rbc blues fest

Preview: Ottawa Blues Fest is not just about blues

by Ange Joachimowicz

Each year those fortunate enough to live in one of Canada’s major cities get to indulge in what their great metropolises have to offer: festivals. Forget the cotton candy, ferris wheels, and pony rides, I’m talking about music. Performances from artists you’ve waited all year to see, entertaining you and your best buds through the long or short – depending on your work schedule – dog days of summer.

RBC  has, for a second year, teamed up with the Ottawa Blues festival presenting the nation’s capital with much more than blues rhythm. Diversifying their line up with local, regional, national and international music, the event draws over 300,000 festival go-ers each year;  a long way from it’s origins in 1994. From one stage and a couple of days of performances, it has evolved into an 11 day event with multiple stage locations and too many acts to miss out on.

So what’s on the menu this year? Well starting Thursday July 4th, the festival kicks off with performances by  Jimmy Eat World, The Black Keys, The Cat Empire, Brock Zeman, and 2013 Juno Nominee Steve Hill.  The festival continues to explode with a variety of indie, rock, pop, electro, rap, country and blues music. Now I say this with as much seriousness and enthusiasm as I can: the line up is intense.

Just to highlight: Flogging Molly, She & Him, Neko Case, Dixie Chicks, Belle & Sebastien, Camp Radio, Blue King Brown, Joe Robinson, Wu-Tang Clan, Tegan and Sara, Fun., Diamond Rings, Cadence Weapon, Mother Mother, Animal Collective, Weezer, The Tragically Hip, Matthew Good, Great Big Sea, Bjork, Stars, Ra Ra Riot, Austra, Alice in Chains, Dog Blood (Skrillex and Boys Noize…together).

So, if you live anywhere near by you probably will regret missing the party. Day pass, week pass, it’s all possible. Grab a litre of ice water, or just ice, some pocket change for a beaver tail or two, and remind yourself when and where can you revisit teenage angst with Belle & Sebastien, while rocking out to Alice in Chains, then spiritually and emotionally be taken on a continuum with Bjork, and finally sing along to maybe your favourite over-played Fun. hits. This festival is what we’ve all been waiting for – so many acts so little time, but isn’t that what summer is all about?