Festival Guide: Arboretum Festival

Where: Ottawa, Ont.
When: August 17-21

What It Is

Ottawa is buzzing once again in anticipation of the fifth edition of Arboretum Festival. Over the years, the festival has grown from a boutique music and arts festival held in a parking lot to a full-on institution in the capital. This includes incorporating and celebrating important aspects of Ottawa’s music, art, food, history, activism and more.

The Concert Village includes venues and spaces around town that host band showcases, conference panels, mixers, speed meetings and after parties. Folks with full festival passes can bounce around the map and catch intimate performances, schmooze, and really see what Ottawa has to offer under the surface.

The Festival Village brings together some of the best local food, drink, shops and more, in addition to music. The village itself features the main stage and the Debaser stage, host of emerging and experimental acts. The Arboretum organizers promise no Jumbotrons.

(Editor’s note: The above section is an abbreviated segment from Ottawa Showbox’s Arboretum preview written by Mixtape Magazine contributor Matías Muñoz. Follow Ottawa Showbox for coverage throughout the festival.)


Junglepussy, Metz, Beliefs, Dilly Dally, Evening Hymns, Lido Pimienta, Mykki Blanco, Nap Eyes, Operators, Sloan, Tim Hecker, Jef E. Barbara’s Black Space, Fet. Nat.

For the full lineup and schedule, visit Arboretum’s website.

Mix Picks


Here’s how conversations usually happen when discussing a music festival I recently attended.

Friend: “Oh cool, who were your favourite bands you saw?”
Me: “Umm, a lot of bands. I can’t remember.”

It’s easy for memories to turn to mush after hearing dozens of bands over a short period of time, and let’s be honest, possibly dozens of drinks as well. I can pretty much promise when people ask who you saw at Arboretum, you’ll say Partner, even if you didn’t actually see them. The band form Sackville, N.B. plays songs that consistently trigger that ear-to-ear smile from those “oh yeah, I totally get what you’re talking about here” moments. Last month, Partner ruled the SappyFest mainstage with laughter, sweet and tears. Lucy Niles and Josée (Choder) Caron are no strangers to making incredible music, but the secret is out. Partner are an important, must-see band.

See Partner on Wednesday, August 17, House of Common, 9pm

Scott Hardware

The artist formerly known as Ken Park, real name Scott Hardwood, released his first album under the name Scott Hardware earlier this year. We see what you did there, Scott. Along with a new name for releases, Hardwood has slowly leaked more indie pop influences into the electronic pop foundation previously found on Ken Park songs. Catchy loops and repeated mantras are traded in for a more traditional storytelling lyric structure. What remains constant is the chilling, yet oddly comforting mood that flows through the veins of the tracks. It teeters on the fine line of bedroom-producer electronic music and indie dance floor-ready jams. I’m listening to Scott Hardware at home right now, but you should listen to him at the festival IRL.

Scott Hardware, Thursday, August 8, House of Common, 7:30pm

Mix Tips

Be sure to check out Assembly, the fancy name for the conference portion of the festival. it’s where informative, interactive, and sometimes uncomfortable but necessary discussions can be had about challenges people in our community face. – Matías Muñoz

Friend of Mixtape, and occasional contributor Jill Krajewski can be found at Bar Robo at 12:30 on Thursday, August 18 chatting about media relations tips in the current age.

Okay, now if you’ve read this far, thanks. Also, free brunch on Saturday for All-Access Pass and Saturday Pass holders. Free. Brunch.

Mix Picks, Mix Tips and Partner photo by Jonathan Briggins.

About Jonathan Briggins 71 Articles
Editor-in-chief of Mixtape magazine.