Scuttled in April, Room Service Concert Series a go for June and July

Mark Monahan
Bluesfest boss Mark Monahan is raring to go now that the Room Service Concert Series is back on. File photo

Bluesfest and Ottawa Tourism delivered a bit of good news Tuesday to music fans craving live entertainment – the Room Service Concert Series is back on.

The four-weekend event will feature a series of live and pre-recorded shows streamed to guests at 20 participating Ottawa hotels. Originally scheduled for April in a bid to kickstart the city’s struggling tourism sector, the shows were postponed after the Ontario government imposed tougher restrictions to combat the spread of COVID-19.

Now that the economy is gradually being reopened, the concert series has been rescheduled for mid-June to mid-July. It will consist of eight shows on Fridays and Saturdays from June 18 to July 10, featuring acts such as Great Big Sea frontman Alan Doyle, comedian Gerry Dee and American rock band Third Eye Blind.  

Concerts will begin at 7 p.m. and won’t require any special log-ins ​– guests can simply turn on their sets and enjoy the show. Additional perks include live Q&A sessions with some of the artists and a “second-screen experience” for those who bring laptops.

“We hope people take advantage of this special opportunity and make a full weekend – or two, or three – out of it,” Ottawa Tourism president and CEO Michael Crockatt said in a statement.

“All the elements of a fantastic staycation are in play: great music and comedy shows, comfortable and secure accommodations, and a much-needed change of scenery.”

The news should come as a welcome development for the local tourism industry, which has taken a massive hit over the past 15 months as travel ground to a halt during the COVID-19 crisis. Ottawa Tourism says the pandemic is expected to cost the city as much as $2.8 billion in lost visitor spending by the end of 2021.