RBC Bluesfest 2018 is now past the half-way hump, and there’s still plenty of talented musicians slated to take to the stages. So, grab your potato tornado and find a bit of shade. The headliners for Thursday and Friday offer something different from the rock bands to grace the City Stage the past two nights. Day 7 will be like one massive campfire gathering (Blue Rodeo) while Friday offers one of the most innovative artists of his generation (Beck).

As The Revue has done in previous years, we will be offering suggestions on who to see (avoiding the headliner as much as possible) while also listing the Ottawa bands performing on the respective days.

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:

As a hint, be sure to 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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Thursday, July 12th Picks

The LYNNeS – 9:00, Claridge Homes Stage

Sometimes when established artists get together the result is less than the sum of its parts. In the case of the the LYNNeS, we have a partnership of two of Ottawa’s best songwriters in Lynn Myles and Lynne Hanson. Their songwriting and vocals blend together perfectly in this amalgamation and it is completely deserving of its evening-capping slot.

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Naughty by Nature – 7:30, City Stage

Whether you are a hip hop fan or not, you know these words:

“You down with OPP?
(Yeah you know me)
Who’s down with OPP?
(Every last homie)”

Those are the lyrics from Naughty by Nature’s classic “OPP”. Expect a crowd of older and younger folks singing along to that track plus “Hip Hop Hooray” and “Feel Me Flow”. This should be one fun party.

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Local artists performing:

Angelique Francis – 6:00, Claridge Homes Stage

  • A winner of Canada’s Walk of Fame RBC Emerging Artist initiative, Angelique Francis is a young gifted artist with a depth to her voice and prowess for song-writing. Get to the Blacksheep Stage and get a taste of the blues/soul/roots goodness she’s serving.

Ray Montford Group – 6:00, Ray Montford Group

  • If you are unfamiliar with this talented guitarist, the Ray Montford Group’s sound is described as original instrumental fingerstyle acoustic-electric based rock, blues, and folk, also incorporating loops and virtuoso playing. An accomplished artist, his seventh studio album is in the works.

The Town Cryers – 6:30, Black Sheep Stage

  • On the scene in the late 80s and early 90s, The Town Cryers have returned after a quarter century hiatus with a new lengthy album of previously unreleased music. Head in early for some “new” music from the ’90s.


Friday, July 13th Picks

Sturgill Simpson – 7:30, City Stage

Hailing from Jackson, Kentucky, this country-roots rock singer is making his debut Ottawa performance at Bluesfest 2018. His third album, A Sailor’s Guide To Earth, garnered accolades from The Revue staff, not unlike he sophomore album which we listed in our 50 favourite albums of 2014. If you don’t have cowboy boots in your closet, line dancing is not your jam, do not be deterred. This Grammy-winning singer/songwriter is an inspired artist with broad appeal, appreciated even more when he’s performing live.

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Local artists performing:

JW-Jones – 6:00, City Stage

  • International Blues Challenge winner (2017) JW-Jones is going to kick things off on Friday night and will deliver on the festival’s namesake genre. He plays more than 100 shows a year and has performed alongside legends. If you are craving blues look no further, JW-Jones will deliver what you need.

BLACK IRI$H – 6:00, Black Sheep Stage

  • A  21-year old rapper intent on making sure everyone has a good time and feels great, get the evening started with local hip-hop artist and entrepreneur Black Iri$h. This shade-wearing, self-taught musician starts the night off right.

Aspects and Rita Carter – 7:30, Barney Danson Theatre

  • Aspects and Rita Carter have been making music together for ten years and are well known in the Ottawa community. Mixing soul, blues and hip-hop they are sure to have the elixir for your needs.

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