RBC Bluesfest organizers today announced several major additions to what has been cited by Billboard Magazine as one of North America’s top-ten music festivals.
Particularly noteworthy are Jimmy Eat World; while remaining a league above the generation of emo-core torch-bearers they helped spawn, Jimmy Eat World continues to appeal to a broader audience with a blend of alternative rock and power pop that targets the heart as well as the head. The band's influence became huge with 1999's Clarity—an album that has since emerged as a landmark of the emo genre. The infectious single‘The Middle’ went on to establish Jimmy Eat World as major figures in commercial rock.
The Specials, who were added to the program mere hours after the line-up was initially launched, are definitely a must-see. They are regarded as true innovators of the punk era and began the British ska revival craze, combining the highly danceable ska and rock-steady beat with punk's energy and attitude.
Also from the UK, The Waterboys will be hitting the stage as well, led by uber-literate singer/songwriter Mike Scott. The band's music is a mix of Celtic folk music and rock and roll. The early Waterboys sound was dubbed "The Big Music" after a song on their second album, 'A Pagan Place'. Their musical style has influenced bands such as Simple Minds, Big Country, and the Hothouse Flowers, and musicians such as Eddie Vedder and Colin Meloy of The Decemberists. Bono and The Edge are both big fans of the band.
Another act that will be visiting Ottawa for the 'fest this summer, having attracted a lot of attention at South by Southwest in Austin, is WATSKY—a rapper, writer and performer from San Francisco. George Watsky won the Brave New Voices National Poetry Slam in 2006. Rapping all the while under the name WATSKY, he released his self-titled debut in 2010. The recording peaked at #7 on the iTunes hip-hop charts. In January 2011 George’s fast-rapping went viral and led to two appearances on The Ellen Degeneres Show, a slot onLast Call with Carson Daly, and an exploding online profile. George has performed at the Just for Laughs festival in Montreal, the NAACP Image Awards on FOX, three times at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC, and has been featured in XXL, Billboard Magazine, and The New York Times Magazine. His social media presence made him one of only 23 artists dubbed by The Next Big Sound as a ‘Big Sound of 2011,’ alongside Mac Miller and Skrillex
Some key ingredients that will be brought in for Ottawa’s electronic dance music fans include Dog Blood, an electro side project formed in 2012 by Skrillex & Boys Noize. Their debut single, 'Next Order / Middle Finger', was released last year on Beatport and ITunes. The song 'Next Order' reached #1 on Beatport's top-10 Techno song list. In November of 2012, Dog Blood announced they were working on new material. Skrillex premiered a new Dog Blood track this past December. Cutting edge acts such as RL Grime; Bondax; Dzeko&Torres; Keys N Krates have also been added to the EDM menu.
Other crowd-pleasing names include: Dan Deacon; The Record Company; blues trio Trampled Under Foot; and a pair of exceptional blues guitarists—Steve Hill and Steve Strongman. A few final pieces of the puzzle remain to be confirmed, but by all appearances the RBC Bluesfest’s programming team remains hard at work, shaping what is sure to rank as one of the landmark events, in the festival’s 20-year history.
“As a practical matter, in terms of the programming time-line, we’re always working towards fine-tuning the line-up following the initial announcement,” says executive and programming director, Mark Monahan. “From a fan perspective, it’s become something our patrons seem to look forward to with interest. The added buzz began early this year, when we were able to confirm Björk, hours after our initial launch. These more recent additions will round out the line-up nicely.”
RBC Bluesfest continues to strengthen its international reputation as a premiere music festival thanks to a perennially world-class line-up, an outstanding festival site, and soaring popularity among music fans of all stripes. “We really appreciate the continued support we’ve received over the years,” adds Monahan. “Ottawa has become one of the best places in Canada to catch live music, and we’re able to book a lot of cutting-edge and emerging acts thanks to the awareness and variety of music fans that attend the festival.”
Mr Monahan and the rest of his programming team are aiming to post a complete list of performers’ time slots for the schedule, on-line, by the end of April. It is worth noting that the schedule for an event of this size is often subject to change. As we approach opening day, it’s always a good idea for fans to refer to the RBC Bluesfest’s website for ongoing updates on www.ottawabluesfest.ca.