by Ange Joachimowicz
None other than your friends at Quip Mag spent the past weekend checking out the RBC Blues Festival in Ottawa, Ontario. The synonymously sleepy city presented a strong and memorable start to one of the many summer festivals of the year.
The weather finally agreeing with the designated season, the sun was shining and music a blaring. Catching the ever-so-indie Camera Obscura many sang along in symphony-style to the seductive sweetness. Later, another stage populated with hard-core skankers in rhythm, sort of, to the Irish punk sounds of Flogging Molly. Finally, adorable songstress Zooey Deschanel in the duo She & Him brought in the hippest crowd practicing one of her many talents in unison with the talented guitarist M.Ward. Friday was smooth yet dynamic, which happens to be the underlying theme of this eclectic festival. Blues, in this case, can be defined as good music rather than a specific sound or genre.
Saturday concert goers were well rested and ready for more. Many gathering for the big final act by Dixie Chicks, the wait didn’t take away from the breath taking performance of the soulful songstress of Cold Specks or the international dance rhythm of Amadou & Mariam.
The stunning and perpetual voice of Neko Case was more than a preview to full on country twang. Singing her heart out with poignant yet poetic lyrics, Neko played some new songs from her upcoming album The Worse Things Get, the Harder I Fight, the Harder I Fight, the More I Love You set to release in September. Balancing her performance with songs from previous albums, the crowd was in awe.
As many squatted over their prime seats with foldable chairs, blankets, and even quilts *spot saved*, Belle & Sebastien played a great set with songs recognized from radio-play and blockbuster hits if not from a constant replay of their catchy yet mellow album.
Dixie Chicks, having taken a somewhat of a hiatus from performances, brought in a fan base of all ages filling almost every square inch of the festival arena. Many geared up in cute sundresses and cowboy boots, singing along and re-living the message behind that epic documentary Shut Up and Sing. The country-pop music echoed through a large portion of Ottawa’s centrum.
Bringing in more acts come Sunday all the way to July 14th, next Sunday it is a worthy experience. As most festivals tend to have strict rules crouching in on your comfort and wallet, the Blues Fest is highly equipped with re-fillable water stations, a pretty decent amount of bathrooms (less wasted wait time), decently priced food selection and, of course, the option to park your butt in a lawn chair. With the sun scorching hot, water stations were a life saver and the festival wasn’t too packed till the end of both nights. The vibe of the crowds was pretty chill and more family oriented during the day, but stayed friendly throughout the night.
So if you already missed Wu Tang Clan or Rush, make sure to at least catch Animal Collective, Weezer, the Tragically Hip, or the Great Big Sea. With many big names among these are other great acts guaranteed to fulfill some of that summer angst to get shit done!