When anyone mentions festivals in Ottawa, there are a few "majors" that come to mind. One of these key festivals is, of course, the infamous Cisco Ottawa Bluesfest, which attracted a total of 394,000 attendees in 2009. As the nation's festival capital, Ottawa boasts a number of extremely large, heavily hyped, and well-marketed events. Of all of these significant and culturally stimulating celebrations, Cisco Bluesfest is arguably the largest, or at least the most glorified. With such a monster claiming its presence for almost two full weeks in the middle of July annually, why would any other music festival even attempt to compete for attendees? Whatever the reason, a new classical music festival in Ottawa has decided to do just that.
Music and Beyond will take place in the nation's capital from July 5th to the 14th. Though the website lists numerous sponsors, including media, I can honestly say that the first and only time I have heard anything about it was while surfing the Ottawa Festivals website. (And truth be told, I was browsing the site to find out
when Bluesfest starts!) While the event features an impressive 85 concerts and 350 musicians, including world-renowned names, this first-time festival has nothing on the word-of-mouth marketing power that Bluesfest does. If this is the case, does Music and Beyond strive to draw attendees away from Bluesfest with little to no marketing of the event and no mainstream "star power"? Or does it act as an enhancement to the behemoth festival by providing a more "refined" selection to those who simply don't enjoy the more popular genres?
It seems safe to say that Music and Beyond would not attempt to duke it out with Bluesfest for attendees, but rather the whole point of scheduling one alongside the other is to entice even more tourists to the region. Between the two events running in tandem, families with dissimilar tastes in music can enjoy world-class performances in varied styles, and do it together in the nation's capital! So while you're online browsing the net for tickets to Iron Maiden, check out the Music and Beyond website. You may see something you're interested in that (surprisingly!) doesn't involve head banging or beer tents.