Bluesfest Day Eight: The Glorious Sons, Anderson .Paak, and a lightning storm

Following a miserable evening featuring mobs and numerous medical emergencies, the eighth night of Bluesfest was back with a much more promising and exciting line up until rain forced the later parts of the evening to be cancelled.

Before the first concerts began and the major crowds had arrived, festivalgoers shared their stories about what they witnessed the night before.

“Last night was definitely the worst experience at not even just Bluesfest, but any concert [or] festival I’ve ever been a part of,” said Matt Morgan, a fan who had arrived much earlier the night before to get a good spot for Migos. Despite what happened the night before, Morgan was back and feeling more optimistic.

“I feel like the crowd’s going to be a lot nicer,” he said.

One of the first acts to take the stage was The Texas Horns, who treated the small crowd under the tented Bluesville Stage to a pleasant instrumental big brass sound. The audience was happy to welcome back Bluesfest’s “in-house horn section,” who has performed at the festival on a regular basis for numerous years.

“The Lady Gaga’s, the Kanye West’s, they come and go,” said saxophone player Mark ‘Kaz’ Kazanoff when referring to some of the festival’s previous headliners. “Who’s at Bluesfest every year?”

Shortly after, a large enthusiastic crowd welcomed The Glorious Sons to the Claridge Homes Stage. With a classic psychedelic sound, the Kingston-based indie rock band and the crowd fed off each other’s energy in what was a fun performance full of positive vibes.

In particular, lead singer Brett Emmons rocked the stage with a presence similar to that of The Tragically Hip’s Gord Downie, another famous frontman from Kingston. Wearing a tattered denim jacket and no shoes or socks, Emmons vigorously danced across the stage with his microphone stand, came in very close contact with fans in the front row, and sat down during song breaks to enjoy a glass of red wine.

Following The Glorious Sons was rapper Anderson .Paak, who brought his unique R&B and jazz-infused style of hip-hop to the stage. Backed by The Free Nationals, Anderson .Paak’s performance stood out far ahead of any of the other rap headliners at the festival, mostly because people were generally much more respectful while enjoying the show.

Unfortunately, lightning struck nearby within half an hour of the beginning of Anderson .Paak’s performance, and the entire festival was put on hold. Nearly 30 minutes later, the festival resumed and Anderson .Paak was able to finish his set.

However, at the same time, A Tribe Called Red took to the Bluesville Stage. Over the last few year, the DJ trio featuring members 2oolman, DJ NDN, and Bear Witness has become one of Ottawa’s top musical acts. Combining traditional Indigenous music styles, such as drumming and throat singing, with modern electronic dance music, A Tribe Called Red has brought their unique sound around, promoting messages of reconciliation and resilience.

While the diverse all-ages crowd was enjoying the party under the shelter of the Bluesville Stage, the performance came to an abrupt halt after lightning struck again and everyone on the festival grounds was forced into the Canadian War Museum. Just before 10:30 p.m., it was announced via Twitter that performances would not resume.

While fans were disappointed with the cancellations, they seemed understanding.

“There was a lot of lightning,” said fan Chris Halladay, who was standing by the museum entrance. “It’s unfortunate, but Ottawa’s got some pretty tough weather.”