Originally posted here at apt613.

By Jared Davidson

Last week, details emerged for this year’s Fringe Festival, and what a festival it promises to be. This year, Ottawa’s biggest theatre festival will get even bigger, sporting 54 productions over its ten day run. Beginning on June 20th, fringe-goers will be treated to some of the most eclectic theatre out there, and for only ten bucks a ticket, it’s hard to resist spending a night or two enjoying the unpredictability and energy found at the Fringe.

And this year, there’s even more reason to get down to Arts Court. In addition to the usual free programming at the Fringe courtyard, The Fringe will be putting on a series of free concerts featuring some of the most interesting musical performers around. The courtyard behind the fringe festival will be graced by the likes of The PepTides, The Elwins, and StillNative.

Part concert series, part celebration of the Fringe itself, the free concerts will begin on June 19th in tandem with the Fringe’s launch party. And what better way to celebrate everything Fringe than with a performance by the PepTides, Ottawa’s premiere doo-wop-rockabilly-funk band. There’s something about their music that just screams “reckless abandon,” something the Fringe has always traded in. And if their performance at last year’s Bluesfest was any indication, the audience is in for one heck of a treat.

The very next night, June 20, the courtyard will play host to the preview night, in which every Fringe performer will have two minutes to hook the audience. After that display of frenetic theatre, the Blue Sky Miners, a Toronto folk act, will take to the stage to cool things down.

The concert series comes to a close with performances by The Elwins (June 27th) and StillNative (Canada Day). The Elwins are a pop-rock quartet from Toronto, and their stage banter alone is enough to make them worth checking out. They are some of the nicest, and probably strangest people I have had the pleasure of meeting, and their music reflects that. And it’d be hard to find a better way to close out the series than the bluesy, soulful tunes of Ottawa’s StillNative. They’re sure to take the festival out with a bang, or at least a twang.

“Inviting musicians to the Ottawa Fringe is just as much about bringing beats and parties to the Courtyard beer tent as it is a call to musicians unaware that Ottawa’s largest theatre festival is a setting for music and other art forms, too,” says Gregg Clark, Communications Manager. We can only hope that this means more music of this calibre will be featured at the fest in later years.

And that’s only a taste of what’s going on in the Arts Court courtyard this year. Every night of the festival, something wild is happening out there. And everything is free but the beer! The full listings feature such attractions as a karaoke night, a performance by the Rockalily Burleque Troupe, something called “Freaky Fringe-O-Ween” and a plethora of other strange and wonderful attractions. Check it out!

If you can’t wait until the 19th to get cracking on some Fringe fun, tonight the GCTC is playing host to a curry cook off, with proceeds going to the Fringe Festival. Tickets are 25 dollars, and give you access to curries crafted by many local restaurants and chefs.