The 2015 Ottawa Bluesfest is just around the corner and this year’s edition, being held from July 8 to July 19, is set to welcome another record-setting number of festival-goers eager to take in all the live music. Organizers are putting the finishing touches to the LeBreton Flats site and introducing some changes in an ongoing effort improve the festival experience including a new Bluesfest fashion component to capture noteworthy festival styles spotted on site. But at the end of the day, people attend for the music and to help guide your choices for this year, Eventful Capital has put together some noteworthy acts that you should be sure to catch.
The hip hop heads will have the opportunity to take a trip down memory lane with pioneers of the genre like Nas and De La Soul, who’s last performances in Ottawa go back to several years ago and they’ll get to see what newcomers like Chance the Rapper, Heems and Asap Ferg have to offer in terms of delivering the goods live. As for Kanye West, he’s sure to attract an impressive legion of Yezzus fans who’ll want to hear hit after hit and it should be an interesting show for the spectacle alone. And let’s not forget Run The Jewels, who’ve been on a roll giving high-energy performances namely their stand-out set at this year’s Coachella.
Among the electronic lineup, Toronto-based electro pop duo Purity Ring is certainly the most notable act, as Skrillex, Diplo and Zeds Dead are old news when it comes to Bluesfest. Chrvches is also one not to miss, promising to deliver a solid set and popular Canadian dance artist Kiesza should also be a fun show to attend. And if you’re a fan of Boards of Canada and drifting to ambient, psychedelic electronic is your thing, then San Fransisco’s Tycho will be right up your alley.
When it comes to top talent, Guitar virtuosi and acclaimed songwriter Richard Thompson is certainly one to add to your list if you appreciate both acoustic and electric guitar and Quebec soul/blues singer-songwriter Bobby Bazini who’s passion for his art and incredible voice will leave you wanting more. Brooklyn’s own Charles Bradley & His Extraordinaires always give a generous performance and it’s nothing but soul, love and good vibes all around.
If you’d rather stick to rockier sounds, be sure to catch Toronto-based punk rock trio METZ who’s second album is currently nominated for the Polaris Prize Long List, as well as Vancouver indie rock band Mother Mother, Canadian rock veterans The Tragically Hip, New York alternative post punk/rock trio Interpol, English hard rock/metal pioneers Deep Purple, and American celtic punk rockers Dropkick Murphies.
For those keen on supporting the local music scene, I recommend you catch G.Grand and Hyf The GypsySun, Flight Distance as well as BlakDenim if you’re into hip hop and experimental electro/funk project Hilotrons and world music ensemble The Souljazz Orchestra who never disappoint. If you like your music a little rockier, then you’ll want to check out Musk Ox, Grime Kings and The Yips as well as the mesmerizing and intriguing The Visit who are sure to captivate.
Other notable acts that are worth checking out this year include the excellent Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeroes from South Africa and ambitious Canadian alternative pop rock multi-instrumentalist Hawksley Workman who’s latest project Mounties has been garnering quite a bit of attention. Blast-from-the-past bands like The Tea Party are also ones to watch and funny man Weird Al Yankovic who may very well attract a bigger audience than some headliners for his hilarious parodies, is also a top pick to catch.
With such a packed and eclectic lineup, regardless of your taste in music, you’re bound to find your happy place and make new discoveries in the process. Here’s to hoping Gabriel’s special edition Bluesfest pizza will once again be available to feed all the hungry bellies cause trust me it’s the most delicious thing out there, no lie.
On that note, enjoy your festival experience and be sure to follow Couch Assassin’s pro tips to make the most of your time at Bluesfest!