Some may know Rolf Klausener as the primary singer-songwriter of the art-pop project The Acorn, or the house-punk band Silkken. But Klausener is also the co-founder of the end-of-summer festival Arboretum, which concluded its fifth edition of music and cultural programming in August 2016. Arboretum serves as an all-encompassing primer for festival-goers to both the city’s history and its current arts boom. The festival also offers strictly-local food and drink. Looking back to 2015, after Klausener had taken three years off from The Acorn, the Kanye West-endorsed project released Vieux Loup to critical acclaim and a spot on the prestigious Polaris Prize long list. “I’d like to see Ottawa’s artists be not just good from a local context, but offering increasingly challenging work comparable to larger metropolitan centres,” says Klausener. Despite his high artistic standards, Klausener is the capital music scene’s biggest cheering section.
Klausener’s favourite destination: Pressed
Pressed is a café that prides itself on serving fair trade, organic coffee with local ingredients. But that’s only part of the appeal. Not only does Pressed offer reasonably-priced fare, they are also a very popular live music venue. “Concert-goers need accessible spaces that are in the downtown core, so people can really experience music at a reasonable price,” says Klausener. “Not everybody can afford to go to the NAC or some of the bigger concerts or festivals.” From a monthly open mic night and Bluegrass Mondays to book club meetings, Pressed has a calendar full of events that will appeal to every audience and specializes in showcasing local artists and musicians. “People come here knowing that they’re going to see a good show,” says the owner of Pressed, Jeff Stewart. “It’s a nice venue to play and see music in. It’s big enough that there’s a good crowd here, but small enough that people feel like they’re having an intimate experience with the band.” With most events under $10, students can rest assured that they can see quality live entertainment without breaking the bank.