As with any outdoor music festival, you hope for sunny weather, but what you hope for does not always happen. Yesterday was one of those days at Bluesfest. It rained pretty much the whole time that I was there but the rain did not dampen my spirits, nor those of the attendees and Bluesfest volunteers. Everyone I came across was in a great mood, having fun, and making the most of their day despite the rain.
I had a chance to explore more of the Bluesfest grounds, which is located at Lebreton Flats, beside the Canadian War Museum. I made my way over to the area known as ‘the Fort’. That section of the grounds has an autograph area where you can meet select artists that are performing on that day. There is also a big merchandise tent where you can purchase albums of all the performers, band t-shirts and official Bluesfest designs. I had the pleasure of meeting Stacey Bafi-Yeboa and Arfie Lalani. They are the faces behind Kania.
Kania is a Luxury Canadian Sweatshirts company that Stacey and Arfie created and run here in Ottawa. It was born from a need, a need to be comfortable, a need to stay stylish and a need to inspire. Kania is the official design line for Bluesfest. And if you are attending Bluesfest, you should really go to the merchandise tent to check out their very cool designs and say hi.
Also located in the Fort area are tents for the various raffles and the silent auction; all of which benefits Bluesfest and their ‘Blues In The Schools’ program.
Bluesfest also has a wide range of ‘extras’ which can make your Bluesfest experience all the more special and memorable. Yesterday I was able to take advantage of The Big Chill VIP Lounge. What a treat!!
The Big Chill VIP lounge is a gated private area~ your home away from home, your oasis while attending the festival! It is impressive! I was able to sample some Bacardi Breezers, indulge on some really really good s’mores style cookies from Thyme and Again, and get a funky purple glitter tattoo.
Other features of the Big Chill VIP lounge include a private cocktail bar, cellphone chargers, VIP washrooms, wifi access, activities, salon services, and much more! (Access to the Big Chill can be purchased as an upgrade to festival passes.)
Saturday, July 9th Performers
There was a lot going on Saturday at Bluesfest with performers to please a variety of musical tastes and interests. I chose to attend performances by The Cult and the headliners for that evening, The Lumineers.
I have to admit that I was disappointed by The Cult. While there were a lot of die hard Cult fans in attendance, I felt like something was lacking. Being an extrovert, I tend to feed off of the energy of the crowd around me at concerts, and other public events that I attend. The excitement and energy from a crowd is thrilling and I am sure a lot of performers feed off of it too. But something was missing from this crowd and from the lead singer, Ian Astbury and the guitarist, Billy Duffy. Admittedly, I also did get a bit annoyed when Astbury asked if we (the festival and Ottawa) were located in Northern Ontario. Really?
The crowd cheered and applauded but the high point of their performance (which received the most cheers) was for ‘Fire Woman’, ‘Sweet Soul Sister’ and ‘She Sells Sanctuary’.
The Cult also cut their performance short by 15 minutes (or perhaps they only planned to sing for 1 hour). Regardless, they did not use the whole time allotted to them.
The Lumineers on the other hand did not disappoint at all! Despite the constant rain, that started to come down a bit heavier during their headlining show, it did not deter thousands of fans from attending. And speaking of energy from a crowd, this crowd had it too! People were even dancing in the rain while enjoying The Lumineers.
The Lumineers embraced the rain as well. Part of their show called for them to play their acoustic instruments on a satellite stage, in the middle of the crowd. They did it despite the rain and got wet with everyone else. They even had the crowd singing along when they broke into Creedence Clearwater Revival’s ‘Have You Ever Seen the Rain?’
They sang their hit song ‘Hey Ho’ early on in their set. They also included many songs from their new album, Cleopatra.
Welsey Schultz, singer-songwriter, and co-founder of the Denver-based folk-rock band promised the crowd that is ‘was going to be a beautiful night.’ And that it was! Great band – great performance!!
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