Glowfair’s 10 Block Glowtopia Back to Dazzle Bank Street

Last time I told you all about the glow-rious music heading to Glowfair 2018 including the new bonus Thursday night of bright featuring EDM master-mixers Cash Cash. Today, we’re taking to the street because this fest is more than just a stage...it’s an experience. Between June 14-16, Glowfair is Ottawa’s largest block party and it all makes for one pretty incredible weekend. This year, some new additions are set to make Bank Street beam even brighter as the festival gives you more ways to get your glow on.

“This year each block has a full on immersive experience with major programming. It will be much like a mini event within each block. As you leave one you are brought into another theme,” says Festival Event Manager, Sabrina C. Lemay.

With ten blocks to plan for, Lemay adds that discussion with the team happens early on to plot out what was popular at the previous festival and what uniqueness they can bring to the next. They also keep an eye out for currents fads and trends to mix in with festival favourites like the always stretch-tastic Glow Yoga with Nigel Walker.

New this year is Swing City! Located on the strip of Bank between Gloucester and Nepean, this block is the festival’s playground. The area, home to Media Sponsor Jump Ottawa!, is set to really get you swinging with giant, glowing swing sets. Don’t forget to look upwards as Aerial Antics will be putting on some gravity defying performances here too. 

Turtle Island (the Cooper to Somerset block) will bring Canada’s Indigenous heritage and traditions to the festival. Lead by cultural ambassador and renowned dancer and visual artist, Jason Gullo, the block has performers, Elders and artists coming together around a traditional village recreation setting. Performing will be Toronto’s Classic Roots who fuses his own boreal spirit over tribal rhythms and techno beats. Jah’Kota is also coming to Turtle Island. Part Jamaican and part Nakota from Ocean Man First Nation in Saskatchewan, he now resides in Ottawa and will dropping some lyrical activism like his history making verse shared with the senate on National Aboriginal Day.

Another area visitors will want to explore will be Alchemy Alleyway. It’s right in front of the Morguard Mainstage so a good place to catch your breath while bending your mind with the areas theme of magic, illusion and augmented realities. What might Ottawa magician of the year Chris Pilsworth have up his sleeve for those who venture down the Alleyway?

More enchantment awaits in the returning Enchanted Forest, a gorgeous glow wood to wander within where, this year, you can also pick up #glowitems like wands and necklaces. Aerial Antics will be here as well, mystical glowing butterflies dancing through the LED trees. Juggler Yoshi Chladny may just pop up too because you never really know what you are going to find here. After being dazzled, you can get inspired within the Art Chaos section between Nepean and Lisgar. Here artists like Dom Laporte, Ryan Smeeton, Dan Metcalfe, and Daniel Martelock will showcase the talent O-town has to offer through public painting displays and colourful murals. Be sure to return a few times to see what stage your favourite work is at.

Cooper to Somerset becomes the Play Station, a spot where parents will want to bring their wee ones for face painting, super hero photo ops and giant Jenga! Nearby you will find the Marketplace to snag a few locally produced goods and crafts.

“There are so many interactive elements to the programming offering more than just being a spectator but becoming a participant in the process,” explains Festival General Manager, Christine Leadman.  “We have strived to diversify our programming to ensure that we reflect our communities and visitors making our event relatable to as many people as possible. We have so much fun putting it together that it is reflected in the final product every year.”

Speaking of fun, Vaudevillage will see the festival teaming with Ottawa Capital Pride to bring some classic circus-themed performances by LGBTQ burlesque group Capital Tease. They will also produce a sex-positive and family friendly vaudeville variety show. If that’s a little too far back for your time machine, the fest gets 70s/80s kind of retro with the new Rainbow Rollerrink between Gilmour and James! Skates will be available to rent or bring your own to this Boogie Wonderland where you can sip on some Pop Shoppe soda while movin’ to the groovin’.

There’s a lot going down in Centretown come June 14-16. When organizers said BIGGEST block party they could have tossed in a couple more adjectives like “fun-stopable”, “colorammerific” and “bedazalathon” to this annual Glowtopia!

“The vision behind Glowfair was to engage the public through music, art and light,” beams Leadman. “Highlighting up and coming Canadian talent for everyone to enjoy, celebrating our local artists who are recognized for their work outside of Ottawa and connecting them with the public to experience the artistic process on the street and going beyond being just another music festival."

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Holland Stille