Review: Ottawa Dragon Boat Festival

This past weekend I attended the Ottawa Dragon Boat Festival which was also unofficially dubbed My 40th birthday party awesometime festival.  Yes, that’s right, I’m turning 40 this year and it was time to party it up!

I will be away at a family reunion when my birthday rolls around in August so I thought about it and with all Vero and I have had been through with the flood renovations and the heating system problems, we figured it was best to have a low-effort outing.

What better way to celebrate than to attend a kick ass festival with free concerts, manageable beer lines and great views of the stage?!

The Ottawa Dragon Boat festival has always offered up free concerts and I believe they are getting larger every year.  I have heard that it’s due to the incredible beer profits they make so don’t forget to support your local festivals and drink more beer than usual.

It was a great summer weekend of fun for four days.  I was blessed with having a lot of friends show up over the weekend and while it rained a little on Saturday (rubber boots were in tow!) and a little on Sunday, for the most part it was a perfect weekend.

I want to thank everyone who came out to make the event extra special!  Let the summer of fun begin!

I would also like to thank Anne-Marie who ended up in town for a meeting and graciously offered to babysit a few nights so Vero could come out to the festival as well.

Sam Roberts Band always puts on a great show.  According to my records, this was my fifteenth time seeing these guys.  They never disappoint!

Martin and Ryan never disappoint either.

Birthday girl Mern found these great sunglasses for me on the ground at the end of the night.  She also got me a guitar pick from the band!  Thanks!

It was a cool night out there.  Too bad Amy and Tyler were hanging out for so long and nearly froze!  They did happen upon some free Hard Rock Café t-shirts to warm their souls.

Ah yes, me without my shirt on.  So for years I have been eyeing up this one particular Sam Roberts Band t-shirt.  I love the design, but it was a little pricey with the shipping and eventually they ran out of my size so I missed out on it.  But lo and behold, they had the shirt at the merch booth this time around!  I was stoked and I told Vero I was going to buy it.  She said she would pick it up for me for my birthday which was super nice of her.

The grizzled old guy at the merch booth says he only has an extra large left.  I wasn’t sure if it would fit and he said “I’ve been working for 25 years in this business.  I can tell that this shirt will fit you like a glove!”  I can’t really deny a man with that much confidence!  I put it over my existing shirt and while I thought it may be a little tight, I figured it was due to the other shirt.

When I get back to our group of friends, I take off my shirt (in which James proclaimed “I have never seen zero hair on someone’s back before!) and when I put on the shirt, I feel it’s really tight around the arms and the chest area.  Then it dawned on Amy: “You’re wearing an XL WOMEN’S SHIRT!”  We all had a good laugh.  Vero returned the shirt and ended up with a 2XL men’s shirt which the guy assured her would shrink in the dryer.  I’m pretty sure we all know that this 25 year veteran of the merch booth is full of it, but whatever.  We’ll see if it shrinks!

The next night brought Broken Social Scene to the stage.  I was excited to see them as I had missed them the last time they passed through town and I really enjoy their latest album.  At one point I think they had 15 people on stage!

The crew enjoying the nice summer nights.  Trish managed to escape the clutches of working for the Senate and this was her first night out of her summer of fun.

As one would do after a killer night of tunes and beers, a trip to McDonald’s is sometimes in order.  I challenged Trish to order something she had NEVER had off the menu.  Thinking we would find something crazy like a chicken szechuan burger, we soon realized we had both never had the staple of the McDonald’s menu…the Big Mac!

Unfortunately, the Big Mac was a big bust.  We both weren’t impressed with the sauce and it was a pretty unwieldy burger to eat!  Way too much lettuce!  We are both quarter pounder lovers at heart.  Oh well, I’m sure my stomach enjoyed the 1,000 calories sitting in it overnight while I slept about 15 minutes after.

Killer band after killer band showed up at the festival.  I really enjoy Wintersleep and see them every chance I get. 

Here’s a great photo of the group of us who braved the elements for Wintersleep.  Vero also got me the s wetlist from the band!!

The fourth and final evening had us venture out into what I thought would be a decent evening for weather but then it started raining on us for awhile!  Talk about me being unprepared!  At least Trish was prepared with her poncho.

But lo and behold, the clouds parted and we were presented with a once in a lifetime event…a double rainbow which literally lasted 20+ minutes!  I had never seen a rainbow that long.  Coupled with Matt Mays playing one of my favourite tunes ever (Standdown at Sundown), I knew we were in for a killer night.  The mood was just right…whereas the last time I saw the band they were full on rock and roll in a sweaty room…this time the setlist was geared for those summer nights where you want a little melancholy but also a side of rock and roll as well! 

Trish and I tried to get a photo of us under the entire rainbow.  My arms needed to be a kilometer longer to get the entire rainbow.

Trish reacting to seeing a dove of peace fly by.

Truly a transcendent night.  It went from rain to double rainbows to a moon in behind the stage.  I was inspired.

Or at least I was inspired until I realized I was drinking beer and paint chips.  Ew!  I have to write Waterloo Brewery about the paint on their can.

I don’t often take a video of what’s going on, but the music was moving me so much that I wanted to capture the moment.  Enjoy!

Thanks to everyone who came out to my birthday bash!  It was one for the ages.

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