offer on Thursday. If drivers and mechanics vote to approve the City’s final offer on Thursday, then service will resume.

The Canada Industrial Relations Board was asked to look into this by the federal Minister of Labour. This is a shift by the federal government, which said in December that it did not want to intervene. OC Transpo is in a unique situation. OC Transpo is one of a very, very small number of urban transit systems in Canada to fall under federal labour law. The input provided to the Canada Industrial Relations Board will likely have an impact on how the federal government responds to issues that are usually addressed at the provincial level. For the City, having all or part of transit service declared essential would likely mean binding arbitration would become the way disagreements in the negotiating process are resolved. Binding arbitration means no strikes or lockouts, but it also means that both sides must live with what the arbitrator decides.

Ottawa cuts funding to Festivals – Take ACTION Now, It Can Work!

Take ACTION Now! Stop the Cuts!

Take ACTION Now! Stop the Cuts!

Dahlya Smolash, Host of Kaleidoscope on CHUO 89.1 FM in Ottawa, passed along the following notice to CHUO volunteers:

The City of Ottawa proposes to cut 100% of funding to arts festivals in Ottawa. This will adversely effect such festivals as the Writer’s Festival, Jazz Festival, Ladyfest, and many others. Similar cuts were proposed in 2004, and were stopped by a campaign called “My Ottawa Includes Culture.” The only thing that will stop these draconian cuts is a huge public outcry to city hall.

Here is a link that will allow you to give direct feedback to the City of Ottawa about the proposed 100% cuts to festival funding. All you have to do is click, add your name, and send the form. Please pass it around.
City of Ottawa Feedback Form

Here is a link to a sample letter about the cuts, with links to city councilors. Please send emails to city councilors, and pass on the link to anyone who might wish to take action.
Link on Jessica Ruano’s Blog

“There is an opportunity to speak at City Hall (instructions attached) on Dec. 2 or 3 if you want to be part of a public delegation. To book a time, you have only to phone and make arrangements.

But the most important thing is to send letters into City Hall. Please send this message to anyone you think would act on this information. Since the budget vote will take place very soon (Dec 4 or 5), we haven’t got a moment to lose!”

Other Coverage:


Links about 2004 “My Ottawa Includes Culture Campaign” and post reactions (several sources removed due to content apparently no longer available)

(Post and links updated November 2013)