As in previous years, Monday following the first weekend was a “dark” day at Bluesfest with no shows on the schedule. This allows the festival to tweak the grounds as needed while pass holders get a day of rest. Below we share Days 5 through 7. Take a look back of the first four days over here.
Day 5 – Tuesday, July 10th
For as long as we can recall, fans have been asking for the Foo Fighters (not pictured) to be featured in the lineup. Rarely in my years of attending Bluesfest have I witnessed such a high level of excitement for a particular band. All over town, people were talking about THE show, renaming Tuesday to Foosday. The anticipated attendance was so great the festival declared it sold out and stopped selling day passes. When the day finally came to pass, the predictions were accurate and reports peg the show at drawing approximately 30,000 fans.
Not to be overlooked, opening the main stage was British Invasion-inspired rock band Greta Van Fleet, who gave an impressive performance to the crowd, which had already swelled to a size that surpassed most of the previous headliners. Given the draw of the City Stage, the number of people at the M. Ward set was light, but attendees were treated to a wonderfully intimate evening of folk/blues and Americana. After this singer/songwriter exited the Claridge Homes Stage, they closed it for the evening. Machine Gun Kelly, however, drew those looking for an alternative to the Foos, to wrap up night 5 of the festival.
Day 6 – Wednesday, July 11th
Bluesfest once again featured an artist that was high on many fans’ wishlists by bringing Dave Matthews Band (not pictured), to what would end up being one of the top attended nights of the festival.
Also that Wednesday was the London-based duo Oh Wonder. They were pleasantly shocked to see the warm reception from the Ottawa crowd who filled, and then overflowed, the Claridge Homes Stage to join their party. We caught a little of their show and then opted to see Australian singer-songwriter Courtney Barnett as she tore up the Black Sheep Stage. She recently released her second studio album Tell Me How You Really Feel, and the new material was prevalent and appreciated in her set. We gave it four-thumbs up in our First Impressions review.
Also pictures: The Suitcase Junket
Day 7 – Thursday, July 12th
Naughty By Nature started their show by quizzing the audience to test their ages. Although it was clear that the bulk of the fans were born in the 1970s which would have made them the target audience for their most productive years, there were concert goers from the ’60s on up at the event. They played all their beloved hip-hop anthems as well as sampling some of the eras most popular songs. They also pointed out that it was the 25th Anniversary of “Hip Hop Hooray”.
Saturday was the day Shaggy was supposed to headline. His sound would have fit the day’s theme in a more cohesive fashion than the eventual headliner Blue Rodeo, but the much beloved Canadian country-rock band has been popular for decades for a reason. The band knows how to entertain and once again they had everyone singing along to some of their favourite songs from the past three decades.
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