by Micayla Bussieres

In preparation for the 20th anniversary of the RBC Royal Bank Bluesfest, which is taking place in the beautiful Lebreton Flats of Ottawa, I’ve compiled a list of the acts I’m most excited to see. Since this is my very first Bluesfest, it was pretty difficult to narrow down so there may be a few honourable mentions. These bands are listed in order of the date and time they are playing.

1. Tegan and Sara – Thursday, July 3rd @ 8pm
These lovely ladies have been one of my favourite bands since their 2007 album, The Con, came out, and now with the huge success of Heartthrob, we’re guaranteed a killer show to kick off Bluesfest.

2. Twin Forks – Saturday, July 5th @ 7:30pm
Chris Carrabba’s voice may sound familiar if you were super angsty in the 2000s. The lead singer of Dashboard Confessional brings us this awesome folky quartet, and I dare you to not clap and dance along while listening to their single “Back To You”.

3. Boyhood – Sunday, July 6th @ 2pm
Local to Ottawa, Boyhood is an experimental project of Caylie Runciman, and is perfect if you want to spend your Sunday listening to mellow grungy pop rock. Those go hand-in-hand, right?

4. Mac DeMarco – Sunday, July 6th @ 7:30pm
I’m not even one bit ashamed to admit that I’m hugely obsessed with Mac’s music. This will be my third time seeing him live within a year and I can’t wait to hear him play more songs from Salad Days.

5. Paper Kites – Thursday, July 10th @ 7pm
This indie folk band from Australia came to my attention about a year and a half ago and I’ve been hooked on their sound ever since. While their new album isn’t as folky as their previous EPs, the melodies are so catchy and well written that you’re a fool if you don’t go see them.

6. Blondie – Thursday, July 10th @ 8pm
As someone who’s always dreamed of being a musician, seeing powerful women fronting bands always gave me hope. Blondie was a major part of that and I just might cry when Debbie Harry comes onto the stage.

7. BadBadNotGood – Friday, July 11th @ 6pm
I’ve yet to see them live but from the YouTube videos I’ve watched and the raving reviews I’ve heard from friends, I know I need to go see this high energy jazz trio.

8. Sounds of Lions – Saturday, July 12th @ 1:30pm
I first heard of this band from the Ottawa Citizen and noticed that an apprentice at the tattoo studio I go to was in the band. I gave them a listen and it just so happened that they were really great! The simple mix of rap and beautiful vocals is so spot on with what’s popular these days.

9. Childish Gambino – Saturday, July 12th @ 8pm
I’ve been a fan-girl of Donald Glover for a while now, and his music is really the only rap that I know all of the words to. And trust me when I say that while I may brag about knowing all the words, I still look so ridiculous while rapping it. So if you’d like to see Childish Gambino, as well as my embarrassing rendition then you should probably come to this.

10. Said The Whale – Sunday, July 13th @ 3pm
The first time I heard Said The Whale was in a juice commercial and I was instantly drawn to their sound. This indie band from Vancouver has put out ten EPs and four studio albums since their start in 2007, so you know they’re hardworking, and will definitely put on a great show for us. (I’ve seen them live before so I can vouch for this.)

Honourable mentions definitely have to go out to Third Eye Blind and Barenaked Ladies, both playing Friday the 11th at 8pm and 9:30pm, respectively. I’ll be there belting out “Semi-Charmed Life” and trying to keep up with “One Week” so you should probably come out and join me.

Experiencing nine days of music feels like a pretty daunting task, but I’m so excited, and it’s pretty much guaranteed that my first Bluesfest will be amazing! For the full line-up and to purchase tickets go to and hopefully I’ll see you there!

PS. Our favourite TV dad, Bob Saget, will be there dishing out some hilariously dark comedy (Saturday, July 12th @ 5pm) so how could you NOT come to Ottawa for Bluesfest this year?