Ottawa Bluesfest is just around the corner and now that I’ve told you about some of the headliners, I’m back with a list of the acts I’m most excited to check out this year. Since the festival has expanded to 11 days there is even more music to take in and if you are not from Ottawa, maybe this will give you a reason to visit our beautiful capital. These bands are listed in order of the date and time they are playing.

1. Thrifty Kids – Thursday, July 9th @ 6pm


After seeing this surf pop band open for The Elwins, I knew that they would be a local band to watch grow. They may only have a few songs and videos online but this group, formed at Algonquin College, sure knows how to match simple melody-driven lyrics with dreamy guitar licks.

2. Shakey Graves – Saturday, July 11th @ 7pm


Known in the business as Shakey Graves, Alejandro Rose-Garcia has been making big waves in the Americana world since his debut album, Roll The Bones, in 2011. Hailing from Austin, Texas, this isn’t his first time playing Ottawa Bluesfest and I’m sure his sound will be bigger and better than ever.

3. Alvvays – Saturday, July 11th @ 8:30pm


The first time I saw Alvvays live was November 2013 at a small venue in Ottawa, opening for Said The Whale. They had this jangle-y Beach Boys vibe and it was so much fun. They’ve sure come a long way from the days of selling their then unreleased album on aqua blue cassettes, and have quickly garnered a huge following, with numerous hit singles. Make sure you check out Alvvays’ set if you’re looking to have the best lo-fi time of your life.

4. Scott Helman – Sunday, July 12th @ 3pm


This Toronto-native isn’t even in his 20’s yet but he’s certainly struck a chord with his unique blend of folk and pop. Helman’s music is current enough to catch that One Direction crowd, but with his inspiration coming from singer-songwriters of the 60’s and 70’s, there’s a maturity and honesty to it.

5. New Swears – Tuesday, July 14th @ 6pm


New Swears are often known as the go-to party band of Ottawa, and with their cool nicknames, and crazy stage presence it’s not hard to see why. They have their own blend of garage punk lyrics and fun surfer-vibe guitar riffs that will get you going from chilling to moshing numerous times in a single set.

6. Current Swell – Wednesday, July 15th @ 7pm


Bringing a bit of a reggae feel into their folk roots tunes, Current Swell has created a sound of their own. West Coast island life is perfectly personified in many of their songs, as is their early travels as a band. Listening to Current Swell will make you feel like you’re on the most down to earth coastal getaway.

7. Donovan Woods – Thursday, July 16th @ 6pm


Donovan Woods has made a name for himself by writing simple but totally accessible folk songs that have something special about them. With a very distinct sound, Woods has not only put out three amazing albums but has written a number of songs for the likes of Tim McGraw and Alan Doyle, and that’s no small feat.

8. Lowell – Friday, July 17th @ 8:30pm


Electro-pop, catchy hooks, and lyrics with a message; that’s what you get when you listen to Lowell. Check her out if you’re into hearing about feminism, LGBTQ rights, and social justice, while dancing the night away.

9. The Beaches – Saturday, July 18th @ 4:30pm


Reminiscent of The Runaways, this loud alt-rock girl group is guaranteed to get you moving. Their new EP, Heights, has received great reviews so you don’t want to miss then playing these new songs live!

10. “Weird Al” Yankovic – Sunday, July 19th @ 5:30pm


Ever since his debut album in 1983, Weird Al has brought us relevant and entertaining parodies of pop songs, and there’s no way you want to miss him jamming out on the accordion.

Get ready for a music (and food) filled festival from July 8th to 19th, down at Lebreton Flats in Ottawa. For the full line-up and to purchase tickets go to http://ottawabluesfest.ca/.