We’re nearing July and for those of us here in Ottawa (and those who are up for travelling to hear some stellar tunes) that means Ottawa Bluesfest is just around the corner! This year the festival will take place from July 7th to 17th with a number of incredible local bands as well as showstoppers from around the globe. Here’s a list of the top ten acts I’m looking forward to seeing and there’s definitely something for everyone!
- Boy & Bear – Thursday, July 7th @ 7:30pm
While they aren’t the only Australian act gracing the Bluesfest stage this year (Tal Wilkenfeld, and The Paper Kites are returning as well), they do bring a taste of their signature folk tunes with an incredibly catchy twist. Check out their recent album, Limit of Love, or their 2013 single, “Southern Sun,” for a snippit of what to expect.
- The Heavy Medicine Band – Friday, July 8th, 6pm
The name says it all for this local psychedelic rock band, making you feel like you’re on the smoothest trip of your life. Last fall they released Conduit EP to rave reviews and much talk about how Keturah Johnson’s vocals are incredibly unique and mesmerizing.
- Tal Wilkenfeld – Friday, July 8th @ 8:15pm
After going on tour with every big name in rock and jazz that you can probably think of, Tal Wilkenfeld has become one of the youngest and most celebrated bassists of the decade. In 2006 at only 20 years old, Wilkenfeld recorded her debut album, Transformation, in just 2 days. She is working on her sophomore release as we speak so check out her new single “Corner Painter,” to see what all the fuss is about.
- Earl Sweatshirt – Saturday, July 9th @ 7pm
Most known for his previous membership in the hip-hip collective, Odd Future (OFWGKTA), Earl Sweatshirt has been making waves in the LA rap scene for his notable collaborations –Frank Ocean, Tyler The Creator, and BadBadNotGood, to name a few. He may only be 22 years old but this rap prodigy is already working on his third studio album.
- Tor Miller – Saturday, July 9th @ 6pm
Another young musician will be joining the slew of talented folk this Bluesfest. Tor Miller is a gifted pianist and vocalist who gained inspiration from Elton John, David Bowie, and Fleetwood Mac as a teen and went on to NYU’s Clive Davis School of Recorded Music so hone his craft.
- Wild Child – Sunday, July 10th @ 7:30pm
With two lead vocalists, and a sprawling grassroots following, this Austin-based band is all about having an amazing time while doing something they love. Music is everything to Wild Child, and they’ll show you just how much fun you can have while listening to them play live. Listen to singles, “Pillow Talk,” “Crazy Bird,” and “Fools,” for a taste of what you’re in for.
- Alessia Cara – wednesday, July 13th @ 7pm
Hailing from the Toronto suburb, Brampton, this pop-R&B songwriter has crashed onto the scene in just the past year. Not only was her first single, “Here,” a track that all of those low-key loner types could get behind(myself included), Cara has now had the opportunity to join the likes of Taylor Swift, and Coldplay on stage and just this past week was featured on a re-released version of Troye Sivan’s song, “Wild.”
- Her Harbour – Wednesday, July 13th @ 7:30pm
Her Harbour is the stage name of Montreal-born, Ottawa-based musician, Gabrielle Giguere, who will be filling the Barney Danson theatre with her ethereal vocals and vulnerable lyrics. You won’t want to miss Giguere and her delicate autoharp this summer!
- PUP – Thursday, July 14th @ 6pm
If punk is more your style then look no further than Toronto band, PUP. Having just three years under their belt, they tend to be extremely enthusiastic and go all-out for every single show (like every great punk band should) and I’m sure their set at Bluesfest won’t be an exception.
- Bonnie Doon – Sunday, July 17th @ 1pm
Lastly, I offer you one of my favourite punk-pop bands currently in the Ottawa music scene. Bonnie Doon has been praised for their energy, spooky surf vibes and interesting vocals. For a jolt of girl-power, songs dedicated to local pizza joints, and two amazing bassists (yes, TWO!), be sure to check out their set.
I hope to see a ton of you there at Lebreton Flats in Ottawa, to dance the night away, munch on local eats, and celebrate some amazing music! For the full line-up and to purchase tickets go to http://ottawabluesfest.ca/.