The Nilsen Report is excited to be covering the Ottawa Folk Festival for the very first time, and this year’s CAN’T MISS lineup is absolutely KILLER!

Event Details

Event Date(s): Wed, September 10, 2014 – Sun, September 14, 2014
Location(s): Hog’s Back Park, 601 Hog’s Back Rd, Ottawa, ON
Ticket Info(s): Click HERE!

Main attractions this year include Foster the People, Lorde. J.Cole, Serena Ryder, Blue Rodeo, The National and Gaslight Anthem.

Many of the best new era folk groups will be coming to Ottawa for the first time, including Elephant Revival, the Lone Bellow, the Carper Family and Hurray for the Riff Raff.

Also playing: Strumbellas, NQ Arbuckle, Neutral Milk Hotel, Ed Kowalczyk, The Wiggles, Fred Penner and many more. In total there will be more than 60 acts playing on seven stages, with a large portion of the shows being free.

Official Day-By-Day Lineup


Highlighted Acts

Foster The People

Wednesday, September 10th 2014 – EH! Stage 9:30 pm – 10:45 pm

Skip to the 1 hour mark to catch these guy playing just recently at Lollapalooza!

First formed in Los Angeles, California in 2009, indie rock trio Foster the People were a bunch of guys in their mid-twenties who used Foster and the People as their initial moniker. But since people often misheard the name and called it Foster the People instead, members Mark Foster, Cubbie Fink and Mark Pontius opted the name. Another reason is because the new one has an underlying meaning.

Foster, Fink and Pontius were friends first before bandmates. After hanging out with them separately in Los Angeles, Foster brought them together to pursue their passion in music. “I’ve been playing music and writing songs on my own for a while. I was happy being a solo artist for a long time, but eventually it reached a point where I was like: ‘Man, I’m ready to put a band together again!’ And so I did,” Foster explained in an interview.

They began by performing at charity shows like Toms Shoes ‘Day Without Shoes’ as they figure out the band’s direction. Their first published creation “Pumped Up the Kicks” then received significant airplay on KRQQ back in 2010. Thanks to the single, the band quickly gained attention online. The song also reached number one on Billboard’s Alternative Songs chart and 13 on Billboard Hot 100.

From there, it was all downhill. The group got into Coachella Music Festival in 2011 and their first album was on the way. Speaking of their first effort which is called “Torches” and was released on May 23, 2011, Foster gushed, “It’s super versatile. I think that the one quality that distinguishes it as a body of work is just joy. It’s a joyous record. I think there’s an underlying joy in all of the songs, even if the lyrics are dark. I’m excited. You haven’t heard anything like it yet from us.”

“Torches” debuted at number 8 on the Billboard 200 chart and sold 33,000 copies in the first week.

Read more:


Thursday, September 11th 2014 – EH! Stage – 8:00 pm – 9:15 pm

Amidst a world of calculating contest winners, manufactured show ponies and cheap knock offs – Lorde is a true original. Born Ella Yelich-O’Connor on 7 November 1996 in Auckland’s North Shore, Lorde listened to the likes Neil Young, Fleetwood Mac, The Smiths and Nick Drake, alongside soul artists such as Etta James and Otis Redding when she’s growing up. With a mother who is a celebrated poet herself, she became quite familiar with the likes of T.S.Eliot, Ezra Pound, Allan Ginsberg, Raymond Carver and Sylvia Plath.

Lorde spent much of her early life working with Universal to develop her sound and artistic vision. She was spotted at the age of 12 by A&R scout Scott Maclachlan and later signed to Universal at the age of 13 and began working with songwriters at 14. “I started writing songs when I was 13 or 14 because I’ve always been a huge reader. My mum’s a poet and we’ve always had so many books, and that’s always been a big thing for me, arguably more so than music,” she said.

The combination of nutritious musical diet and the essential poetic influence helped shape her into an artist with a strong melodic and lyrical footing.

A diva in training, she enriched her musical influence through the years by embracing contemporary music coming from James Blake, Bon Iver, Burial, Animal Collective, SBTRKT and Drake.

Her first EP “The Love Club EP” was released in March 2013 with no major marketing or publicity, but it managed to land her at #1 on the New Zealand Album Chart. Single “Royals” simultaneously occupied the top spot in the singles chart – without so much as a video on YouTube. In August 2013, she became the first woman to top the Billboard Alternative Songs chart in the United States since Tracy Bonham did so in 1996.

While still riding high on the success of her extended play, Lorde is gearing up to release her first-ever full-length album “Pure Heroine”. If the impressive chart performance of her EP is any indication of how the upcoming album will do, she is expected to make a notable debut on the album chart when the CD is released in September.

Read more:

J. Cole

Friday, September 12th 2014 – Ravenlaw Stage 8:00 pm – 9:15 pm

J. Cole may be first known as Jay-Z’s protege but he has emerged from the sideline to become a Billboard chart topper. He was born Jermaine Lamarr Cole on January 28, 198 in Frankfurt, Germany on to a European American mother and an African American father. He moved to Fayetteville, North Carolina with his mother when his father left the family.

Cole fascination of rapping started at the age of 14 when J. Money put him in the rap game and his cousin showed him the basics of rhyming and word play. He was an expert in lyrics first before in beats. His mother then bought him a beat machine which helped him to produce his own music. Cole spent the remainder of his teen years as Therapist, posting his music online under the moniker.

In pursuit of a better chance, he moved to New York City as soon as he graduated from high school He enrolled in St. John’s University on an academic scholarship where he majored in communication and minored in business, graduating magna cum laude. He was working as a bill collector in the city but his passion laid somewhere else. Cole first came up with a mixtape called “The Come Up” in 2007.

With only courage and determination, Cole stood outside Jay-Z’s office building for hours to give him his demo tape. But when the big rapper came out, Cole was shunned. But luck came not long before that. He received a text from an associate who told him that he has a business meeting with Jay-Z to attend.

Jay-Z apparently heard his song “Lights Please”. Cole was officially the first artist to be signed to Jay-Z’s Roc Nation. “I got the record deal,” Cole recalled, “but I still had to learn and improve as far as being ready to drop an album.” He was then featured in his mentor’s album “The Blueprint 3” on the track “A Star Is Born.” From there, Cole was a known collaborator, working with Wale, Talib Kweli, Mos Def, B.o.B and a lot more.

Read more:

Follow the Ottawa Folk Fest:


For more information about Ottawa Folk Festival, visit their official website here!