Photo by Nneka Nnagbo

DIY Spring Festival presents underground and underrepresented music and art to the Ottawa community.

The mandate of DIY Spring Collective is to promote, support and celebrate the work of emerging Black, Indigenous and racialized women and LGBTQ+ artists in the Ottawa area through an annual music and arts festival.  

Our goal is to create a futurist stage that supports the ideas, narratives and performances of developing artists and audiences in the communities we operate in. DIY Spring Festival is a celebration of the season of rebirth and renewal and its curation focuses on artists with innovative visions.

We acknowledge that DIY Spring Festival takes place on unceded and unsurrendered Algonquin territory known as Ottawa, and mandate ourselves to create opportunities for Algonquin and Anishnaabe artists through our work.

Our History

DIY Spring Festival is a grassroots music and arts festival entering its third year. It started in 2016 as a collaborative project between local art collectives Babely Shades and Debaser as a response to the continued underrepresentation of artists of colour in the Ottawa music industry.

In its first year, in 2016, it hosted artists such as Melody McKiver, Ah Mer Ah Su (LA) and The Veldt (NYC) amongst various local artists and attracted over 200 attendees to Zaphod’s and Pressed. The event, originally intended to be a one-off event, came back as an annual event this past May of 2018, because the problem of underrepresentation persists in the Ottawa music industry. A platform for young and new Black, Indigenous and racialized artists is needed – and supporting the developing careers of these artists could lead to more opportunities for them in the future.

In May of 2018, DIY Spring Festival took place out of General Assembly, a local artist-run venue that has a mission to serving underrepresented art. We had 200 people attend two days of programming that included artists from Ottawa, Montreal, Toronto and Halifax.

In 2019, DIY Spring Festival officially became an artists collective that will now enter its third edition where it will feature an array of local and regional emerging music and art. By 2020, we aim to become a registered not-for-profit organization.