Ottawa goes big with Capital Hoedown by Dan Brennan and Jessica Levin

Ottawa is set to go Country in a big way this August with the reprise of Capital Hoedown after a successful inaugural festival in 2010.

Carrie Underwood

The festival was originally conceived by Denis Benoit, president and CEO of Concert International who knew Ottawa had a strong country music community but needed more. “What was missing,” Benoit said, “was missing was an outdoor festival for fans to enjoy the music they love and the atmosphere of a summer festival.”  Apparently Denis was spot on, as last year’s Hoedown drew more than 19,000 people to the festival  with star headliners including Alan Jackson, Dwight Yoakam and Vince Gill.

Propelled by the momentum of last year’s successful event, Concert International has partnered with entertainment industry powerhouse Empire Sports and Entertainment.  The partnership has staked claim to present the best and biggest country music event with a star-studded lineup certain to attract music fans far and wide.

 “I am thrilled to have Empire on side,” says Benoit.  “With one of the top entertainment companies in the world now partnered with Concert International, this year’s festival will have everything country fans want: great music in great surroundings – you simply can’t beat this star-studded lineup of the biggest names in country music.  The entertainment value for this event is incredible.”

Kenny Chesney

 Included on the A-list of artists who will be performing at LeBreton Flats Park are Kenny Chesney, Carrie Underwood, recent Grammy-award winner Miranda Lambert, Rascal Flatts, Doc Walker, Sara Evans, Billy Currington, Tara Oram, Easton Corbin, Justin Moore and The Keats.  Additional artists will be added to the program leading up to the festival.

Kenny Chesney will be headlining the opening night of the festival, to be held on August 11-1. Opening for Chesney will two Canadian Acts –Tara Oram and Doc Walker.

Tara Oram

One of Canadian country music’s rising stars, Tara Oram has come a long way since her appearance on Canadian Idol.  Oram’s recently released single‘Revival’   is making waves with fans and climbing the country music charts in Canada.  In addition, as the star of her eponymous CMT Television show, The Tara Diaries, she is on her way to be one of country music’s most notable new female artists.

Doc Walker has earned the title of “the hardest working country band in Canada” during the past ten-plus years the old fashioned way – through relentless touring.  The band has traveled more than a million miles in Canada alone, which has helped forged a lasting relationship with its loyal fan base.  Their perseverance has netted the trio multiple top-10 and top-5 hits on Canadian radio as well as six CCMA nominations in 2008 alone, and the 2009 Juno for Country Recording of the Year for the album, Beautiful Life

Doc Walker

Slated to perform on August 12, country hit maker and five-time Grammy winner Carrie Underwood became Ottawa’s sweet heart when she married former Ottawa Senator hockey player Mike Fisher.  Underwood is a guaranteed to wow her adoring Ottawa fans when she performs.  Opening for Underwood is recent Grammy winner Miranda Lambert.  Chart topper Billy Currington and Canada’s Jason Blaine will set the stage for Miranda and Carrie and what is sure to be an unforgettable night of music.

The Pembroke, Ontario-born singer songwriter Jason Blaine who now calls Nashville home, started writing songs at 16. Jason has recorded three albums including his latest Sweet Sundown under the E1 Music label. Featured is “Home is a Highway”,co-written by Grammy-winner Steve Wariner, who also performs on the track. Just off his “Run With Me” tour, Jason brings his rockin’ hillbilly style back home to Hoedown.


Rascal Flatts

Day three of the festival brings roars in with the Rascal Flatts, Sara Evans, Easton Corbin, Justin Moore and the Keats.  

Since Rascal Flatts burst onto the country scene over a decade ago, the trio has helped change the face of popular music. The band’s trademark sound of emotive lead vocals and soaring harmonies has become the standard for cutting-edge country. Charting ten #1 singles along the way, Rascal Flatts has seen everyone of its studio albums go multi-platinum, with total sales approaching 19 million.  With their current release of Nothing Like This, Rascal Flatts has its most powerful and accessible album to date.

With seven albums to her credit including recently release chart topping album Stronger, Sara Evans is on her way to becoming one of the most successful female artists of her generation – a compelling, heart-in-the-throat heir to Loretta Lynn and Tammy Wynette.

The Keats

Opening the festival on Saturday, August 13th is a Canadian East Coast gem ‘The Keats’. Halifax-based twin sisters Jolene and Sharlene, with their powerful two-part harmonies and wonderful blend of country and pop music, are quickly becoming known as one of Canada’s most talented new country acts. The duo’s debut CD, Good to be Home, was nominated for a 2010 East Coast Music Award for Best Country Recording, while the video for their first single, “Give Me a Ring”, enjoyed feature status on CMT.  As well, the sisters had the opportunity to perform in the coveted CCMA New Artist Showcase at Country Music Week 2010 in Edmonton.

After putting together the biggest lineup for country music festivals in North America, Denis Benoit received countless requests from Canadian country music artists wanting to audition to perform at Capital Hoedown this summer.  Benoit saw an opportunity to give an up and coming artist a the opportunity to perform main stage at this year’s festival.

This year, one lucky Canadian band can make their dream of playing in the big leagues a reality by entering Capital Hoedown Showdown!  Artists and bands from all around the country can submit original Country music at through June 24 the for a chance to perform live main stage August 13th at Capital Hoedown Country Music Festival.  Country music fans from coast to coast will be voting online to select the best country act in Canada.  

The top 3 bands in the ‘Showdown’ will be flown to Ottawa two weeks before Capital Hoedown festival. The 3 bands will compete in front of a live audience a panel of judges. At the Hoedown Showdown Finale, a final judging panel will select the country act with the highest score (based on the following criteria: (i) presentation; (ii) originality and creativity; (iii) melody, vocal ability and music; (iv) lyrics; and (v) entertainment value) as the grand-prize winner.  The Showdown winner will perform on the main stage Aug 13 with  Rascal Flatts, Sara Evans, Easton Corbin, Justin Moore, and The Keats.

For more information or to buy tickets, visit, follow us on Twitter at @Capitalhoedown or find us on Facebook at

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