Music is like therapy at times isn’t it? There is nothing quite like blasting your favourite tunes while driving to feel carefree…or isn’t it strange that when you are going through a difficult time song lyrics you never understood suddenly describe exactly what you are feeling. In fact, no matter what mood you are in there is bound to be a song that will mesh perfectly with your current state of mind. Which makes music a pretty powerful tool, don’t you think?!
Listening to music on the radio or any electronic device is great, but it does not compare to live music. Being well aware of this fact, it seemed only logical to want to attend Ottawa’s most popular musical festival.
Week # 20 Challenge – part 1: View a live show at the 2016 Ottawa RBC Royal Bank Bluesfest!
Contrary to what the title implies, the Ottawa RBC Royal Bank Bluesfest is NOT only about blues. Every year, this festival gathers local, national and even international artists in an attempt to showcase their talent. You can find anything from blues, to rock, to alternative music and so on…
Bluesfest is very popular and lasts around 10 days, this year from July 7th to 17th, 2016.
Which artists can I see? Every year new artists are invited to perform which makes this festival a great opportunity to watch popular and/or upcoming artists. A few artists participating this year are: Alessia Cara, Awolnation, Billy Idol, Red Hot Chilli Peppers and Sam Hunt just to name a few!
Tickets: Months ahead of the festival you can purchase Bluesfest passes. You can opt for VIP passes which give you the ultimate festival experience by granting access to private washrooms, bars and seating areas. For a more basic option you can purchase a day pass for $73.85 (including taxes and fees) or a multi-day pass if you plan on attending a few days.
Helpful tip: Tickets are still available here or if you are looking for tickets on a specific day, visit kijiji to find good deals.
Location: this festival is located at the Lebreton Flats Park at 1 Vimy Place.
Parking: Now this is tricky! You can reserve a parking spot at the Canadian War Museum ahead of time. If you didn’t, don’t worry you may park off of Preston street or in a downtown parking lot. I arrived early in the evening and was struggling for a spot and ended up parking on Slater Street which was a good walk! In hinsight, I do not recommended parking so far if you are walking to your car alone! I didn’t leave extremely late due to this very reason.
Site: The Bluesfest festival site is spread around the War museum for which the main entrance is off of Sir John A. McDonald Parkway.
- Where do I watch the shows? Once inside the festival you see the main stage aka the City Stage, to your left and further to your right is the Claridge Homes Stage. Further on the grounds are two additional stages: Monster Energy and Black Sheep. You can easily navigate from one to the other. Make sure to take note of the artist schedules and stage names to know where you want to be at what time! That information is available on site but it is much easier to have a clear idea of where you want to be.
- Hungry? No worries, food was accessible all over the site. They had Thai food from Green papaya, BBQ from Fitz’s BBQ, Shawarma, poutine and burgers from Fadi’s and much more! For a sweeter option, you could purchase a booster juice, ice cream, beaver tails, fruit fondue and more. Prices ranged between 4$ to 20$ and they accepted both cash and credit cards.
- Thirsty? They had plenty of Coors and Molson Canadian tents where you could buy beer! Wine, Monster Energy drinks and Bacardi were other options! For non-alcoholic beverage options they sold lemonade, juice and water.
Tip: look for water stations! You can refill your water bottle there for free!
Prior to purchasing a ticket, I approached the Bluesfest Media Team and asked if I could attend as part of my blog. They were kind enough to offer me two passes for the day I requested, Friday July 8th. Was I ever thrilled! Thank you to the Bluesfest coordinators for the opportunity! I would have loved to bring someone with me, but unfortunately since I found out about the second pass the day before, nobody was available! That being said attending the festival alone was actually nice! I talked to a few people and went around the site as I pleased. It was really fun!
How do I choose when to go? When selecting the day or days on which you want to attend make sure to be strategic. Choose days where you know you will enjoy at least one specific artist. I say that since the music varies quite a bit and you may be disappointed if none of the artist performances on that day are your style. I chose the 8th because one: I was available and two: I was hoping to see Coeur de Pirate, a beautiful and talented French artist!
She was truly wonderful! I was pretty absorbed by her performance and loved every minute of her show! I visited all the stages and caught a glimpse of other artists such as: Ben Harper and the innocent criminals, The Revivalists and Tal Wilkenfeld. Although the other music types didn’t correspond to my taste, listening to them live was a great experience.
No matter if you attend Bluesfest alone, with a friend or large group of people, it is a fantastic festival that can be enjoyed by all! The site is beautiful and spacious, the crowd was respectful, the artists very talented and the festival vibe was upbeat, simply a great musical experience. It’s not too late to attend this year, what are you waiting for? Go check out the festival!