Best bets for the weekend in music and books

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Best bets for the weekend in music and books

Cosy concerts made for music lovers and a book festival full of ideas are on the list this weekend.

Down on the farm

Set your GPS for Venturing Hills Farm in the Pontiac and take a scenic drive along country roads to arrive at a unique concert experience.

Set among rolling green fields where horses roam, in view of the Eardley Escarpment, sits an intimate handcrafted concert hall installed in a hayloft above a horse stable.

It's not unheard of for the stomping of hoofs to become an unexpected part of the rhythm section during concerts.

Two musical brothers, pianist Carson and violinist Tate Becke, call this farm home.

When they are not studying and performing music in London, England, they've been hosting Pontiac Enchanté — a classical music concert series held at Venturing Hills Farms, an equestrian training centre.

"It's a very intimate space," said artistic director Carson Becke of the hall, which seats about 130 people.

"It's also a casual environment where the audience can chat with the artists and say hello to the horses."

British pianist Alexander Ullman is the featured artist of Sunday's concert.

Ullman is an award-winning soloist, whose prizes include first place at the Lagny-sur-Marne International Competition. He will perform a recital of music by Bach, Beethoven, Schumann and Liszt, among others.

WHERE: Venturing Hills Farm, 440 Chemin ​Crégheur, Luskville, Que.

WHEN: Sunday at 3 p.m.

COST: $25 or $15 for students and those under 18. Tickets can be puchased here.

GigSpace keeps it small

GigSpace, the teeny tiny performing venue on Gladstone Avenue is celebrating five years in the live music business with a Jazz Microfest — a round up of local artists representing all spectrums of the genre, from traditional to pop to avant garde.

With room for only 45 people, GigSpace keeps it cosy, with an intimate listening room designed for music lovers.

"Clubs and restaurants can be quite noisy, with big screen TVs and cappuccino machines," said jazz guitarist Tim Bedner, one of the founders of GigSpace.

"This place we developed was sort of a dream place you could go and listen without any distractions."

Local artists taking the stage this weekend include Roddy Ellias and John Geggie, Caroline Gibson and the Marcie Campbell Quartet, as well as the Juliet Singers, who will be "re-imagining" Joni Mitchell's class album 'Blue", in its entirety.

The complete list of artists taking part in the Jazz Microfest is here.

WHERE: GIGSPACE, 953 Gladstone Ave.

WHEN: Friday through Sunday, with concerts beginning at 7 p.m. Friday, 6 p.m. on Saturday and 3 p.m. on Sunday.

COST: Tickets start at $10 per concert and can be purchased here.

Good Reads

Sean Wilson has been programming the Ottawa International Writers Festival for twenty years — "I used to be the youngest person in the room," he says — and that experience has given him a good read on what Ottawa book lovers want in their festival.

"We try to program around themes and ideas … it's not enough to say hey they're great writers, although that is true. What the audiences want is to have their horizons expanded, to be walking in someone else's shoes, and to see the world in a new way."

The roster of authors included in this spring's edition of the festival are addressing some pretty big ideas, from the origins of existence, to why things happen to being a Muslim woman in Canada.

WHERE: Christ Church Cathedral, 414 Sparks St.

WHEN:  The spring edition of the Writers Festival runs until the evening of Tuesday May 2.

TICKETS:  Advance tickets are $15 for adults, $10 for seniors and students and can be purchased here.  Admission is $20 at the door.