Kitchener Blues Festival ready to rock


Gordie Johnson and Big Sugar will bring their energetic blend of blues and reggae to Kitchener’s annual blues festival this year. (Julia Pelish file photo/Vacay.ca)

Story by Rod Charles
Vacay.ca Deputy Editor

KITCHENER, ONTARIO — If there’s one thing Waterloo Region pulls off almost as well as its Oktoberfest celebration, it’s the Kitchener Blues Festival.

Kicking off August 4-7, some of the best musicians from Canada and around the world will descend on Waterloo Region to take part in one of Canada’s best emerging music festivals.

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Eric Burdon has continued to forge new musical territory in the five decades since the iconic “House of the Rising Sun” was released. (Photo courtesy of Kitchener Blues Festival)

The event will be headlined by Eric Burdon and The Animals. Burdon has been a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame since 1994 and hailed by Rolling Stone Magazine as one of the 100 Greatest Voices of All Time.

Fans will also get to see Big Sugar, the Cowboy Junkies, Earl & The Agitators, and Foghat.

“I think it’s going to be a fabulous show. The thing about the TD Kitchener Blues Festival is that 95 per cent of it is free admission,” says Rob Deyman, executive director of the event. “We have one ticketed show with Eric Burdon and the Animals, of course Eric Burdon is a superstar and one of the father’s of British blues and a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. We have Foghat on the same show and Earl & The Agitators featuring Scott Holt. That’s the only ticketed show and that’s Thursday, August 4th. It’s all free entertainment all weekend Friday to Saturday with over 80 shows on our stages and once our stages close at 11 o’clock, we have after shows in the clubs and the restaurants mostly in downtown Kitchener. So there’s an awful lot for people to see and engage in.”

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Gordie Johnson and his Rasta brethren churn out their unique blend of roots-rock-reggae with double-neck guitars. (Photo courtesy of Kitchener Blues Festival)

The Kitchener Blues Festival will feature a number of up-and-coming musicians as well. The eclectic mix ensures music fans are exposed to unique sounds from all over the world.

“We’ve got a great folk band that’s closing the YNC stage at City Hall on Friday night. They’re a young band from Northern Michigan called Third Coast Kings. They’ve been in this area a few times in local clubs and they’ve built a really solid fan base within this region. So we are bringing them back and having them headline, it’s going to be a really, really good time,” says Deyman.

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Alternative country/blues/folk rock band Cowboy Junkies will be performing at Kitchener Blues Festival. (Photo courtesy of Kitchener Blues Festival)

Another young band Deyman pointed out is the Michael Schatte Band from nearby London, Ontario.

“I think they’re going to make some noise,” says Deyman. “I know folks in this region aren’t too familiar with them, but he’s a fabulous performer and people will like him and enjoy his music. Blackburn is more well known. They were nominated for a Juno this year. They played our lineup launch party and have quickly become fan favourites in this area. But people who are familiar with blues music will absolutely love their groove. It’s a very deep groove.”

On Saturday, there will be a full day of deep south blues, featuring artists who either play in the style of the deep south or are from the deep south, including Kenny Neal, Cedric Burnside Project and Jarekus Singleton.


Website: www.kitchenerbluesfestival.com
Dates: August 4-7, 2016
Schedule: www.kitchenerbluesfestival.com/2016-schedule
Festival Map: www.kitchenerbluesfestival.com/plan-your-visit/festival-map
Phone: 519.571.2555
Email: info@kitchenerbluesfestival.com


Website: www.explorewaterlooregion.com
Phone: 1-519-585-7517 Toll-Free: 1-877-585-7517


Rod has previously worked for Canoe.ca and is currently freelancing for Huffington Post Travel. He’s also written travel articles for the Toronto Star and Up! Magazine. Living in Toronto but raised in the small central Ontario village of Holstein, Rod is a country boy at heart who has never met a farmer’s market he didn’t like.

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