Ottawa Bluesfest has kicked off, now true confession there are lots I am loving and lots not so much this year. My list of love and hates may surprise you. You may not agree with my opinion and that’s ok but what the heck let’s explore. If you have a ticket or pass or are thinking of a pass here are a few great changes and maybe a few things to watch out for. Plus don’t forget to check out my Tips and Tricks to make the experience more enjoyable.
FYI, Totally not sponsored. I opted to enjoy the Festival on my own this year but love to share my experiences.
What I love at the 2018 Ottawa Bluesfest
Let’s start out with the main bowl, as much as I was sad that a stage has disappeared I love the fact thatthe bowl is better organized. One no longer has to compete with the crowds at Claridge when you are hungry. Food stands are all located near the entrance and at the opposite end of the Main Stage.
Let’s talk Snapple and Schweppes, free samples and lot’s of encouragement to try it all out.
Water stations are available and much needed. Remember to bring your own refillable jug and please fill it. Do not just bring the bottle peeps, use them.
Fun Popcorn stands all over the place again.
The Black Sheep Stage has been shifted slightly. The re-positioning of the stage has allowed for better sound and I am sure better space behind. Plus have you checked the line-up here, I love the fact that great acts are now playing at this stage. OK I know some of you thought there were great acts before, but as I am not an EDM person nor a DJ person, I love the acts at this stage. In addition it catches a nice breeze and has great seating all the way up the hill.
Additional Loves at the Ottawa Bluesfest
Supporting the youth and the art displays.
The Chill Zone- catch a great breeze off the river, enjoy some quiet time and just relax out of the glaring sun. This area was several degrees cooler and has an awesome view. Plus a few fun tents you may want to check out.
Passenger opened, need I say more. He has to be one of my fav artists so of course this is on my LOVE list.
Mill Street and their parking, eating service. Kudos to a great idea that is getting more and more popular each year. I know not connected to the Festival per say but still a great Love of mine. Guess I should also give a positive love shout out to OC Transpo and the bus service. Allowing patrons to ride free is awesome.
I love the Green Team, just have to put it out there. I watched them walk around dancing, laughing and always smiling. One of the worst jobs at the Festival and they truly love what they do. Bike Team gets the next set of Kudo’s. I wish volunteers everywhere could experience what these two teams seem to experience. If you see a person in a green shirt, please say thank you and maybe pick up some of your own garbage.
The Company I keep at the Festival
And could there be a love list without showing who I get to share this with and of course what I wear?
What I hate or really dislike about the Ottawa Bluesfest in 2018
Scheduling, honestly three acts I want to see on opening day and they are all scheduled at the exact same time! Why would Passenger not have been at the same stage as Bryan Adams, that would have allowed us to really enjoy both acts. As it was, I opted for Passenger. Sorry Bryan, I mean I did see you in 1982 and would have loved to experience your music live but PASSENGER. I do understand they are trying to expose people to different music but that does not mean you have to have them all competing against each other. Again Just my view, but based on Passenger’s expression I am not sure he wanted to compete against Bryan either.
Bluesfest Ferris Wheel and Carnival
I hate this, really I do. I mean it makes for cool pictures but seriously WHY. In addition now they have a carnival booth with stuffed animals. Not liking the carnival vibe over by the River Stage. ( OK Claridge Tent)
River Stage disappears and Claridge Tent Appears
I know it’s year two for the tent but still not liking this one. One of my fav parts of Bluesfest was always the River Stage facing, yep the River. Watching an artist perform and stopping mid-set to just stop and admire the sun setting on the river. This is a change I truly dislike. Ye there is shelter from inclement weather but the shows are no restricted so much. The tent just cannot compete with the open area for attendance. Please ditch the Wheel and bring the stage back.
Bluesfest Security and line ups
On both the love and hate list, security but that is not the festivals fault. Life and the world is crazy so I am not going to fault the security measures. Small clear bags the same as if you go to a stadium in the States is fine with me. On the hate side, one entrance. Not cool at all. Re-open the Black Sheep entrance and allow easier flow.
On the time delay, OK this is not the festivals fault folks. Seriously arrive earlier and you will walk right in. Waiting to just before the main act is going to create a bottleneck. Not reading the FAQ’s of what you can bring means you are creating the bottleneck. Take a chill pill, you can still hear the music.
and a few other issues
People who don’t know when to shut up. Honestly if you don’t want to watch the musician please move to a chill zone, or better yet put your phone away, stop texting, stop chatting and just listen. It’s the reason most of us are there.
My final major dislike is whiny people who just like to complain about everything. And oh yea people who truly do not appreciate those that do volunteer and what they are sacrificing but that is a story for another day.
What I miss at Bluesfest
I miss the Main stage location. There was something so spectacular about watching the acts on the mainstage with the City View behind you.