By Aedan Helmer, Ottawa Sun
Urban-dwellers are going to have to learn to get along with the Cityfolk.
The city's info line was flooded with noise complaints in September -- coming primarily from Glebe residents -- when the 20th anniversary edition of the Ottawa Folk Festival took the stage four kilometres and two neighbourhoods away in Hog's Back Park.
Now, festival boss Mark Monahan is setting up shop right in their back yard, bringing the newly-rebranded Cityfolk Festival to Lansdowne Park for the 2015 edition.
"I think Lansdowne is a great site for outdoor events, and not specifically TD Place, but the entire park, with the Great Lawn, Aberdeen Pavilion, the Horticultural Building, and we've been talking with the city and looking at those spaces," said Monahan.
"And ultimately we've grown the Folk Festival to the point where staging at Hog's Back has become difficult logistically."
Monahan enjoyed some great success after taking the floundering festival under his wing and moving it to Hog's Back for four editions -- the audience and artistic budget expanding exponentially -- but the 2014 festival was marred by a war of words that erupted over a bylaw ticket issued on opening night.
But Monahan said the goal is to work with communities and residents to mitigate issues around the sound bleed.
"It's a site the city wants to promote as a cultural site, and not just sporting events, and I think this is a great anchor event," he said.
Monahan sat down with Capital Coun. David Chernushenko to smooth over any lingering ill feelings and to start ironing out the kinks.
Chernushenko, who was outspoken about the deluge of noise complaints, called it "a frank discussion where we talked about the good, the bad and the ugly of past festivals.
"I made clear what was very obvious to him, that this is a very urban venue, surrounded on all sides by residences," said Chernushenko.
"It was imperative that we ensured the organizers have full mastery over sound bleed."
Chernushenko agreed the festival could be a boon for the neighbourhood, saying "the idea that Glebe and Old Ottawa South residents don't like to have fun is a little overblown.
"They like fun, they just like it to be kept to a reasonable volume and time of day," he said.
Noise issues aside, the newly rebranded CityFolk Festival will still retain the same number of stages, and the site will still feature a free stage, likely at Aberdeen Pavilion.
The Great Lawn will serve as the festival's Main Bowl, with capacity for between 12,000 to 15,000 fans, with other areas reserved for side stages, workshops, a craft beer tent and public spaces.
"We see it as a great event site that can accommodate everything that we're doing," said Monahan.
"I think it will gain an even wider audience and be a great addition to the community there."
CityFolk is scheduled to run from Sept. 17 to 20.