First things first: RBC Royal Bank Bluesfest in Ottawa isn’t your typical music festival. Whereas most aim to please a specific genre or typical crowd of people, the Bluesfest lineup caters to literally any taste, at any age whether you’re into rock, pop, dance, rap, folk or blues. Forget your standard festival food; the frozen burgers and greasy fries. Bluesfest boasts everything from shawarma and tacos to jerk chicken and philly cheesesteaks. Your music festival spans the course of a summer weekend? That’s cute. Bluesfest lasts for TWELVE DAYS. Straight.
The festival has grown from a one-stage, three-day event to a multi-staged, 12-day showcase, boasting some of the biggest names in music. And after our incredible experience at this powerhouse of a festival last year (which you can watch here), we jumped at the chance to experience all that this year has to offer.
Right after landing in Ottawa, we get a phone call. Our interview with Carly Rae Jepsen needs to happen, like… now. We pack up our equipment and six people into two vans and it’s off to the races again. Our Bluesfest 2012 journey has officially begun.
In the front seat during the short trip from the hotel to the site, Matt is going over his notes for Carly Rae Jepsen and looks back at me, beaming with pride about his first question. He’s going to find out what kind of wild antics went down on the tour bus while she was traveling the country with Hanson. I’m not exactly sure what he’s envisioning, since I assume they practiced harmonizing while playing with kittens and were all in bed by 11 P.M. But maybe I’m wrong.
Despite not feeling well, Carly Rae Jepsen was a total sweetheart. She spoke about her love for Joni Mitchell and what it’s been like seeing her single “Call Me Maybe” skyrocket to the top of the charts around the world. Much to Matt’s dismay, she insisted that her fiestas with the “MMMBop” boys did not include any booze and/or groupies. After an awkward yet brutally endearing fist-bump with Matt, we wrapped up the interview and she headed to the stage. Once her set was done, she hung around backstage for the rest of the evening and I even spotted her in the crowd enjoying LMFAO’s set at the end of the night.
Although Skyblu is out with a back injury, it didn’t stop Redfoo and the rest of the LMFAO gang (including the incredible dancers from Quest Crew) from getting a jam-packed crowd jumping and screaming. After mass amounts of lasers, bright lights, inflatable zebras and crotch shots, we wrapped up and headed back to our hotel, slightly confused and very sweaty.
There’s still plenty of RBC Royal Bank Bluesfest to go, including performances from City and Colour, Alice Cooper, Iron Maiden MSTRKRFT, Norah Jones, Seal, Down With Webster, I Mother Earth, Nickelback and more. For the full schedule head to http://www.ottawabluesfest.ca.
- Sarah Dawley
Photography by Patrick Doyle