The first Saturday of RBC Bluesfest 2018 is packed with plenty of music to offer. To help you with your selection, we, as usual, offer our non-main-stage-headliner selections as well as profiling local performers who will be gracing one of the four stages. We hope you discover a new favorite artists or band today.

Though the previews will highlight smaller segments of the festival, the full schedule is posted and can be found here. Various passes and tickets are still available:

Be sure to follow the Ottawa Bluesfest on social media as they tend to have contests during the day and alerts to any schedule changes.

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Lauv – 6:30, City Stage

This 23-year-old, independent singer-songwriter has yielded over a quarter-of-a-billion Spotify streams. Yes, you read that right! He also headlined a sold-out tour in 2017 as his fame continues to grow. Take this as an opportunity to see this rising talent before your friends.

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Chromeo – 7:45, City Stage

Electronic music isn’t always received enthusiastically at Bluesfest, but we strongly recommend you give Chromeo serious consideration. This world-famous electronic-funk duo from Montreal will deliver. Don’t be shy, join the party and get ready to move!

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Liza Anne – 8:00, Barney Danson Theatre

In May 2015 at the time her stunning sophomore album, Two , was released, we said, “(r)emember the name Liza Odachowski – or better known by her stage name Liza Anne”. Since then, she joined famed label Arts & Crafts roster and has become a global indie sensation. Her last album, Fine but Dying, was well-received, showcasing the Nashville-based artist’s continued growth and expansion into pop and rock territory in addition to her indie-folk foundations. Before seeing her, read our interview with her from three years ago, as it offers some background about her long career in music (she’s been writing songs since she was 8 years old!).

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Benjamin Booker – 9:00, Claridge Homes Stage

Benjamin Booker is one of the great guitarists and performers around today. That cannot be debated. If you’re unfamiliar with the New Orleans-via-Orlando artist, think of him as the new generation’s Chuck Berry and Buddy Guy. He will astonish you with his incredible guitar skills. Oh, he’s a pretty gifted songwriter, too, as evidenced by his two outstanding albums – 2017’s Witness and his self-titled debut that was released in 2014 and was one of our Favourite Albums of the Year. Expect to be lifting your jaws up from the floor when his set closes at 10:15 (hopefully it’ll go longer).

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Kimbra – 9:30, Black Sheep Stage

How in the world is New Zealand-born, Australia-based Kimbra Lee Johnson – or simply Kimbra – performing on the Black Sheep Stage? She became a global star after collaborating with Gotye on the massive hit, “Somebody That I Use To Know”. She followed that up with a pair of albums that displayed different sides to her craft – the electro-pop explosion of The Golden Echo and the edgy electronica of Primal Heart. It’s hard to say what Kimbra will show up, but expect plenty of theatrics and a high-energy set. Again, why is she on the Black Sheep Stage (no offence to our pals at the Black Sheep, who have great tastes in music).

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Local artists performing:

Andrew Cassara  – 3:30, City Stage

  • Andrew Cassara may still be still honing his craft as a songwriter, but there’s clearly a lot of talent ready to emerge. He has the challenge of being the first performer of the day, but we anticipate it would be worth the early entrance.

mal/aimé – 3:30, Claridge Homes Stage

  • Dive into something different early in the afternoon. A branch-out project from Ottawa’s Pony Girl, this mix of experimental chamber and electronica pairs classical instruments with synths and percussion. A performance sure to be influenced by the audience in attendance.

Angelina Hunter Trio – 4:30, Claridge Homes Stage

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

JENNA Nation – 5:00, City Stage

  • This classically-trained Berklee College of Music graduate’s fourth album, You Don’t Know, was named Canada’s Best R&B Album of 2017. Her influences include icons such as Michael Jackson, Ella Fitzgerald, Judy Garland, and Stevie Wonder. Head in early and get yourself a beautiful does of her R&B stylings.

Kimberly Sunstrum – 5:00, Black Sheep Stage

  • African-Canadian Kimberly Sunstrum’s sound is as diverse as her own eclectic exposure to music growing up. Be prepared for a blend of folk, country, and soul conveyed in an intimate yet approachable fashion.

Scattered Clouds – 5:00, Barney Danson Theatre

  • Scattered Clouds, the trio from Gatineau, have become a mainstay at festivals across the National Capital Region and for good reason. Their experimental rock is dark and hypnotic, akin to the cosmic and thunderous sounds of Montreal’s Suuns. The Barney Danson Theatre is a perfect spot to catch the band, as their music must be heard in a dark and intimate setting.

Brock Zeman – 6:00, Claridge Homes Stage

  • A talented and prolific songwriter, Brock Zeman has released thirteen albums since 2003. He is also very active and in-demand, often playing 200+ shows a year throughout North America. Come indoors, listen to this wonderful storyteller, and find out why he is so popular.

Her Harbour – 6:30, Barney Danson Theatre

  • It’s worth repeating Ben’s first impression of Her Harbour, which is quite high praise if you know how picky he is when it comes to music. Really, he says it all:“I remember seeing Her Harbour, the project of Gabrielle Giguere, the first time. It was at The Black Sheep in Wakefield as part of gig showcasing local talent. Her deep, sultry vocals and haunting, eclectic sound left a mark. It was like observing a young Julianna Barwick at work. Giguere has that much potential, and if she was living and performing in New York City thousands of people would know her name. Now here is your opportunity to know who Her Harbour is.”

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