Gil’s Hootenanny 2020 on Zoom!

Celebrate May Day with Gil’s Hootenanny

Mark your calendars for an epic 90-minute May Day Sing-along!!

Gil’s Hootenanny is organizing an online sing-along with musicians from Ottawa and beyond who will present new and traditional songs of hope and protest, celebrating the stories, struggles and victories of working people. Performers will include James Keelaghan, Paul and Gabriel Champagne, Eve Goldberg, Missy Burgess, Maria Dunn, Bill Garrett, Tony Turner, Arthur McGregor, Stephen Richer, Mark Evenchick, Thunderbird Sisters Collective, Patricia Reynolds, Carm Whittle, Chris White and Mary Gick.

The event starts at 7pm EDT on Friday, May 1.

First presented in 2010, the Gil’s Hootenanny annual May Day Sing-along is inspired by the legacy of Gil Levine, who spent his life working for social justice and was the founding Director of Research at the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE). A great lover of folk music and an enthusiastic supporter of folk musicians, Gil believed in the collective power of song to bring people together to speak up and sing out for change.

To join in the fun:

Log into the link below on May 1st at 6:45pm EDT for the 7pm EDT start:


If the above link doesn’t work, go to www.zoom.com or bring up your Zoom app, choose “Join Meeting” and use Meeting ID: 834 8671 0568 and Password: 012873.

Stay tuned for further information on the playlist.

A big thanks to our sponsors:

  • Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE)
  • Ravenlaw
  • The Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada (PIPSC)
  • Public Service Alliance of Canada/NCR (PSAC-National Capital Region)

Gil’s Hootenanny 2020 Cancelled

Gil’s Hootenanny, scheduled for May 1, 2020, has been cancelled because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The event scheduled for audience attendance at Clarke Hall, RA Centre has been cancelled. In its place a Zoom concert has been arranged. Go here for details…

The health and safety of our sponsors, patrons, performers, volunteers and the community in general remains our highest priority. We encourage everyone to follow the recommendations of Ottawa Public Health around social distancing, self-isolation and other measures to decrease the potential spread of COVID-19.

During this challenging time, let’s pause and celebrate the role singing together has played in helping people face adversity through the centuries. In 2019, Gil’s Hootenanny created a 20-minute film to celebrate Gil Levine’s vision of singing together for change and recognize the community of supporters who continue to keep his vision alive. The film Voices for Change, which includes lots of collective singing, captures the history, values and accomplishments that underpin Gil’s Hootenanny. Enjoy the film here.

As folk legend Woody Guthrie said, “There’s several ways of saying what’s on your mind…One of the mainest ways is by singing.”

Stay safe and healthy, and keep singing.

James Keelaghan: A Student of History

Gil’s Hootenanny 2020 will feature Canadian singer-songwriter extraordinaire James Keelaghan as the headliner for its 11th Annual May Day sing-along.

One of Canada’s finest singer-songwriters, Keelaghan has numerous Juno Canadian Folk Music awards and nominations to his credit. A student of history, he is on a perpetual search for unique storylines with universal themes. Many of Keelaghan’s songs concern social justice, inspired by people and events from Canadian history. His songbook includes Hillcrest Mine, Jenny Bryce and Kiri’s Piano, songs that combine exceptional melodies with memorable lyrics that instantly connect with audiences. Keelaghan’s distinctive and remarkable voice, song-writing prowess and on-stage persona have made him a celebrated international artist.

Born in Calgary, Keelaghan now resides in Perth, Ontario. Besides performing his songbook at music venues around the globe, Keelaghan also works as the Artistic Director for the Summerfolk Music and Crafts Festival in Owen Sound, Ontario, which has given him “new passion for programming”.

In March, Keelaghan embarks on a Canadian tour of southern Ontario and Alberta, but he will be back in Ottawa on Friday, May 1st for Gil’s Hootenanny 2020.

This year’s Hootenanny will be held in Clark Hall at the RA Centre, 2451 Riverside Drive, starting at 7:30 pm. Staffed by UNIFOR members, the RA Centre is accessible, has loads of parking and is well serviced by OC Transpo.

Tickets are $10; kids are free.

An Extraordinary Evening of Song, Participation, Hope and Protest

For those who have never attended a Gil’s Hootenanny, the following review of Gil’s Hootenanny 2019 by Hollis Morgan is worth the read….

Read review: “An Outstanding 10th Anniversary Gil’s Hootenanny

Hollis Morgan, May 3rd, 2019

Gil’s Hootenanny 2020 will feature Canadian singer-songwriter James Keelaghan.

Join us on May Day, Friday, May 1st, at 7:30pm in Clark Hall at the RA Centre, 2451 Riverside Drive. Staffed by UNIFOR members, the RA Centre is accessible, has loads of parking and is well serviced by OC Transpo.

Tickets are $10, kids are free.

Stay tuned for further information.