Ottawa’s Bluesfest is a festival that somehow keeps growing despite being held in what’s normally considered a sleepy government town. What started as a small, accurately titled weekend event held on a small patch of grass behind the Parliament buildings has sprawled into a nearly two-week extravaganza featuring well over 200 acts of every conceivable genre. This festival is seriously long enough to warrant an intermission day — we get Monday off.
Comedy has been moved inside this year, and thus the Black Sheep Stage is available once more. The re-addition of this smallest stage is an excellent step for the festival, as it regularly featured the most eclectic and challenging acts in previous years. The organizers seem to be aware of its status based on their adding Caravan Palace, M. Ward, Yukon Blonde, Chali 2na, Mark Kozelek, Sierra Maestra, and Red Baraat to the long list of acts sharing the stage.
On the other five stages, the variety of music present at Bluesfest is made even more apparent with The Black Keys, The Flaming Lips, Steve Miller, Peter Frampton, Skrillex, Shpongle, Girl Talk, Bootsy Collins, Ben Harper, Soundgarden, John Fogerty, My Morning Jacket, Death Cab for Cutie, Galactic, Joe Satriani, DFA 1979, Jennifer Hudson, Three Days Grace, Rise Against, and Infected Mushroom performing.
The list goes on from there to include comedy, spoken word, local bands, and international bands that even the most ironic and pretentious of people haven’t heard. Even if you’re not anywhere near the city and have no plans to visit the festival, I encourage you to check out the full roster, just to see the variety of acts this “sleepy government town” gets exposed to every year.
• Ottawa Bluesfest: http://www.ottawabluesfest.ca