John Kahane (jkahane) wrote,
John Kahane

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Bluesfest Thoughts

Well, the Ottawa Bluesfest is over for another year, and after a tough day at work (given that I got back home last night very late), I have finally had some time today to put my thoughts together about the festival, or at least what I saw of it.

First off, let me preface this by saying that I didn't get to see as much of the Bluesfest as I wanted because I was sick for the end of the first week with that stomach/bowel thing I mentioned in other posts, and also because of the fact that I was quite uncomfortable about going after a while, given some of the problems that I had there when I was there. More on that in a moment.

One thing I do have to say is that I was blown away by the talent this year's festival brought in to perform. I mean Bob Dylan, Van Morrison, INXS, and a host of blues acts that were superb. The venue was huge this year, moving (back) to Lebreton Flats the way it did, and there were some beautiful areas to watch concerts from, notably the River Stage. The real problem for me was that the Ottawa Bluesfest has grown into this thing where 35,000 people were coming for shows during the day and night, and well... I've got cuts and scrapes on me from lawnchairs, people carrying their chairs to different areas during the time not caring who they knock into or bump with the chairs and all (that is, me!) and so forth. The fact of the matter is that Bluesfest here in Ottawa is now a *big* show, attracting both star performers and lots of folks from out of town, but it's no longer the comfortable "feel good" festival of the Blues that it started as, and has evolved into a monster.

Yesterday was a good day for listening to the Blues, for sure. I caught one of my favourite acts there, Candye Kane, with her blues/bluesrock show, and the fact of the matter is she's larger than life when performing on-stage. By her own words, she describes herself as "a black drag queen trapped in a white woman's body", and she dresses the part. And the show was just fabulous. I also managed to catch the Sam Roberts Band, a terrific group with the infectiously profound lyrics and power pop beats that their leader is known for, and it was easy to see why so many compare his style to that of the Beatles. Between that and several other performances that I saw bits and pieces of, I was content with this year's Bluesfest, but truly don't like the sheer size that this thing has grown to...

Will I come back for next year? You bet! :)
Tags: ottawa bluesfest, thoughts

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