One of the great things about living in Ottawa are all the festivals and celebrations that happen all summer long. In addition to the biggies like Bluesfest, Jazzfest and Cityfolk (née Folkfest) there are dozens of others that are well worth a visit (Buskerfest, Greekfest, Arboretum Festival, Capital Pride, etcetera), and a lot of them are located on the front lawn of City Hall, just a kilometre or two away from my house along the pretty Rideau Canal (which itself is a World Heritage site, doncha know).
One of my annual favourites is the Festival of India – sucker as I am for their tasty food and incredible music* – so on August 9th, 2015 I cycled down the canal and enjoyed a lovely summer evening of (you guessed it) tasty food and incredible music.
Cradling a cardboard tray of papadum and butter chicken (or some such culinary delight) I stood and thoroughly enjoyed a joyously meandering set of buzz-filled mono-chordal Indian classical music and dance before headliners Delhi 2 Dublin took the stage to present their raucous blend of…well, the name says it all. I had seen these guys at least once before (at Blue Skies, of course; they are such a Blue Skies sort of band), and with their fiddles and sitars blazing behind high-energy, feel-good vocals they once again reached across every cultural boundary one could find on the lawn that night and amalgamated the crowd into a mass of equally vaguely-interested gawkers.
I stood among them and gawked along until my interest waned to the point of no return, which took about thirty, maybe forty minutes. I got what I had come for already – a taste of Indian food and traditional Indian music – so I cycled home early and let the Doppler-effected strains of the festival fade behind me.
*I’m utterly shocked that I still have not visited India. Though it’s been at or near the top of my list for years, I feel like it’s somewhere that would require months to explore rather than weeks, so I’m reluctant to book a ticket until I know I’ll have sufficient time to find a good sitar teacher and do some serious studying. M’lady and I had planned an eight-month sojourn there shortly before we got our cat. Unfortunately that cute little furball put the brakes on that trip and has stymied any thoughts of leaving the country for such an elongated length of time. But the minute Chilly Willy gets a job and moves out on his own we’re booking a trip to India.