It's been over a month since the festival, and we're still shaking our heads, wondering what happened. No, let's start that again.
Let's go with: Thank you.
Thank you all for making 2014, Arboretum Festival's most inspiring and successful year yet. We expected 1000 revellers that week; we got over 3000. For many of you, it was your first time, so we hope you'll come back. You showed us that you love this festival, and it LITERALLY would not have been possible without you coming down, spending your hard-earned ducats, and participating in all our programming. "Grateful" barely covers how we felt this year.
The Adam Saikaley Trio performing "Sabotage" in a ridiculously packed Manx Pub (sorry about that), Ottawa Vélo Vogue guiding you over the river to Vieux Hull in a magical bike convoy, a packed St. Alban's Church for Julie Doiron & The Wooden Stars, dancing under electric light at Open Air Social Club, New Swears crowning themselves the irrefutable party princes of Ottawa's new decade; and lest we forget, a glorious weekend at Arts Court where The Constantines, Chad Vangaalen, Kevin Drew, and so many more helped us share the last breaths of Summer 2014's temperamental meteorology.
So many of our local acts including Bosveld, Hilotrons, The Yips, Fiftymen, Blue Angel and Pony Girl received glowing, national reviews. Our hearts beat a little faster knowing our city's great artists got quality slots with appreciative audiences and didn't have trek to neighbouring cities to make a mark.
Over 40 organizations, community partners, and local presentation partners, helped us create the festival this year. They are noble, community-minded organizations, and might want to help you too.
Our Backlot BBQ by Murray Street, town, Rideau Pines farms & Union Local 613 was a perfect way to start the weekend, and we can still taste that roasted corn. Saturday's food carts were revelatory, and we are still getting feedback about them.
You apparently loved our venue showcases...a lot...maybe too much. We apologize for those of you that might have not gotten into your desired show, and we're wracking our brains to figure out the perfect balance of all-access passes, venue capacities, and door prices to make the festival as accessible, equitable, and participatory as possible. The sound quality, consideration of venue, and overall experience for audience AND artist are always at the forefront of our planning. Shit's gotta be tight.
Probably one of the festival's biggest hits was our collab with MTL's En Masse collective. Jason Botkin and company created an unforgettable piece of work, over 50 of you took home a piece of it, and even Chad Vangaalen got in on the art. We were seriously giddy all day watching that go down. The Ottawa Art Gallery's Ola Wlusek get's major props for introducing us to them.
Our installation team defied expectation this year. From glowing geodesic clouds to mind-jarring, strobing obelisks, the team forged immutable visions, and proved that million-dollar budgets, though nice, have very little to do with the quality and originality of our communal spaces.
Lastly, we are again awed and humbled by the diligence of our volunteers and staff. You actually DON'T understand. Everyone outside the artists and contractors get paid to put on ARB, the rest of us don't. This isn't some plea for acknowledgement, but a reminder that the core of this festival is imagined, daydreamed, fastened and hauled by an astounding collection of your friends and fellow citizens. We are honoured to work with you.
We could go on endlessly, but who the hell has time; we don't, we're already hard at work on next year's festival. In the meantime, we hope you'll keep ARB2014's memories locked away tight, and will spend the next 12 months eating, sleeping, taking in amazing art, and sharing your best thoughts with the people closest to you.
Nota Bene: People we couldn't live without
We acknowledge the support of The Government of Canada, FACTOR, The Royal Architecture Institute of Canada, the City of Ottawa's Community Arts Program, SOCAN Foundation, the Downtown Rideau BIA, The Manx, and MEGAPHONO.
Heartfelt thanks go out to Arts Court, Steve's Music, Kichesippi Beer, and the Ottawa Arts Council. Immeasurable support also came from our friends at the Ottawa Art Gallery, Rubicon Photography, Magpie Jewellery, Canvas Pop, SAW Video, the Ottawa International Animation Festival, Artengine, the Albion Rooms, LUNCH, and the office of Councillor Mathieu Fleury. There are so many more important community and presentation partners that helped us, and we urge you to creep them here.