The 18th edition of the FestiBlues International de Montréal kicks off tomorrow, August 6th, and winds up on Sunday the 9th. At the main Loto-Quebec stage in Ahuntsic Park, no less than four acts per evening will take the stage, beginning at 6 pm and wrapping up at about 11 pm.
Festival organizers held a press conference earlier today to present this year's lineup. Festival president Martin Laviolette highlighted the artists who make up this year's schedule, but also reminded those in attendance about the partnership with their sponsors, big and small, as well as the win-win liaison with the Ahuntsic-Cartierville borough. Laviolette also underlined the community involvement aspect of the festival, as well as their collaboration with Blues en Seine, in France. Attendees were treated to a short performance by Angel Forrest, accompanied by Denis Coulombe, as well as blues scene veteran harp player, Jim Zeller. (Jim will be releasing his new album on September 11th.) A number of artists who will be making appearances this weekend were also on hand today, including Jean Millaire, Steve Rowe, Adam Karch, and George Papafilys.
The focus is on French language acts as usual, with a mix of blues and more mainstream artists to pull in the crowds, and keep the festival viable, and hopefully convert some spectators into blues aficionados. Laviolette also mentioned during his talk the need to innovate to keep the festival fresh. Let's see what changes come with next year's 19th edition! Angel Forrest will be setting the table en anglais for Michel Rivard on Thursday night. Saturday night sees Bobby Bazini headlining, as he did recently at the Victoriaville Blues Festival. Lisa Leblanc and Alex Nevsky headline the two other nights. Each of the four evenings is named after the main FestiBlues sponsors.
Other than the main stage acts, FestiBlues has again teamed up with ten restaurants and bars to present shows off property. Among the choices (and there are 26 timeslots spread over three nights!), you can check out River City Junction from Ottawa at Le Terminus, and the Justin Saladino Band at Le St-Laurent (see the entire schedule here).
If you're in town this weekend, this is an event you can pencil into your calendar. The weather forecast looks good, and at $8 per night, or $20 for the four-day passport, this activity will not break the bank! And kids under 12 get in free. The Montreal Blues Society will be there, so come say hi to Claude, Chantal, Howie, Michelle, and Pierre in the Souvenir tent where you can buy CDs of the music you'll discover this weekend!