SOUND SEEKERS: Festival Lowdown — from a DJ class to gastronomic delights, all you need to party hard this weekend
Scene & Heard

SOUND SEEKERS: Festival Lowdown — from a DJ class to gastronomic delights, all you need to party hard this weekend

Sound Seekers by Fateema Sayani is published weekly at Read Fateema Sayani’s culture column in Ottawa Magazine and follow her on Twitter @fateemasayani

There are actually three festivals happening this weekend — but two of them are getting the most publicity. While the new Arboretum Festival and the beloved House of Paint festival will be taking place inside the city limits, a group of punk rockers and music scenesters will head to Finch, Ont., for Barnstorm 13 on Saturday. It’s an annual gathering that’s open to all. This year’s lineup includes GOOD2GO, Jack Pine & the Fire, and No Fly List. Tickets are $20 and you can set up a tent on the grounds.

Ohbijou performs at Arboretum.

The Arboretum Festival on Sept. 15 takes over the areas in and around Arts Court and the jail-turned-hostel that’s become a Music Scene It Spot in the last little while. The new festival, launched by Acorn band dude Rolf Klausener with help from his friends, starts early on Saturday with a kids’ music station. There are bands playing throughout the day and into the night when DJ duo Jokers of the Scene will bring a club vibe to the courtyard of the jail hostel.  The festival also celebrates the city’s gastronomic delights with a full roster of restaurants who are serving meals and snacks in the courtyard throughout the day and evening. The detailed schedule can be found here. Music-wise, I’d suggest taking in the experimental sounds of Sandro Perri. Cadence Weapon is endlessly entertaining with wordplay. Boyhood is an Ottawa buzz band, while DJ Adam Saikaley is always solid. Arboretum is a great name for an Ottawa festival — it celebrates a great part of the city, but could be confusing to newbies who are looking for a rock concert at that place lovingly known as the Central Park of Capital City.

House of Paint, which runs Sept. 13 to 16, has been part of the Ottawa cultural calendar since 2003. The festival celebrates four elements of hip-hop (rhyming, breaking, DJing, graffiti painting) through art shows, concerts, and workshops across the city. This festival was a pop-up party well before the word was overused. B-Girl Sabra Ripley and her team found an underused space (the Dunbar Bridge by Carleton University) and turned it into a breakdancing, DJ, and graffiti site for a community of headz. That space is still House of Paint HQ and the day-long main event, called the House of Paint jam, takes place there on Saturday from noon until it’s dark. (Free admission.) Head back under the bridge on Sunday afternoon for a day-long concert with Shad, Maestro Fresh Wes, Kid Koala, Flight Distance, Masia One, Radio Radio, D-Track, Atherton, Killa Karyen, and Magnificent. Tickets are $20 for that show.

Kid Koala will be offering a special DJ master class at Carleton on Saturday. Photo by AJ Korkidakis.

Also part of the House of Paint programming is a special DJ master class with Kid Koala. It takes place Sunday from noon-2 p.m. inside Studio A on the ninth floor of the Loeb Building at Carleton University. Kid Koala (aka Eric San) says he’ll teach interested turntablists about basic DJ equipment and how each piece works together (samplers, synthesizers, vocoders). There will be lessons on scratching and using a mixer too. San will be standing at the front of the room and will have small cameras facing all of his equipment so that you can see his close-up moves, almost like a cooking show. He’ll call volunteers up to the front of the class to help build bits of a track. He plans to throw in a bit of historical context on block parties and how DJ culture developed. San says he teaches a number of community classes when touring as Kid Koala because he likes sharing the knowledge. “DJ-ing has always been a craft that’s passed on through jam sessions,” he says. Tickets to the event are $15 and the class is open to all, regardless of skill level.

Looking ahead to the weekend starting on Thursday, September 27, we see that music lovers have the choice of the Up and Up Music Festival. It’s a three-day musical showcase running in clubs around Ottawa and Gatineau featuring global beat bands including People Project. That’s also when the O-Town Hoedown infiltrates the city’s clubs with a range of country music styles from hillbilly to death-country to blues.