Now that you’ve had a chance to catch your breath after the first four days of Bluesfest, it’s time to prepare to dive headfirst into another six days of great music. Tuesday will ease you back into it, with a lighter schedule featuring one fewer venue (no shows in the Barney Danson Theatre today or tomorrow). That said, the other three stages feature quite a few acts you won’t want to miss, including international sensation Kygo headlining the City Stage. However, organizers were hit yet again with a cancellation, as Gashi has had to pull out.
City Stage: Lennon Stella (7:30pm), Kygo (9:30pm)
Videotron Stage: The Kim Pollard Band (6:30pm), Sue Foley (8pm), Buddy Guy (9:30pm)
Bluesville Stage: Scary Bear Soundtrack (6pm), Bearings (7:30pm), The Trews (9pm)
Spin Stage: DJ Prosper (6:30pm)
A fixture on the blues scene, Sue Foley makes her return to the Bluesfest stage on Tuesday, her first appearance since 2016. Sue’s critically-acclaimed 2018 album The Ice Queen (her first in six years) features some of her best songs to date, with guest appearances by ZZ Top’s Billy Gibbons and Jimmie Vaughan. Tonight will be the first opportunity for many of her fans to hear new material from the Juno winner. Given that she’ll be followed by the legendary Buddy Guy, stake out your spot early on the hill in front of the Videotron Stage and you’ll be in for a solid night of honest-to-goodness blues. (See? There is blues at Bluesfest!)
Over in the Bluesville tent, Scary Bear Soundtrack will provide the perfect set to ease you back into festival life. Their new EP boomerang kids, released in March of this year, offers up another helping of dreamy synth-pop with a slightly more polished finish than their previous EP. With additional songs in their catalogue and the fine-tuning of their live show at many gigs around the city, they seem to be hitting their stride, and this appearance at Bluesfest marks yet another step in their evolution.
Ottawa’s pop-punk Bearings returned from a European tour to play a homecoming show at the 27 Club last month, launching a run of dates across Ontario and Quebec with fellow pop-punk outfit Belmont. All that touring has helped them build up a strong fanbase, with their debut album (last year’s Blue In The Dark) getting significant streams, especially the title single and “Eyes Closed” as well as the emo-tinged ballad “Tide.”
While there are no All-Star Blues Revues today or tomorrow, the Spin Stage will be back tonight, with DJ Prosper taking over the decks.
She currently has over 8.2 million monthly listeners on Spotify, but to say Lennon Stella has blown up wouldn’t do her justice. While her recording career is only a few years old, she has been building to this point for almost a decade. The Oshawa native moved to Tennessee with her family in 2009 and began starring with her sister on the ABC drama Nashville in 2012. She scored a huge hit with her single “Polaroid” in 2018 and followed it up with her debut EP Love, me. 2019 sees her rise continue, with an appearance on the Game of Thrones soundtrack and a new single (“Bitch”) released this spring. After Bluesfest, she’ll play Lollapalooza and Osheaga before spending the fall touring with The Chainsmokers and 5 Seconds of Summer.
Nova Scotia’s The Trews will be back at Bluesfest for the first time since 2012, ready to unleash a string of hits both old and new. Since their last appearance seven years ago, they’ve released no fewer than 10 singles, most of which charted in the Top 20, including “What’s Fair Is Fair,” “New King,” and “Beautiful & Tragic,” as well as new songs off their 2018 album Civilianaires. Their latest Ottawa stops have demonstrated the band’s versatility, from their raucous set at Mill Street’s 2017 Hopped and Confused festival to last fall’s special acoustic set at the Fourth Avenue Baptist Church as part of the CityFolk off-site show series. For Bluesfest, my money is on a show filled with the energy of the former.
RBC Bluesfest is at LeBreton Flats (Canadian War Museum) from July 4–14, 2019. Visit ottawabluesfest.ca for tickets, the complete schedule and lineup. Check back for more on Bluesfest 2019, including our Day 6 preview Wednesday.