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Westfest

The silence in Ottawa between Victoria and Canada Days will be disturbed this weekend, as Westfest kicks off tomorrow evening with a bang.

As stores lock up at the end of business, the vigorous hum of calf skins stretched over wooden hoops will envelop the sleepy hollow that is Westboro village. A massive drum circle called Tam-Tam (based on the weekly event held on Mount Royal in Montreal) is set to begin at 5 p.m. to shake the cobwebs out of the neighbourhood.

A celebration of arts, music, community and family, Westfest has been bringing big-name acts to Westboro Village over the past seven years. This year is no different.

Saturday night Sloan will shake maple keys loose from their branches, being touted as the headliner of the festival. More than 30 acts crossing the lines of performance art, literature, spoken word and music will perform, making it hard to choose a true number-one performance. Sunday's roster is dedicated to local talent, where performers from Westboro-proper and Ottawa at large will fill 11 hours of live music. Look for GOOD2GO, Tokyo Sex Whale and The White Wires for some of the best music in the city.

As always, Westfest is free. There is zero admission and outside food and drink is permissible, so coming to all three days is definitely affordable. Richmond Road from McRae to Broadview is closed to allow room for the festival, making it kid-safe and pedi-friendly. For $2, here is a bicycle parking lot at Richmond and Tweedsmuir to mitigate car traffic, supervised by volunteers.

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