CityFolk – 25th Anniversary Celebration

CityFolk has come a long way and marks its 25th year since its original incarnation as the Ottawa Folk Festival was launched back in 1994 by Max Wallace (Station Manager of the community radio station CKCU-FM).  Wallace was the festival’s Director for its first two years of operation, (1994 & 1995). First held on Victoria Island (Ottawa River), it moved to Britannia in 1995 where it remained until 2010. 

The team behind Ottawa Bluesfest began to produce the festival in 2011 and from 2011–2014 the festival was held at Hog’s Back Park in central Ottawa. In 2015, Mark Monahan, who is the the current executive and artistic director and his team re-branded the Ottawa Folk Festival as the CityFolk Festival and re-located it to the beautiful and far more accessible facility at Lansdowne Park.

Now, a multi-genre event, CityFolk has increased attendance from hundreds daily to tens of thousands for festival goers taking in this end of summer music festival in the Nation’s capital of Ottawa.

Featured acts have included Van Morrison, Bon Iver, Kendick Lamar, Lorde, Avett Brothers, J. Cole, Vance Joy, James Bay, Vampire Weekend, Jack Johnson, and Post Malone, among others making CityFolk a true festival come back success story thanks to the hard work and efforts of Mark Monahan and his Ottawa Bluesfest team.

It looks like 2018 will see the continued success of this amazing event with yet another stellar lineup for CityFolk that includes the inimitable David Byrne; the voice of the Doobie Brothers and piano-man par excellence, Michael McDonald; Icelandic icons Kaleo; Ottawa’s own Juno Award winning swamp-blues rockers, MonkeyJunk; and a wide array of other world-class acts.

“We’re confident that this year’s line-up will create quite a buzz among music fans from Ottawa and beyond,” says CityFolk’s executive and artistic director, Mark Monahan. “Several of the acts we were able to book—such as David Byrne—have been on our wish list for quite a few years.”

The 25th anniversary celebration will also include Marvest—a harvest of terrific local talent, including many Ottawa acts that have performed at the Ottawa Folk Festival in past years. Marvest takes place in Bank Street area venues, is free of charge and family friendly, making it a great opportunity to check out some amazing talent with the kids. Performers, places, and times will be announced once that program is confirmed, and we would recommend that you Check out the CityFolk ( for more to come in the weeks ahead.

This year’s CityFolk runs for five amazing days—from Wednesday, September 12 through Sunday, September 16 with fantastic performances from local and international artists making it an event for everyone in addition to great performances the festival site is licensed and offers a wide variety of food, beverages, and merchandise concessions so you can take something home to remember this year CityFolk Festival.

By AJ Sauve