Lynn Saxberg, Ottawa Citizen
The 2015 edition of the Ottawa Folk Festival will have a slick new name and an urban home to mark the start of its third decade of existence. CityFolk will take place at Lansdowne Park from Sept. 17-20.
The move to the newly revamped Bank Street landmark comes after four years of butting heads with Mother Nature at the lush, green Hog's Back Park site. Though spacious and picturesque, the National Capital Commission park was never designed for large events, noted festival director Mark Monahan in an interview.
"It really is a difficult site to manage when you have any kind of precipitation," Monahan said, recalling the muck that developed at Hog's Back when it rained. "There's no water or power or service roads. Just basic servicing of toilets and vendors is extremely difficult. It is a beautiful location but problematic in many ways for a larger event."
At the Lansdowne Park site, the CityFolk main stage will be located on the Great Lawn, the expanse of green space next to the TD Place football stadium. The festival will also make use of the Aberdeen Pavilion, the Horticulture Building and likely some of the other public spaces, but not the stadium. No big jump in attendance is expected; capacity of the new site is estimated at about 15,000 people.
Of course, moving the festival to the heart of the city may spark a flurry of noise complaints from nearby residents, especially considering the fest was charged this year after complaints during the opening-night concert by Foster the People. To deal with the issue in the new site, organizers say they will be mindful of the direction the main stage faces, and are considering the idea of presenting concerts earlier in the evening so the music is finished by 10 p.m. Monahan said he hopes to further discuss the city's noise bylaw with Capital ward Coun. David Chernushenko in the new year.