Setting Your Stage: Pressed

What do Ottawa venues look for in an artist or musician?

Whether you discovered Pressed through a friend’s gig, a stroll through Chinatown or simply by doing an internet search for ‘Great Waffles Ottawa’, there’s no doubt this cozy café makes an impression.

Apart from the great food and coffee, Pressed also hosts a wide variety of live events – from shows to vernissages, to open mics and trivia nights. They also have a selection of local art on the walls, as well as a rotating collection of vinyl records for sale that showcase bands that have specifically played at Pressed.  


“Pressed is an important part of Ottawa’s arts/culture ecosystem, so it’s especially rewarding when we have an opportunity to celebrate local bands and visual artists and be a home for their event. Getting to network and see others networking with likeminded creative people only makes Ottawa more robust as a ‘music city’.”

So how does one book a show at Pressed? There is a contact form that can be filled out on the website, but be aware that their calendar tends to fill up two months in advance, so it can difficult to accommodate short-notice requests. They also do not book cover bands.

“We are always excited to host a diversity of artists that are doing something out of the ordinary and musically/artistically adventurous and challenging,” says Alex Maltby, the Events Coordinator and Booker at Pressed. “There is a curation process and a tone to our event programming. Professionalism, clear communication and a strong online presence is important.”

Pressed has a 65-person capacity, and so has an intimate and personal appeal for gigs.

@gianthand at Pressed A post shared by Pressed Ottawa (@pressedottawa) on

As with any venue, a professional attitude is absolutely key. “We are really nice, so if artists are generally disrespectful, unprofessional or rude, we’re probably not interested in having you back, regardless of how well you’ve drawn an audience. Pressed also has zero tolerance for any form of racism, homophobia, transphobia, sexism or ableism.” 


Thinking of getting in touch or just curious about what Pressed has to offer? Check out their website for more details and their (very busy!) events calendar. Don’t forget to follow them on social media!

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Have a favourite venue you’d like us to chat with? Leave us a comment on our social media channels or send us an email!

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