The first weekend of RBC Bluesfest 2017 has arrived, and it’s a pretty busy day with plenty of variety. We’ve offered four must-see performers plus give you the rundown on the local musicians playing today. If none of the below appeals to you, then see the full schedule here to see who else is performing. In case you’re wondering, 50 Cent is the headliner tonigh.

Follow the Ottawa Bluesfest on social media as they tend to have contests during the day and to be informed of any schedule changes.
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Taylor Knox – 4:30, Bluesville Stage

Taylor Knox may not yet be a household name, but he will soon. Signed to Cadence Music Group, Knox’s debut album, Love, was released in the spring to positive reviews. Jangly guitar-rock, edgy alternative, and groovy guitar-pop will be on the menu. Remember Knox’s name, as he could very well follow in the footsteps of Brendan Canning or even be the next Bryan Adams.

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Tegan and Sara – 6:00, Claridge Homes Stage

It’s hard to believe that Tegan and Sara have been around for two decades. For those old enough will remember them for their outspoken punk-pop while a younger generation of fans will be dancing to their brand of edgy pop music. Their show, as such, will have something to offer for everyone. We are left wondering, however, why they have such an early time slot.

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Mydy Rabycad – 8:00, Black Sheep Stage

Once upon a time, Bluesfest use to bring in quirky and unassuming international performers. Bands like Konono No. 1, Rashid Taha, and Balkan Beat Box were staples on the lineup, but the past five years has seen a downward trend in this regard. This makes Czech swing / pop / electro-rock band Mydy Rabycad a must see. They are big stars in Central Europe, often selling out venues with capacities between 5,000 and 10,000. People come to see them because every single show is like an old-fashion dance party.

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Brandi Carlile, – 8:00, Claridge Homes Stage

One of the artists we were most excited to see last year was indie-folk / Americana / roots artist Brandi Carlile. Unfortunately, she had to cancel last year due to illness (she had to cancel her entire tour). She is one of the most endearing and engaging artists on the planet, often speaking to specific audience members during her shows and taking time afterwards to meet them. She is also much revered within the industry, as earlier this year several artists covered her music and released an album called, Cover Stories. We’re not talking about lesser-known, independent artists. Adele, Pearl Jam, Kris Kristofferson, Jim James of My Morning Jacket, The Avett Brothers, The Indigo Girls, and Dolly Parton all sang songs. Now here’s an opportunity to watch one of music’s finest singer-songwriters in action. Don’t miss this show.

Oh, Cover Stories is available here with all proceeds going to War Child.

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Local artists performing:

Made Wade – 3:00, City Stage

  • Originating from London, Ontario and currently calling Ottawa his base, Wade is a rapper than infuses poetry, comedic flair and rhyme, garnering applause and appealing to a vast audience.

The Tackies – 3:00, Bluesville Stage

  • Getting their start in 2015, this local foursome recently released their first EP, Beach Party. Bring your sand pail and a shovel to play in their dunes of indie rock.

Chérie – 3:30, Barney Danson Theatre

  • Hailing from Alymer, this up-and-coming band featuring lyricist Magalie is currently working on their bilingual first album release, anticipated this year. Black Sheep owner Paul Symes is a big fan, which is biggest compliment any local performer could receive.

Rishi Von Rex – 3:30, Black Sheep Stage

  • This gypsy-rock duo have been playing to crowds in Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal and beyond since 2012. Come check out their brooding and foreboding approach, which has had us enchanted for a few years.

Brea Lawrenson Band – 4:00, Claridge Homes Stage

  • Country Music Association of Ontario’s Nominee for Rising Star and Female Artist Of The Year. She has racked up an impressive list of accomplishments in her short career, such as having six songs chart from her #Brealieve CD from 2015. Oh, she has a voice that will linger long in your head, including while you’re watching other performances later in the day.

Lora Bidner – 5:00, Barney Danson Theatre

  • Ottawa-raised Bidner’s imaginative art-folk singer-songwriter has not gone unnoticed, having received several awards, including the 2106 SOCAN Canadian Young Audio-Visual Composers Award and a nomination for the 15th annual Independent Music Award. Head inside to the Theatre and discover why she’s met with such deserved acclaim.

Lynne Hanson & The Good Intentions – 5:00, City Stage

  • Lynne Hanson has been performing heart-warming and tear-jerking folk music for years around the Ottawa area. With her performance at Bluesfest, more people will discover this underrated singer-songwriter, whose stories are akin to the great Lucinda Williams.

The Angelina Hunter Trio – 5:00, Black Sheep Stage

  • Get your blues-funk fill with The Angelina Hunter Trio, representing the founding members of Bluestone & The Memphis Moonshine. Angelina Hunter, Sandy Hunter and Adam Bell and bound to bring it to the Black Sheep Stage.

Future States – 6:30, Barney Danson Theatre

  • With their debut LP, Casual Listener, in hand, Future States brings their psychedelic pop punch to the Barney Danson Theatre. Come for the music, stay for the (sure to ensue) dancing.

Grace Lachance – 6:30, Black Sheep Stage

  • This 16-year old singer-songwriter from Stittsville was the winner of the 2015 She’s the One contest and now she returns to share some of her some of her new songs, which combine elements of pop and alternative. The next Avril or maybe Alanis? We shall see.

Flight Distance – 7:00, City Stage

  • This underground hip-hop group will be performing songs from their soon to be released new album, Harmony Chlorine. This will be their third appearance at Ottawa Bluesfest, and they will be playing the City Stage before 50 Cent. Now that’s something to add to the résumé.


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