The 21st Annual TD Kitchener Blues Festival is promising another weekend of great entertainment, live music, workshops and more for the whole family.
Marketing Director Hugh Munro said the Festival, running from Aug. 10 to 13, is set to be a family-friendly event that will run rain or shine and present the Blues in a way long-time fans and people new to the genre can enjoy.
“Historically we’ve had around 100,000 people attend the festival each year,” he said. “Not only is it just for adults but there are children’s stages set up, a gospel hour on Sunday, workshops, merchandise tables, many different kinds of food vendors and a whole lot more.”
Supported mainly by sponsors and government grants, the festival is free to attend other than the ticketed fundraising concert kicking off the event on Aug. 10. The concert will be at Victoria Park with doors opening at 5 p.m. and the show starting at 7 p.m. The festival has three main stages set up throughout downtown Kitchener.
“The fundraising concert is the only ticketed event for the entire weekend and features Digging Roots opening for the featured band, the Spin Doctors,” explained Munro.
Munro said seeing the high-calibre level of skill the artists will be bringing to this year’s festival is what he is most excited to see.
“We are trying to bring more people into the world of the Blues and are adding to the genre a bit. We have some really traditional Blues artists coming but we also have several ‘rocky’ Blues artists on the line-up as well to bring a younger generation into the fold. From artists across the pond, the U.S., and across Canada, we are so excited about the buzz this event is already drawing. It is great to see so much activity in the downtown core and parks. The city needs that.”
This year the festival is showcasing four Indigenous artists and bands and Munro said it is exciting while also important to ensure there is Indigenous representation at events such as this.
“Those from on and around the Grand River have always had a strong following of Blue fans. Indigenous music has become more mainstream over the years and we are starting to see a lot more Indigenous performers make it big while representing who they are, their culture and where they come from,” explained Munro. “Music is a reflection of the artist who is performing. They sing what they have lived and experienced and that is really what music and the Blues are all about.”
The Indigenous groups at this year’s event are; Digging Roots, Dwayne Laforme’s Boogie Blues, and Patrick Alexandre Lyle Odjick & The Northern Steam.
“We are always trying to plant seeds for the future and keep live music alive. We believe the Blues will always have a place in our hearts,” said Munro.
Anyone requiring accessibility requirements should contact festival organizers via email at email@example.com. Visit kitchenerbluesfestival.com for more information on the event.
Munro said the phrase, “it takes a village to run something like this,” also rings true for Kitchener’s four-day festival. Anywhere from 300 to 400 volunteers have committed to helping artists set up, prepare the stage, clean, organize, and help the event succeed.
“It takes a lot of very passionate volunteers to run an event such as the TD Kitchener Blues Festival and we can not thank them enough,” said Munro.