About Big Bang Festival

© Jonathan Lorange

BIG BANG is a one-of-a-kind festival of musical adventures. It invites children and their families on a colourful journey featuring a rich array of sound concepts whose diversity and originality make the festival a hit wherever it goes. Already a fixture in a dozen European cities, BIG BANG was a huge success in Ottawa, the first North American city to host this high-profile event.

BIG BANG festival started over 20 years ago, when the it was launched in Ghent, Belgium. Titled Oorsmeer, meaning “ear oil”, it brought together innovative artists, unique sound installations, and a large and enthusiastic audience eager for new experiences. Renamed BIG BANG in 2010, the festival is now held in various locations all over Europe: from Tallinn to Lisbon, from Antwerp to Athens, from Seville to Dublin, from Lille to Enschede by way of Ghent, Brussels, Rouen, and soon Reykjavik and Rennes.

BIG BANG’s identity and dynamism are based on the concept developed by Zonzo Compagnie, which has been the driving force and catalyst behind the festival since the beginning of the adventure. The programming of each edition of BIG BANG is developed in close collaboration with Wouter Van Looy, the festival’s founder, artistic director of Zonzo Compagnie, and stage director.  He has created unique stage experiences that shed a whole new light on such composers as John Cage (Listen to the Silence) and Miles Davis (Mile(s)tones) – this creative and slick concert was seen last year during the NAC’s first Big Bang Festival...

Presented on February 17 and 18, 2019, the first annual BIG BANG Festival in Ottawa generated a lot of buzz and attracted a joyful crowd of kids and families. Some 8,000 adventuresome festival-goers entered the doors of the NAC eager to explore its sprawling space, including backstage areas. Throughout their truly “musicolourful” meanderings, families were invited to dance to the rhythms of a band of spirited musicians, experiment with exciting sound installations and drop by the tattoo salon before merrily venturing into one of the concert venues, where an intimate, large-scale or interactive performance awaited. A party atmosphere prevailed, and there were discoveries to be made in every nook and cranny of the building! And we put it back for a second year in 2020!


  • Artistic Director

    Mélanie Dumont

  • Programming Advisors

    Geneviève Cimon and Heather Gibson

  • Producer

    Robert Gagné

  • Associate Producer

    Annick Huard

  • Marketing and communications Officer

    Josée Prévost

  • Marketing/communication interns

    Gabriel Bidault, Camille Evin, Mareva Boino

  • Coordinators of the Ambassadors

    Véronique Lavoie-Marcus, Judi Pearl, Natasha Harwood and Marie-Ève Fontaine

  • Graphics Services

    Aaron Bihari, Julie-Anne Madore, Dany Pepin

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Big Bang festival is produced by the National Arts Centre in collaboration with Zonzo compagnie, with the support of the Canada Council for the Arts, Ottawa Tourism, Winterlude 2020, the Creative Europe Program of the European Union, by Donald T. Walcot and Fondation Sandra et Alain Bouchard.

BIG BANG Festival is a format developed and owned by Zonzo Compagnie.

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