Canadian folk legend Lynn Miles to headline Ottawa Grassroots Festival

Award-winning local musician Lynn Miles will headline this year’s Ottawa Grassroots Festival taking place April 25 – 28. She will perform April 25 at Irene’s Pub.

No credit

 By Jaden Croucher


Folk, bluegrass, blues and anything in between has a home at Ottawa’s very own Grassroots Festival. Founded by Bob Nesbitt back in 2012, the Ottawa Grassroots Festival is more than just performances. The festival pairs concerts with workshops to foster a vibrant creative community experience. This 12th annual edition takes place at Irene’s Pub and the First Unitarian Congregation of Ottawa from April 25 to 28.

Three multi-talented Canadian artists are set to take the stage as headliners – Charlie A’Court, Connie Kaldor and Lynn Miles and the Tumbleweeds. After releasing 16 albums, collaborating with Grammy-nominated artist Claire Lynch, scoring three Juno nominations, one Juno award and six Canadian Folk Music Awards, Miles continues her reign on the music scene with her most recent album Tumbleweedyworld which is nominated for Album of the Year at the 2024 Canadian Folk Music Awards. I had the chance to chat with Miles before her upcoming gig at Irene’s Pub on April 25.


What are you most looking forward to about the festival?

“This particular festival is very community oriented. It’s been going on for a while now. It’s a really lovely, small, community-run festival. [The] people are kind, and the music is great. I’m looking forward to doing a song-writing circle on Saturday. I love doing song-writing circles; it’s usually three or four songwriters sitting on stage, each playing a song, and explaining it. It’s really fun as a songwriter to hear other songwriters’ songs. That’s kind of the thing I want to do the most because especially if you’re a touring artist, you don’t run into other artists. You’re by yourself. When you get to the festival, you get to hang out with other artists, connect with them, listen to their music and get to see what they’re doing. That’s a big part of this festival for artists, when you get workshops, you get to see artists that you wouldn’t normally see together. I’m [also] looking forward to playing with my band because I really love these guys.”


What inspired your latest album, Tumbleweedyworld, and what message or emotions were you hoping to convey through your music?

“I think this is the first album I’ve ever done where I wasn’t really interested in conveying specific emotions or messages or anything. I just really wanted to salute bluegrass sounds. I love the sounds. Especially live with the three-part harmony, it’s just beautiful.”


As a Canadian singer/songwriter with a long and successful career, to what do you attribute your longevity and continued success?

“Well, music is the thing I love the most in the whole world, so I’m happy when I’m playing music, and I guess I’m just following my bliss. I’m doing the thing I love the most. It doesn’t always reward you financially, but it rewards me emotionally. [It] rewards my soul and my spirit. I just keep following that path. I think to keep going you need to grow as a human in terms of getting your ego in check and making sure your mental health is good. Open your eyes to what’s going on in the world, which is something hopefully you do as you get older. I think that can keep your music going forward.”


What advice do you have for aspiring artists who are looking to participate in the Ottawa Grassroots Festivals and establish themselves in the music industry?

“I would say practice, practice, practice. If you’re a songwriter, constantly be writing, keep your ears up, and tap into what’s going on in the world, what’s going on in your community and what’s going on in your own heart. Try to be kind to everybody. When you’re young, your ego can get in the way of the way you feel. You have to look bigger than you are, and that’s a part of the music industry that I don’t really like. Just be kind to people, form positive relationships with other artists and presenters, and be gracious as you would in any other line of work. I also emphasize mental health. When you’re a young artist, you’re sensitive. A lot of artists are very sensitive. The reason they’re artists is because they’re sensitive. So, when you’re young, work on your mental health. Figure out what the things are that stress you out. A lot of people have stage fright, anxiety or depression. Figure out a strategy to get through those things so that your art doesn’t suffer too much.”


For more information on the Ottawa Grassroots Festival, go to All daytime performances and workshops are free. Evening performances are free for kids 15 and under when accompanied by a ticketholder.


Jaden Croucher is a journalism student at Carleton and a writer for Her Campus Carleton.

Share this