Sunday, the last day of Bluesfest. Finally! As much as I enjoyed seeing the many live shows, I was ready to get back to my real life and rest up.
After my very last volunteer shift, I headed to the River Stage to catch Monkey Junk. The Ottawa group won a Juno last year for Blues Album of the Year and have been getting lots of praise in the Canadian music scene.
Afterwards, we walked back to the Claridge Stage where J.W. Jones was playing. We only stayed for 3 or 4 songs before we headed back to the main stage for a prime spot for the next show: Alice in Chains.
Now, I wouldn't call myself a fan of Alice in Chains. The only reason I went to check out the show was because of my partner, who is a big fan. I did know some of their material but I hadn't given the band much of a chance. Well, that definitely changed after seeing them live. Wow!
The group put on a great show with lots of energy. They played a lot of older material, especially from their second album "Dirt". They also played songs from their latest album "The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here", released back in May.
Then I hurried back to the Claridge stage for the lovely Serena Ryder. As you know, I am a huge fan of her latest album "Harmony". I was really bummed to have missed her show last Winter at Mavericks so this was time for redemption.
Ryder was in a great mood and seemed genuinely excited to be playing. She interacted a lot with the crowd, and shared many of her experiences with the audience, including her battle of depression. I really appreciate when artists allow themselves to be vulnerable and share some of their struggles with the world, especially mental health issues.
Her setlist including many songs off "Harmony", including "Fall", "For You", "Heavy Love", "Baby Come Back", "Mary Go Round" and "What I Wouldn't Do", my favourite song of the album. She finished her set with "Stompa", which the crowd really enjoyed.
Afterwards, Yukon Blonde was playing at the main stage. I had seen these guys at last year's Folkfest and they are really good. I checked out a few songs, before venturing to the River Stage to catch Los Lonely Boys. They started their set with a wicked cover of Jimi Hendrix's "Voodoo Child". Unfortunately, we decided not to stay there long, and headed towards the Claridge Stage in an attempt to see B.B. King.
The keyword here is attempt. We attempted to get to the Claridge Stage. However, no one could get to the Claridge Stage because there were so many people squeezed into a significantly small space. First, not putting a legendary blues artist on the main stage was a huge mistake. All of the entrances and exits were blocked, and people were not moving. A huge safety hazard!
I was starting to feel claustrophobic so we (eventually) left and stood behind the gates. We stayed for one or two songs but then we just left. The show was already ruined in our minds so there was no need to stick around.
Overall, I think that this year's Bluesfest ended on more of a sour note. As a event planner, I absolutely hate when important logistical details are overlooked. I hate it even more when they are not addressed afterwards. However, this year's festival had some great shows but a lot of technical issues (especially sound issues), which really unfortunately for one of North America's best music festival.