Sound Seekers

SOUND SEEKERS: Bluesfest tips as the fest winds down (AKA how to get beer faster), plus best bets and wishlist for 2013

Sound Seekers by Fateema Sayani is published weekly at Read Fateema Sayani’s culture column in Ottawa Magazine and follow her on Twitter @fateemasayani

Thousands head to LeBreton Flats to dance away the day at Bluesfest. Photo by Mediaplus.

Festival season in Ottawa comes with its own rituals and memes. Long-time O-towners will be happy to know that the perennial bitch session over lawn chairs (the sitters versus the standers) and smokers (do/don’t) seems not to have dominated the discourse this year. In fact, the major complaint about Bluesfest (aside from the Nickelback bashing) seems to be about the seagulls and how to dodge them.

As the big bash heads into its final weekend, Ottawa Magazine provides a list of festival tips compiled from on-site experience and from friends’ crabby Facebook posts. Want to add to the list? Tweet us with your info at @ottawamag. We also list the best bets for the rest of the week.

And finally, scroll down for Fateema Sayani’s talent wishlist for Bluesfest 2013 (sorted by category) and weigh in with your picks on Twitter.

“Bring a clean shirt for when the seagulls poop on you.”

“Don’t line up at the main gate; there’s always a stupid line, but if you go to the other entrances, they are much faster.”

“If you want beer and don’t mind walking, go to the beer tents next to the stages without bands playing. They are always empty.”

“Based on my experience working the beer tents, I’d say go to beer tent 3 (right in the middle on the War Museum side). There were pretty much no lines there.”

“Good free view from the road right beside the main stage.”

“Side stage creep in always works. A frontal approach is too daunting and armies flanked for a reason.”

“The right side of the main stage is the best. It has a higher elevation, better sight lines, and is not hemmed by barricades near the gold circle on left side.”

“If you’re jammed and feeling claustrophobic, tilt your head back and pretend that you’re lying in an open field — and don’t ever bud. Karma is real.”


A ticket to Sunday's concerts (when Metric is playing) is sure to solidify your indie cred.

If you’re only going to buy a ticket/wristband thingie for one of the remaining days, the best bang for your buck is Saturday for a mix of electro (Diplo! Skrillex! Tyga!), hot local acts (Sound of Lions! Souljazz Orchestra!) — and whatever category you want to lump Mastodon into.

A ticket for Sunday’s gig is surety for your indie cred. You’ve got Birthday Girls (distorted bass, yeah!), The Balconies (Ottawa band does good), Wintersleep and Young Empires (club bands hit the big stage), Metric (competing with Blue Rodeo for the title of Band that Plays Bluesfest Every Year) and The Weeknd — ooohhh those tune are stuck in my head. The Weeknd!

If you can’t attend the festival, then you can always creep the experience via social media, which is always full of odd insight. For example, when celebrities take a tour of Ottawa, they make sure to stop by all the picturesque sites — including the Canada Revenue Agency.

Commentary surrounding the launch of the Bluesfest lineup in April focused on its heavy electro emphasis and on the fact that organizers had watered down tastes as evidenced by the programmers’ choice of Nickelback as a headliner (the park was reportedly jammed that night — or so I heard. I was not there and if I was I would never admit it). Some people thought the electro acts were a huge departure from the blues genre, or an effort to pander to a younger generation — others thought it was friggin’ sick. ‘Tis the thing about opinions, they’re easy to find and share. With that in mind, we’re hoping to start some Twitter traffic with a wishlist for 2013. Here’s mine:

Obscure Band from Back in the Day that Is Still Touring
Dead Can Dance

Awesome MC with Indie Scene Cred
Roots Manuva

Throwback Rap Act That Recently Started Touring Again

Stadium Rock Band of Nickelback Proportions That Isn’t Nickelback
Pearl Jam

Band from the ‘90s That We Haven’t Heard from in a While
Afghan Whigs

Ottawa Band That We’d Like to See for a Reunion Gig

Guilty Pleasure That’ll Bring in the Tween Set
Nelly Furtado