One of the best parts of any folk festival is the opportunity to engage in what’s going on and to get in on dancing, playing music, art projects, and more. The Ottawa Folk Festival is no exception! You may find opportunities to join in around any corner of the festival – we encourage you to take up the adventure.

Here are just a few of the many options for participating at the festival…

Families & Kids at the Festival

Whether you’re a big kid or a small one, there’s something for you at the Folk Festival. We have an official KidZone with activities all day Saturday and Sunday as well as many other activities around the site that create a family-friendly experience.

Check out the Musical Petting Zoo (more than 100 instruments to touch and try), the parade (make costumes, instruments, and join in the fun), children’s performers, dance tent activities, and more…

Saturday KidZone Programming is presented in association with GNAG in the Glebe (  Sunday KidZone Programming is presented in association with Dovercourt Recreation Centre (

Daytime workshops

This year the Ottawa Folk Festival is proud to present the Workshops On The Point (curated by the Ottawa Folklore Centre)featuring an amazing schedule of daytime workshops on Saturday and Sunday. Come watch musicians you love perform, chat and interact with other artists in these unique workshops. With the Ottawa Folklore Centre at the helm, there will be opportunities for you to learn and participate as well!


The Mural

Presented by TD Bank

Come and “ParticiPaint” with local artist Arthur II at our beautiful festival mural! An annual tradition since 2007, each year festival-goers are invited to leave their creative mark on the wall of canvases.  ParticiPainters (no experience required) add their artistic flair based on a yearly theme.  At the end of the festival, Arthur II ties everything together – the results are stunning. Join us, paint, and see the white walls of this large scale mural transform into a beautiful piece of art!


Dance Tent

This year’s Dance activities:

Saturday, September 7

  • 1:00 PM — GNAG Dance prenestations
  • 2:00 PM — Elaborhythm with Joel Daquis
  • 3:00 PM — Soul Movement with Tatiana Nemchin

Sunday, September 8

  • 1:00 PM — Contra Dance with Catherine Burns, music from the Old Sod Band

Now in its sixth year, the dance tent will offer several workshops teaching new dancestyles including Bollywood, Step Dancing, and more — the dance floor welcomes all!

NO DANCE PARTNERS OR DANCE EXPERIENCE NECESSARY.You don’t even need to know your left foot from your right…we welcome dancers with two left feet.

Come & get that body moving!


Instrument lock-up for all

Instrument lock-up is available to all festival-goers. We want you to feel welcome to bring your instruments on site and join in the fun. (Note – only instruments can be checked in.)



Terry Penner Festival Choir

Join in an Ottawa Folk Festival tradition and go from patron to performer in an

Festival patrons are welcome to be a part of this unique choir experience, under
the capable direction of Andy Rush. Learn a couple of tunes — arranged by Andy —
during two choir rehearsal sessions on Sunday, September 8, and then hit the
main stage for a performance!

Those interested in participating are asked to arrive at the festival site at
11:00 AM (in advance of the festival’s opening hours). The group will meet at
the Dance Tent for an initial rehearsal. There will be a second rehearsal
session at 2:00 PM on the Legacy Stage in the Workshops On The Point area of the
festival grounds. Participants are encouraged to attend both rehearsals so that
the choir will sound its very best!

We look forward to hearing your lovely voices on Sunday, September 8!

And there’s more… make sure to scope the park for your opportunity to join in on the fun.