It’s finally here! The Glowfair music, light and art festival is happening tonight and all day tomorrow. Our editor Kevin Bourne had the opportunity to speak to the producer, Kevin Martin, about this year’s festival.
KB: So, what was the feedback that you guys got after last year’s event?KM: Well, it was really crazy because the positive feedback we received walking the streets, just kind of over hearing what people were saying was really fun. “This is like Montreal”, “We can’t believe Ottawa’s doing this” and “This is needed down here more often”. It was just really positive. The main thing that really hit, we surveyed over 300 people to get a good number and we actually had about a 98.5% positive, “Yes, we will come back next year feedback.”KB: Wow.
KM: So that was to me was just amazing. So out of 27,000 people that we had come down, for 98% of them to say they would come back next year because they enjoyed themselves, I felt that’s really good.
KB: So, what was that like? You guys expected 5000; you guys got 27,000. What was the reaction from you guys when you actually saw how many people came out?
KM: Well, kind of a bit of both, you know, exhilaration. Because at the beginning of the day people were coming down, it was great. Kind of what we expected. And then a bit later on in the afternoon and then in the early evening we saw our social media and hashtags and stuff were really taking off. And, you know, a lot of action happening there. And people just continued to come down, and come down, and come down and you know, it was just…it was awesome. Like we just couldn’t believe how well it was received. And you know, we didn’t expect it at all. The only issue, I guess, we had to deal with was a little bit of crowd control. We had to get some more police in to make sure everything was safe and for being organized that way. To me, that’s a great problem to have.
KB: And how many people are you expecting this year?
KM: Well, we’re…40,000. But, I would be honestly surprised if we got any less than, you know, 45 or 50.
KB: Wow, wow, wow.
KM: Yeah, it’s going to be incredible. The feedback that we’ve been receiving. And the publicity that’s been going on and I think it’s gonna be a really great festival this year.
KB: Ok, good. And last year it was 8 blocks that you guys had covered?
KM: Actually, I think it was 7 but yeah, 7 or 8.
KB: Ok, and this year you’re expecting, is it 10 blocks?
KM: It is, yeah, we’re doing 10 blocks it’s closed down from Slater all the way south to James. And we also have the little area where Snider Plaza is, just off of Bank Street there.
KB: So, it’s Snider Plaza where the stage is going to be?
KM: Yeah, just behind actually. Snider Plaza called, what, A Glow Zone, it’s being sponsored by Kronenberg Beer and they’re doing this really cool neon lounge with glow in the dark bars and furniture and all that fun stuff.
KB: Ok, good. So it seems with this year you’re going bigger and better- bigger acts, more numbers, more blocks. What was your thought process in deciding to go that much bigger and better?
KM: Yeah, well, I thought last year year we did an amazing job. You know, the music was handled really well. The stages were really well-received. Some of the feedback that we did receive from the festival goers and from our members was that we could of had a little bit more stuff happening for families during the day and on the street. So, what we really wanted to focus in on is our theme blocks. That was the idea for the theme blocks to come about.
KB: And last year you guys didn’t have the theme blocks?
KM: No. We basically we just did a little bit of decor. And then this year we thought it’s a little bit more focused and we’re going to theme block everything. So yeah, each of the blocks that I mentioned earlier actually has a theme. You know, decor and entertainment performers and stuff that’ll speak to the theme.
KB: So and what are the different themes?
KM: Well, they will range from Enchanted Forestm a quiet place with neon lights and big trees and benches where you can sit and listen to storytellers. It goes all the way to a circus block where we’re going to have Ottawa’s Company of Fools and the Ottawa Clown School and buskers and a strong man. And, you know, basically a circus on the street. We’ll also have an area dedicated to Morocco called the Moroccan Bazaars so we’re going to have a Moroccan tent with vendors and a Moroccan Barbecue and Moroccan entertainers, etc.
We have a Kid Zone where the kids have lots of stuff to do during the day. And we have a pinball wizard. It’s a skateboard weekend that weekend. I guess that’s an international thing. And so antique skate shop is actually doing a pinball themed skatepark so actual skateboarders are going to be able to do their jumps and tricks and all that stuff on pieces of ramp and things that have been built. It’s going to look like a big pinball machine. So, that’s going to be pretty awesome.
KB: Ok. And, is there anything different that we can expect this year from last year?
KM: Yeah, like I said definitely more stuff happening on the street. We really put a focus on bringing in some more glow. You know, the streets are going to be a little bit more lighted and black lighted, neon and everything else. So, I think that’s going to be a lot of fun. We have this thing that’s going to be amazing. We’re doing a glow yoga session on the Friday night. Everybody’s going to be dressed in white we’re going to put black light canons on them. So they’ll be glowing in the middle of the street. That’s pretty cool.
Saturday we have a couple of vow renewals. One of them is during the day so they’re going to be dressed in all neon colours. And at night they’re gonna be dressed in lighted outfits. So that should be pretty cool. Yeah, like you said, basically there’s just a lot more stuff happening for the themes and of course really awesome stuff we did last year with the silent disco and the black Mohawk performers we had last year that were well-received. Like you said, a lot higher named artists or bigger named artists. We’re really excited to have Keisza coming.
KB: You talk about the yeah the bluetooth headsets you guys had last year. Is there any other ways that you guys plan to use technology at the event?
KM: Well, bluetooth, yeah we’re doing that again for sure. That was awesome. Do, did you check it out actually? Did you see it?
KB: I wasn’t there last year, but I saw. I was reading up on the old articles and I saw the pictures.
KM: It was surreal walking by on the outside of the stage just separated by chain link fence and seeing people actually vibing. It was just amazing. So I thought that was pretty cool. We have Jump FM coming. They’re going to be on a block that they sponsor called the Sound Board. So they’re obviously going to be doing some radio tie-in stuff. We are dealing with a lot more lights and glow stuff.
KB: Ok. Last question. Where do you guys kind of see this event going in the future.
KM: Well I’m not only the producer of the festival but I’m also a director with the Bank Street BIA. The main goal of course is to get people down to Bank Street. I mean, we want to showcase our businesses. We want people to think of Bank Street as a cool place to come; a great place to shop and to experience the different things we offer here. Obviously Glow Fair is on of our flagship events. But it’s literally just a cog in the whole market.
Glowfair takes place June 19-20 at Bank Street between Slater Street and James Street.
Visit our Glowfair Central page with all of our exclusive content, including event photos.