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Gil’s Hootenanny is a community sing-along event that takes place each year on May 1st, May Day, the international workers’ holiday. Musicians from a range of backgrounds take turns leading the audience to sing songs of protest and songs of hope.

Gil’s Hootenanny was inspired by Gil Levine (1924-2009), the founding Director of Research at the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) and a great lover of folk music. Gil’s vision of a better world included bringing people together to experience the collective power of song and to celebrate the stories, struggles and victories of working people. Gil saw May Day as an important time for working people around the world to gather together, speak up and sing out.

First presented in 2010, the annual hootenanny has seen increasingly larger audiences coming out to sing each year, with more than 300 expected this year. The organizers and sponsors of Gil’s Hootenanny would like to see similar events taking place on May Day across the country. For information and advice on how to organize a May Day sing-along event in your community, contact Chris White, cdwhite@sympatico.ca, 613-327-9621.

Thank you!

2016 bread and roses

2016 bread and roses

Both the Family Singalong and All-Ages Singalong in 2016 were well attended and together smashed our previous attendance records. A great hootenanny was had by all. Thanks to all who attended, to our artists, to the volunteers, and to our sponsors for making this year’s Gil’s Hootenanny a great success. This year’s event was attended by over 600 people. And thanks to Jake Morrison for the photographs.

Family Singalong (11am)
(more photos on Jake’s site here…)

All-Ages Singalong (2:30pm)
(more photos on Jake’s site here…)

2016 Sing-Along-able Songwriting Contest Finalists

Congratulations to the composers of the four songs chosen by our judges as “finalists” for the Gil’s Hootenanny 2016 “Sing-Along” Song Writing Contest. In no particular order the finalists are:

The Journey Begins (composers: Anne Hurley, Jim Videto)
Keep Your Feet Moving (composer: Erika Kulnys)
Believe Again (composer: Mark Evenchick)
Stand Up (composer: Mary Moore)
Finalist songs will be performed at Ottawa Grassroots Festival on Sunday April 24 on the Community Stage in Fellowship Hall starting at 2:30pm.