Socially-distanced concerts coming to Eastern Ontario towns

Ottawa Bluesfest didn’t happen as planned this summer because of the pandemic, but the team behind the festival is finding creative ways to bring live music to the region.

There were drive-in concerts in July and August. There have been shows from a floating stage on the Rideau Canal.

Now, a modified version of the annual Festival of Small Halls is going ahead, featuringsocially-distanced shows with limited crowds to towns across Eastern Ontario.

“We hope that people will appreciate the fact that we’ve planned these out so they can take place with safety precautions in mind,” Bluesfest executive director Mark Monahan told CTV News Ottawa. “We have a plan for each venue, and I think people will respond.”

The festival runs Oct. 9 to 31 at venues in Almonte, Seeley’s Bay, Manotick and Brockville. It features Canadian artists such as Hawksley Workman, Devin Cuddy, Tim Baker, Hannah Georgas and Ben Caplan.

“This whole pandemic has been a chance to really reflect on how great Canadian artists are,” Monahan said. “We have phenomenal artists in Canada, many of them right here in our city and close by.”

Because of provincial regulations, there will be a maximum of 50 people allowed at each show. The venues would typically hold a couple hundred people.

Tickets went on sale Thursday morning, and can be purchased here.

Here’s a list of the performers, dates and venues for the 2020 Festival of Small Halls:

Almonte Old Town Hall:

Oct. 9 – Hawksley Workman (w/ Johnny Shay)

Oct. 10 – Tom Wilson

Oct. 11 (matinee) – Tim Baker

Seeley’s Bay Community Hall:

Oct. 16 – The Abrams

Oct. 17 – Devin Cuddy (w/ Johnny Shay)

Manotick United Church:

Oct. 23 – NQ Arbuckle

Oct. 24 – Kelly Prescott (w/ Jessica Mitchell)

Oct. 25 (matinee) – Great Lake Swimmers

St. John's United Church (Brockville):

Oct. 29 – Ben Caplan

Oct. 30 – Hannah Georgas (w/ Theo Tams)

Oct. 31 – Wild Rivers