Blues Festivals in Canada

Canada is the site of a number of great blues festivals every year. You could chow down on BBQ while taking in some Chicago blues or enjoy beer in an environmentally friendly cup during a blues-influenced pop act's set. Whatever blues is to you, Canada has a music festival to offer.

The Cisco Ottawa Bluesfest is a 12-day event held in July in Ottawa, Ontario. Ottawa XPress awarded it the 2008 Readers Choice Award for Best Festival. According to its website, it is "the Canadian version" of huge American festivals like "Bonnaroo, Coachella, and/or the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage festival." More than 350,000 attended the 2009 festival. The Ottawa Bluefest features approximately 200 artists on five stages playing blues, folk, jazz, rap soul, funk, world and alternative music. Notable past performers include Buddy Guy, Bob Dylan, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Van Morrisson, Kiss, James Brown, Elvis Costello and White Stripes. A number of clothing, craft and jewelry vendors are available at the Merchants Village. Festival goers can meet their favorite musicians at the autograph tent. Environmentally conscious visitors will delight in the festival's greening efforts, which include using compostable beer cups and encouraging arrival by bicycle.

Cisco Ottawa Bluesfest

265 Catherine Street

(2nd floor)

Ottawa, ON K1R 7S5



Edmonton's Labatt Blues Festival is a three-day event held rain or shine in August in Hawrelak Park at The Heritage Amphitheatre in Edmonton, Alberta. According to its website, the festival is "Western Canada's Premier Blues Event." Notable past performers include Joe Louis Walker, Elvin Bishop, Los Lobos, W.C. Clark, Jimmie Vaughan and John Hammond. Blues International Ltd. organizes the festival. Their mission is "to present three days of blues, and nothin' but the blues, showcasing local, national and international talent." Festival goers can board a shuttle to the festival at the University of Alberta. The festival also offers food vendors, a blues bar, blues store, dance floor and autograph table. Attendees needn't bring their credit cards; the festival is cash only. ATMs are available on-site.

Heritage Amphitheatre

14th Floor, CN Tower

10004 104 Avenue

P. O. Box 2359

Edmonton, AB T5J 2R7



Bluefest Windsor is a three-day event held on the banks of the Detroit River in Windsor, Ontario. It coincides with its sister Bluesfest held in London, Ontario. Its mandate is "to produce an annual world class music festival, promoting local, regional and international artists." Notable past performers include Buckwheat Zydeco, Double Trouble, Dr. John, Little Feat, John Lee Hooker Jr. and the Yardbirds. Food vendors are on hand to supply pizza, BBQ and a juice bar. Guests can also attend a music clinic and the festival's after parties.

Riverfront Festival Plaza, Riverside Drive East

Windsor, ON

N9A 4N4



Approved by Jesse Anderson