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Photo: Sarah McLachlan (YouTube)

What’s on at Bluesfest: Gig Picks for Thursday July 7

By Stephane Dubord on July 6, 2022

Three summers ago, in 2019, RBC Bluesfest had an incredible lineup of world-renowned acts that included The Killers, Eric Church, The Backstreet Boys, Kygo, Snoop Dogg, The Offspring, and more dozens more notable acts.

As the 2020 edition was nearing, it seemed like Bluesfest was ready to go next-level with an exceptionally star-studded lineup, arguably the shiniest in the local event’s history. Then the whole world shut down.

Today we’re on the verge of kicking off Bluesfest again, finally, with anticipation that’s been building for years. Although some headliners have had to be replaced, Bluesfest will host great artists at LeBreton Flats. And it’s about time.

Apartment613 will have you covered on all our platforms with previews, interviews, and gig photos throughout the festival. Follow @apt613 on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and tag #APT613 in your festival shots for a chance to be featured in our feed.

Day 1 at Bluesfest: Thursday, July 7

Main Stage

Kicking off the festivities at 6pm, Jessia will set the tone with her debut hit “I’m Not Pretty” and the rest of her How Are You? EP which helped her take home the Breakthrough Artist of the Year Juno Award this year.

At 7:30pm, Alessia Cara will steer the pop night into a slightly more R&B direction. A Breakthrough Artist of the Year Juno Award-winner in her own right (2016), Cara has gone on to add four more Junos to her collection, among many other awards. Mega hits “Scars To Your Beautiful” and “Stay” have both crossed the 1 billion stream mark on Spotify, enshrining the 25 year-old as a global mainstay.

Closing the evening at 9:30pm is none other than Sarah McLachlan who has earned essentially every award possible (including 26 Junos), been named to the Order of Canada, Canada’s Walk of Fame and Canadian Music Hall of Fame. Her performance of “Angel” is bound to become an iconic Bluesfest moment that is not to be missed.

SiriusXM Stage

Ottawa’s own Angelique Francis will be offering up a pure dose of blues at 6pm, pairing nicely with sax player par excellence Vanessa Collier who brings a touch of grit to her blues. Collier is onstage at 7:30pm.

Capping the blues trifecta with a distinctive take on the genre will be Nigerien artist Bombino, who meshes music of his guitar heroes his heroes Jimi Hendrix, Dire Straits, Ali Farka Toure and Tinariwen, who influences what, at its core, remains very grounded in blues.

River Stage

While the stage setup feels intimate, and faces a grassy hill that acts as a natural barrier, quite a few of your likely new favourites will be performing at the River Stage what could become memorable sets. First to take the mic at 6:30pm will be Toronto’s Deanna Petcoff, whose star is clearly on the rise with her debut album To Hell With You, I Love You already garnering significant buzz.

Next is the Australian band Ocean Alley, whose mellow pop rock might make lying in the grass on the hill a bit difficult, given their infectious grooves feel irresistible to sit still to.

Closing the night at 9:30pm will be fellow Aussie Dean Lewis, who could very well be a headliner in a few years. With a string of hits already under his belt, including the massive “Be Alright”, the singer-songwriter’s upcoming album will undoubtedly continue his ascent into the headliner stratosphere.

Barney Danson Theatre

First to grace the stage at 6:30pm is JoJo Worthington, who will be bringing life to her meticulously produced, intimate music.

From there Alanna Sterling will perform an eclectic set with visuals, at 8pm, and if their YouTube channel is any indication, there isn’t a genre they can’t conquer with their powerful, soulful voice.

Wrapping up the night is Vanessa Collier at 9:30pm, fresh from her outdoor set on the SiriusXM Stage (7:30pm).


RBC Bluesfest runs from July 7–17, 2022 at LeBreton Flats. Visit ottawabluesfest.ca for the full schedule and lineup. General admission Day Passes cost $79.45 and a full Festival Pass is $312.97 including tax and all fees. Follow @apt613 on Instagram for all the sights and sounds of Bluesfest 2022.