ARTS&LIFE: B.B. King coming to Blues­fest,

Ottawa Citizen - - CITY - PETER ROBB

Who says there’s no blues at Blues­fest?

The or­ga­niz­ers seem to be putting that ca­nard to rest by an­nounc­ing, on the fes­ti­val Face­book page, that B.B. King and his gui­tar Lu­cille, will close the 2013 fes­ti­val on July 14.

Ac­cord­ing to Blues­fest di­rec­tor of op­er­a­tions Mike Rouleau, this is the first time the leg­endary gui­tarist has played Blues­fest in its 19-year his­tory.

Fes­ti­val CEO Mark Mon­a­han says the tim­ing has fi­nally worked out to bring King to the fes­ti­val. In the past he has of­ten played fes­ti­vals in Europe dur­ing the sum­mer.

While he de­nies that this an­nounce­ment is an at­tempt to re­dress the Blues bal­ance at Blues­fest, Mon­a­han did speak to an­other is­sue that sur­faced last year.

He said the fes­ti­val re­ceived a lot of feed­back from past fes­ti­val go­ers that Blues­fest did not cater to the boomer crowd.

For the past few years the fes­ti­val has been bring­ing in a di­verse mix of mu­si­cal acts and has tried to strike a bal­ance be­tween ca­ter­ing to the de­sires of a very di­verse au­di­ence. The in­crease in elec­tronic dance mu­sic is an ex­am­ple of that. Last sum­mer the fest fea­tured two of the big­gest names in EDM, Tiesto and Skrillex. Mon­a­han says the or­ga­niz­ers want to con­tinue to at­tract more young ticket buy­ers. But that doesn’t mean they want to turn away older ticket-buy­ers.

“I am cog­nizant and aware of that (con­cern that was ex­pressed last sum­mer) and I am try­ing to strike a bal­ance,” he said. “Be­cause it’s such a di­verse au­di­ence it’s im­pos­si­ble to please ev­ery­one. ... I’m hop­ing peo­ple can find some­thing they like and not feel the need to point at what they don’t like.”

Tues­day’s an­nounce­ment is likely to be­gin the an­nual buildup of spec­u­la­tion about who is coming to the fes­ti­val in ad­vance of the an­nounce­ment by the end of April of the full slate of per­form­ers.


Leg­endary blues mu­si­cian B.B. King and his gui­tar, Lu­cille, will close this year’s Blues­fest on July 14.

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