Old Sod Folk Society of Ottawa
The Old Sod Folk Music Society of Ottawa was founded by Ian Robb and Gord Peeling in the early 1980s as a non profit corporation promoting traditionally-based folk performance in Ottawa. The name "Old Sod" arose as a reference to the type of music promoted by the organization - that of British and Irish origin, quite literally meaning "the old country".
For the first 15 years, the organization presented regular concerts by top touring artists from both sides of the Atlantic, mostly in relatively informal community hall settings. In March 1999, the Board of Directors announced their decision to cease promoting concerts given declining attendance at concerts. Many regular concert attendees lamented the demise of the series but market realities could not be ignored.
In 1998, responding to a perceived interest in more participatory community events, the Old Sod sponsored its first contra dance with local callers and a house band comprised of local musicians - the first contra dances in the Ottawa area. The house band for the dances eventually became the Old Sod Band, with house caller Catherine Burns. Since then the dances have often hired well-known out of town bands and callers, but the Old Sod Band still plays regularly.
In 2013 the society started hosting small informal concerts again on a more ad-hoc basis, and this has gradually expanded into a regular monthly concert series. The Society has come full circle.