Dear Rouge takes it to the Rideau at the Ottawa Dragon Boat Festival.

June 23rd, 2023 by  |  Published in Concerts


Dear Rouge frontwoman Danielle McTaggart took a moment to direct the audience to look up and enjoy clear, starry sky while listening to live music with loved ones. A fitting prelude to the nostalgic banger “Stolen Days.”

It was indeed a perfect night for a concert against the backdrop of Mooney’s Bay for the first of several free concerts at the Ottawa Dragon Boat Festival. Dear Rouge headlined the first night, with 2 local or nearly local bands opening: indie newcomers The New Hires, followed by Rebelle, who got things pumping with their Nirvana-inspired sound.

Dear Rouge kept the crowd jumping with hits like “I Heard I Had,” “Boys & Blonds,” and “Fake Fame.” McTaggart was electric, throwing herself into every lyric and with the band upping the intensity with each new song. The band also showcased a couple of new songs, “Cutting Teeth,” and “Goons,” which got a big reaction from the crowd.

The only lull in the evening came with fan favourite, “Black to Blue,” toned down to McTaggart alone on keyboard for the first verse and chorus, transforming the already powerful tune to something even more intimate and beautiful.

Another delight was McTaggart changing up the lyrics on “Meet me at the Rio” to “Meet Me at the Rideau” in honour of the venue on the shore of the Rideau River.

The Dragon Boat Festival Charm

Even without the band’s winking homage, it was hard not to be charmed by the setting. The hill overlooking the bay makes for great natural seating. And with plenty of vendors plus the celebrated play structures just beside the stage, concerts at the Dragon Boat Festival are a great way to spend time with the whole family.

The Ottawa Dragon Boat Festival runs until June 25, with free concerts daily.


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