Festival Guide: RBC Bluesfest 2016 – July 7

It’s that time of year again, folks.

RBC Bluesfest is getting underway for the 22nd year in Ottawa Thursday night and the 2016 edition is expected to be yet another fantastic festival. With every year getting bigger and better, Bluesfest has drawn some of the best names in new music, and 2016 is no different, with headliners such as Red Hot Chili Peppers, Brad Paisley, Future, Wolf Parade, and many more hitting the stage in the coming days.

With such a number of fantastic performances every night, Dusty Organ wants to make your experience as easy as possible, and help you discover some of the best talent over the next few days. Below is our festival guide for tonight’s shows, and stay tuned for more exciting content for each night.

Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to stay up to date, and check out our Top 10 Must-See Non-Headlining Performances for a preview into some of the festival’s hidden gems.

For the full festival line-up and everything else, head to the official website.


Suits n’ Toques

Black Sheep Stage: 6:00 – 6:45

If you’re looking to start your festival off right, Ottawa ska band Suits n’ Toques will be holding a skanking dance party at RBC Bluesfest. Taking the already-energizing genre of ska to a new level, the young group of friends blend together the sounds of ska icons The Planet Smashers, Mad Caddies and Streetlight Manifesto for a great time.


David Gogo

Black Sheep Stage: 7:00 – 8:00

Want to see a fantastic blues guitarist in his natural habitat? With over 30 years under his belt, David Gogo is a veteran performer and an award-winning musician. Taking the stage early Thursday night, Gogo will surely be nothing short of awe-inspiring with his skill and virtuosic skill.


Boy & Bear

Monster Energy Stage: 7:30 – 8:30

I’ve said it once, and I’ll say it again: Australia’s indie music scene is fantastic. Alternative folk group Boy & Bear have been around for a few years now, and continue to make a strong impression this side of the globe. Lush folk melodies combine with rustic vocals from lead singer Dave Hosking to form a well-balanced mix of indie rock and folk. Catch them by the river Thursday night and get whisked away by their charming sound.


Son Little

Black Sheep Stage: 8:15 – 9:15

Sharing numerous similarities to the Leon Bridges and Gary Clark Jr, it still surprises me when people have not heard of Son Little. The American musician has discovered a tantalizing new recipe of R&B and soul, bringing it into the 21st century with hints of electronic and experimental production, along with his crisp, gospel-infused voice. This will surely be a highlight performance at this year’s festival.


ScHoolboy Q

Claridge Stage: 8:30 – 9:30

Anyone who dabbles in the genre of hip-hop is familiar with ScHoolboy Q. With his slick, west coast style, ScHoolboy has become a household name in the genre, incorporating the aggressiveness of trap and the bass-heavy elements of the L.A. sound into his hip-hop formula. Fans are anticipating the release of his new album Blank Face, out tomorrow, and they have their fingers crossed for some new music during his performance.


The Head & the Heart

Monster Energy Stage: 9:00 – 10:15

Seattle alternative folk ensemble The Head & the Heart have been charming audiences since 2010. Since then, they have released two critically-acclaimed albums, and are set to release their third sometime this year. Born from a group of buskers and open mic performers, The Head & the Heart have an unparalleled musical authenticity and genuine love for their craft that easily transposes over into their performances.


Peter Bjorn & John

Black Sheep Stage: 9:30 – 10:45

Swedish alternative rockers Peter Bjorn and John released their latest album Breakin’ Point a few months back, adding to their extensive discography of catchy, earworm classics. Taking over the world with their smash hit “Young Folks” (yes, the one with the whistling), PB&J are known for their eccentric live performances and vibrant personalities. If pop rock legend Billy Idol isn’t for you, then don’t miss out on this Swedish trio.


Honourable Mentions:

Scattered Clouds – Barney Danson Theatre: 6:00 – 7:00

Lost to the River – Monster Energy Stage: 6:00 – 7:00

The Flava Factory – Claridge Stage: 6:30 – 7:00

Joe Jackson – City Stage: 7:00 – 8:30

Tyler Kealey – Barney Danson Theatre: 7:30 – 8:30

Billy Idol – City Stage: 9:30 – 10:45

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