March's Awesome Ottawa award goes to Kent Aitken to support Musical Underground Ottawa, an experiment in "reverse busking" to be held early this summer.
"The plan," explains Kent, "is to set up in public spaces and along commuting routes, and encourage passers by to play a song -- a cover or original -- in order to be entered into a raffle for a really, really nice guitar, and everything needed to take care of it." Kent will record the results, and post the highlights online.
"I honestly don't know why I love this idea so much," says Kent. "It just feels great." He's hoping for small audiences of musicians to develop and meet each other, for some really unlikely folks to haul songs out of their back pockets, for some hidden gems of songs to be captured for later viewing, for at least a few people leaving with a renewed passion for playing songs, and to have a blast playing in a park with his friends while waiting for performers.
Kent is a native of Prince Edward Island who moved to Ottawa, as he puts it, "to be part of our democracy." By day he is a bureaucrat and economist, and by night he is a student and hobbyist musician.
To learn more, and to find out when and where you can perform your own song for a chance at the guitar, visit http://musicalunderground.wordpress.com, or follow @MUOttawa on Twitter.
Funded by Ottawa, ON (March, 2013)