I hope all you festival-goers enjoy your breather Monday to recharge, because after a spectacular four days to start Bluesfest, the festival is taking it up another notch with six more days of live music.
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.
And check out our Spotify playlist for all the best tunes from this week’s artists.
Easing festival-goers back into the party on Tuesday will be Montreal’s Frase at 6pm. His soft vocals and captivating grooves meld into a perfect blend of ambient yet melodic electronic soul, highlighting his many talents as a multi-instrumentalist, singer, and DJ.
Then the energy will be ratcheted up when SAINt JHN follows up at 7:30pm. The hitmaker went viral on TikTok with his hit “Roses”, which has over 1.6 billion streams on Spotify to date, the culmination of years of collaborations (Lil Baby, Meek Mill, etc.) co-writing (Usher, Kanye West), and his own solo work. The genre-defying New Yorker’s tracks mesh R&B and EDM beats to produce catchy hooks that are bound to get the crowd moving.
Continuing the theme of genre-bending, headliner Marshmello will bring his high-energy set to close the night. The DJ and producer has collaborated with artists from a wide array of genres, crafting hits with everyone from the Jonas Brothers to Kane Brown to Yungblud. While fans may not get to see his face, they are sure to see plenty of pyrotechnics, lights, and of course his trademark helmet.
Over on the SiriusXM Stage, a less electronic experience awaits festival-goers. Starting off the evening is local Lyle Odjick & The Northern Steam at 6pm. His classic harmonica blues has been infused with a slightly more modern sound on his new album Through The Rain, but while the songs may be new, they still feel like a perfect fit alongside covers of blues greats. Next at 7:30pm is Jontavious Willis, a young bluesman clearly intent on ensuring classic blues will live on for another generation. His vocals and steel or slide guitar work have a timeless quality. For those who lament the lack of blues at Bluesfest, this one is a must.
Finally at 9pm is Michael Franti & Spearhead, bringing some optimism to close the show. While his style may vary, with nods to a variety of world music genres such as dancehall and reggae, the one common thread is that it’s all upbeat. His newest album oozes optimism, and with song titles including “Good Day for a Good Day,” “Life is Amazing,” and “Brighter Day,” you can be sure the pandemic has failed to curtail Franti’s positive outlook.
In one of the more homogenous lineups at Bluesfest, the River Stage features a healthy helping of rock Tuesday, starting at 6:30pm with Mississauga’s Emma Armstrong ft. A Short Walk To Pluto. Their single “Phantom Lover” garnered attention from key playlists, highlighting the band’s ability to play classic guitar-driven rock, followed with the latest single “Yorkleigh” which has a much more prog-rock sound. Whichever style of rock they try, the result is a well-crafted track that only increases the anticipation for a full album.
Next up at 8pm is Crown Lands, the 2021 Juno winners for Breakthrough Group of the Year. The Oshawa duo blend roots rock with prog and heavy influences to highlight Cody Bowles’ soaring vocals and Kevin Comeau’s blistering guitar. Their latest release, the five-track White Buffalo EP, has landed them opening spots for major international tours, and yet still feels like it’s only scratching the surface of their potential.
Capping off the rock trifecta is Three Days Grace at 9:30pm. The Peterborough band last played Bluesfest in 2018 with a blistering set of hits from their 15-year career at the time. Now with a new album in hand, May’s EXPLOSIONS, which has already spawned more hits with “So Called Life” and the latest, “Lifetime,” which is their 17th #1 on the Billboard Mainstream Rock chart, an all-time record. If their 2018 set is any indication, fans should expect incredible energy, passion, and a sizeable mosh pit.
Barney Danson Theatre
No shows are scheduled for the theatre Tuesday, but indoor sets resume Wednesday and continue to the end of the festival.
And for the second week at the Accora Village Spin Stage, Rise Ashen takes over from DJ Balu.
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.