One of my favourite, if not my favourite, music festivals every year is the Ottawa Cisco Systems Bluesfest. It is the largest blues festival in Canada and yet the organizers and their staff are so warm and inviting that you are made to feel like their most important attendee. No joke! Not only does it provide 10 days of jammed packed great music for Canadians but it also is a festival that reaches out to help others. Part of the festival for the past 8 years has been its Blues in the Schools program where some of its profits go towards bringing music education (sorely missing in today's schools) to kids in the Ottawa area. Fantastic! This year the festival is trying its darndest to be a good member of planet Earth in that the festival is going green. The organizers are using environmentally friendly products (fuels, beer cups, etc.), emphasizing recycling and encouraging people to bike to the festival site. Hey! Why wouldn't you want to support these people?
The festival is back for its 13th year and has grown with each year. So much so that this year the configuration of the stages has been changed to make more room for people attending the side stages. Everything does remain within walking distance of each other so you can easily move from one stage to the next.
One thing that has remained consistent throughout the history of the Bluesfest is the high quality of acts that perform there. This year is no different. All ages and musical tastes will have something for them to listen to and artists to discover and enjoy. The headliners include Great Big Sea, Nelly Furtado, Blue Rodeo, Etta James, Rhianna, KC and the Sunshine Band, Bonnie Raitt, Sam Roberts, Rosanne Cash, and Ani Difranco. Also performing on the Main Stage are Matt Mays & El Torpedo, Wilco, Live, Sue Foley, Jully Black, and The Kentucky Headhunters. As if this wasn't enough excellent music, Broken Social Scene, Brazilian Girls, Feist, Matt Costa, Rickie Lee Jones, Metric, Calexico, Kelly Joe Phelps, and Kathleen Edwards will be performing on one of the side stages. They also have the Havana Nights at the Théatre du Casino du Lac-Leamy on July 10th and 11th and the Rideau Centre Acoustic Series on July 7-9 and July 14-16. Whew! That's a lot of bang for your buck people! Make sure you don't miss out!
-Tickets: Single-day passes: $26.75 except July 7 and 8: $32.10, Full Festival Passport: Transferable: $125.00, Non-transferable: $109.00, Non-transferable student price: $75.00, Weekend Passports: July 7-9: $70.00 and July 14-16: $65.00, Havana Nights: $26.50-$53.50
-Ticket purchase: On-site: Lisgar entrance and Festival Main Gate
Phone: (613) 599-3267