Be In The Band

Ottawa Bluesfest Be in the Band (click for brochure)

071716_john-wenzel_be-in-the-band-061a-1Ottawa Bluesfest first launched the ‘Be in the Band’ initiative in January of 2009. The three-month pilot project put young musicians (ages 11 to 17) who wanted to be in a band together with other potential band-mates. The festival organization recruited a number of professional local musicians for mentoring the aspiring future stars and provided all the necessary tech support and equipment for the kids to truly enjoy a high-quality ensemble experience. To initiate the program, RBC Bluesfest—in partnership with the Glebe Neighbourhood Activities Group—created a band room and rehearsal space at the Tennis Club adjacent to the Glebe Community Centre. The room included a drum kit, a keyboard, guitar amps and a sound system. The pilot project went so well that the initiative was extended to the Michele Heights Community Centre in September of 2009. As of 2017 there are 14 locations from Rockland to Carleton Place, supporting up to 30 bands to perform at the festival as well as in their community.

Note to organizers of Community Youth Programs:
If you would like to express interest in participating in this program, please send inquiries to:


“When I first auditioned I didn’t know what I was getting into, but by the first or second rehearsal it was really cool to know what I’d be able to do by the end of it. Writing a song and seeing it come to life; that was probably the coolest part.”
Katelyn, Be in the Band Member

“The Royal is absolutely thrilled that RBC Bluesfest Be In The Band program is being offered again in 2013.  Last year, we had the privilege and honor to watch the band members not only build friendships and self-confidence but grow as people and amazing musicians. All of them came with different talents but with only one goal … to be in the band.”
Sue Riley, The Royal Participating Community Organization

Bluesfest Be In The Band Instrument Drive is Ongoing

What: Ottawa Bluesfest Musical Instrument Drive
When: Ongoing (except during the festival in July)
Where: Instruments can be dropped off between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Mondays through Fridays (except during the festival in July), at Ottawa Bluesfest HQ (Festival House), 450 Churchill Ave., N. (Mezzanine Level).
Why: We’re calling on the community to donate instruments,” says Ottawa Bluesfest’s executive director, Mark Monahan. “Many people have instruments at home that they’re not using. We’re hoping people will want to donate those instruments to a very worthy cause.” Ottawa residents are encouraged to drop off their out-of-use instruments at the Ottawa Bluesfest offices mentioned above.