PREVIEW : Ottawa Bluesfest 2016

Since 1994 Ottawa has been the home to the largest blues festival in all of Canada and second in North America. This makes some pretty lofty standards to uphold, which means that each year they have to find new ways to bring the crowds back to the LeBreton Flats in our beautiful capital city.

This year the big ticket act is Red Hot Chili Peppers, a band that everyone knows about and still brings in crowds over 30 years after their formation. The band just released their 11th album The Getaway that features their current single Dark Necessities. The band will headline the festival on Friday July 15th.

While the festival started out as just a Blues fest, it soon morphed into jazz, rock, pop and now includes hip-hop EDM, country and much more. If you are into other classic legacy acts you can check out Billy Idol where I’m sure you won’t be dancing with yourself. Or perhaps you are looking for a throwback band that still is topping the charts like Duran Duran? The new wave pioneers ruled the charts in the 80’s with hits like Girls on Film, Hungry Like the Wolf and Rio but after releasing the Paper Gods album the band finds themselves in familiar territory with last year’s big hit Pressure Off with Janelle Monáe and Nile Rodgers. One other classic act is Creedence Clearwater Revival’s front man John Fogerty. Hearing his distinctive hoarse voice and slick guitar playing will be a treat for everyone in attendance.

If classic rock isn’t your thing, make sure you check out Future the hip-hop star who is taking a break from his co-headlining tour with Drake to bring his codeine soaked bars to the masses. I’d talk about his most recent project but he already has seven releases in the past two years alone. Another big name in the rap department but isn’t quite as mainstream yet is ScHoolboy Q the number two man on Kendrick Lamar’s Top Dawg Entertainment label. Q will be celebrating his new album coming out on July 8th with a special performance the day before the album drops on Thursday July 7th. Rock isn’t the only genre to get legacy acts as the Hot in Herre rapper Nelly will hit the stage to make the crowd get down and dirty. Looking at Nelly’s singles is like looking at a greatest hits record from the early to mid-2000’s hip-hop scene.

Speaking of making people dance there is plenty of options if you prefer the more electronic route. Canada stars Zeds Dead will be looking to cement their status as one of the biggest names in the genre. If you want someone that is more off the beaten path of EDM check out Cashmere Cat who is taking time out of producing for the likes of Kanye West and Ariana Grande to spin his turntables for the crowd. The French born youngin’ Madeon packs a big punch as lights and lazers are as important to his set as the bass drops are.

If you are looking to slow things down a bit you can chill out to Dallas Green aka City and Colour, who released his 5th album last year with If I Should Go Before You. While he isn’t huge in the States, expect a massive crowd for the Canadian favourite. While they have only been around for two albums, Denver Colorado band The Lumineers are just about the biggest thing in folk music this side of Mumford and Sons. Every song is so catchy you will know how to play it on mandolin or banjo after hearing it a few times. If you haven’t checked them out before, do so as they as just as much fun as you would expect a group of this caliber.

If super big name acts aren’t your thing there is plenty of music to satisfy all the indie heads in attendance. For Indie Pop, Brampton Ontarios’ own Alessia Cara will get the mood right. Folk Rockers Half Moon Run will celebrate their recent Polaris Prize long list nomination with a show. If you like your rock music to make you dance the Vancouver boys from The Zolas will have you jumping for joy. For more alternative fans there is the recently reunited Wolf Parade and all the punk rockers can mosh to Pup.

In a city the stature of Ottawa you can best believe they won’t forget about the cowboy boots wearing section of the city. Brad Paisley just might be one of the best guitarists ever regardless of genres. Even if you are a fan of Stetson hats and plaid shirts he is someone that can’t be missed. Former football player Sam Hunt will be there to transcend genres as he mixes in Country with Pop and RnB making his music easy on the ears to everyone.

Tickets are still available for the fest, but act quick as full festival access for all nine days is sold out. You can either get single day tickets or Pick 3 or Pick 5 passes that allow you to select what lineups suit your tastes best. If you like to roll in style VIP passes are still available in all forms giving you the best seats in the house.

For complete lineup and to purchase tickets, please visit their site HERE.

About author

Music Editor at Live in Limbo and Host of Contra Zoom podcast. Dakota is a graduate of Humber College's Acting for Film and Television. He now specializes in knowing all random trivia. He writes about music, sports and film. Dakota's life goal is visit all baseball stadiums, he's at 7.