Twas the night before Bluesfest and all through the house not a creature was stirring not even a mouse. The grounds are all ready, the stages are set in hopes that the music will soon be here. The fans are nestled all snug in their beds; While visions of music and lights danced in their heads. It all kicks off tomorrow afternoon and here are my picks for week #1!
July 8, 2015 – DJ Duo Jack Ü (feat. Skrillex & Diplo) kick off the party with their Full Flex Express tour tomorrow night starting with B2B: Anna Lunoe x Mija at 4pm. Among the acts you’ll find on the Full Flex Express tour will be Hundred Waters, Tycho, Kiesza, ASAP Ferg and Zeds Dead. If you saw Skrillex the last time they performed at Bluesfest you know that you’re in for a high energy treat, nothing like getting the party started in full throttle. All performances take place on the Bell Stage.
July 9, 2015 – Our friends, and neighbours from just down the St. Lawrence, River City Junction are our first pick for Thursday night’s entertainment. Likely one of the best put together bands I have ever seen perform, Caroline, Jason and Tommy are guaranteed to entertain, you can catch them on the Monster Energy Stage at 6pm! Hometown gal, Kira Isabella kicks off the party on the Bell Stage, definitely check her out at 7pm but at 7:30 you’ll want to head inside to the Barney Danson Theatre to catch, super talented, local indie artist Tara Holloway. If you want more Kira be sure to check her out in Spencerville in a few weeks as she headlines the 2015 Capital Country Fest @ Spencerville Stampede. Our headliner pick for Thursday night may surprise you. Jason Aldean may be on the Bell Stage at 9:30pm but one of the most entertaining blues acts we’ve ever seen at Bluesfest, Charles Bradley & His Extraordinaires, hits the Canadian Stage at the same time. Jason Aldean is great but this is Bluesfest so why not go and check out Charles this time, you won’t regret it.
July 10, 2015 – Hometown girl Brea Lawrenson opens the Canadian stage on Friday night at 6pm. Hot on the heels of her debut album Brea Lawrenson has worked hard to perfect her stage show and has proven she is ready for the big stage at Ottawa Bluesfest. If you are on the grounds already at 6pm then you’ll definitely want to check her out. Although I’m not very familiar with them there’s a lot of buzz surrounding Chicago’s Chance the Rapper this year. Ever since using a 10 day high school suspension to record his debut in 2013, Chancelor Bennett, has been seeing plenty of success in the music business. If you’re into rap then be sure to check this kid out on the Bell Stage at 7pm, all signs point to a strong future ahead. Up next take a short walk over to the Claridge Homes Stage for Marianas Trench. Currently touring to promote their third, critically acclaimed, album these guys have proven they have the staying power to play with the big boys. Definitely add these guys to your list of acts to see, they take to the stage at 8pm. Headlining Friday night’s entertainment is none other than the controversial Kanye West, love him or hate him his show is something to behold. I’ll likely jump over for a song or two but my pick to close out Friday night is Canadian boy Hawksley Workman. Easily one of my favourite acts in the 2015 Bluesfest lineup, Hawksley’s performance is a must see. He takes to the Canadian Stage at 9pm and if you must see Kanye West there should be time after Hawksley’s set to take in the majority of his performance. If you want to see something other than Kanye after Hawksley then be sure to checkout Parker Millsap in the Barney Danson Theatre, his set runs until 10:30pm.
July 11, 2015 – The focus today is all about the emerging artists, She’s the One to be specific. Last year’s winner Emma Peckford is back and will perform ahead of the competition in the Barney Danson Theatre at 3pm. Following Emma 10 finalists will take to the stage to compete for the panel of judges, one of the 10 will be crowned “The One”. Like Emma last year, the winner will be working with the winner of SHE’S THE ONE to produce a single for a worldwide release. The SHE’S THE ONE winner’s expenses including any recording, production and travel costs, related to the prize package will be covered by RBC Bluesfest.
The prize package will be focused on artist development and industry networking. The 2015 winner of SHE’S THE ONE will collaborate with an industry producer in realising her potential hit song! The winner will be coached and guided through an all-expenses paid recording and production of this single. I encourage anyone interested in seeing tomorrow’s stars today to check this out, you’ll be blown away by the talent that takes to the stage. Following “She’s The One” there’s still an evening full of entertainment on the outside stages at Bluesfest. First on my list immediately after the competition is Shakey Graves, I have not had the opportunity to see him perform live to date but he has been on my must list for a few years now. He should be on yours as well. Catch him at 7pm on the Canadian Stage. I’ll likely stick around the Canadian Stage for Always who follow Shakey at 8:30pm. Not much of an R&B fan personally but if you are then you won’t want to miss NAS at 8pm on the Claridge Homes Stage. The headliner for Saturday night is another artist who has been making waves over the past few months. First cancelling her world tour and then one of her only other show outside of Bluesfest. Like it or not, as of my time of writing this, Iggy Azalea is still coming to Ottawa Bluesfest Saturday night. Although not really my style I’m intrigued to check her out and see what she brings to the table. If worse comes to worse I, and you, can always head over to the Monster Energy Stage and checkout Porter Robinson.
July 12, 2015 – A decent mix of music to cap off the first half of Ottawa Bluesfest. Be sure to checkout Scott Helman, our first pick of the day, on the Bell Stage at 3pm. This young man out of Toronto got his inspiration from Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon album and draws influence from the likes of Bob Dylan, The Beatles, Neil Young and more. With influences like that you can’t go wrong. The next few hours will be a journey of discovery for me as none of the bands really stick out so I’ll tour the stages looking for something that catches my ear. At 7pm I’ll be making my way to the Canadian Stage to checkout, what I think, is one of the best new rock bands to come onto the music scene in a very long time, The Glorious Sons out of Kingston, Ontario. Following the Sons I’ll likely stick around and checkout the Arkells for a bit before making my way to the Bell Stage for one of my all-time favourites Blue Rodeo.
That caps off the first week of Bluesfest, July 13th is a day off and the party resumes on my 41st birthday with Brantley Gilbert, Lynyrd Skynyrd and more. Watch for my preview of week two coming on July 13th.
For a full list of artists and showtimes, plus any last minute scheduling changes be sure to visit www.ottawabluesfest.ca