Organizers of the Thunder Bay Blues Festival have announced the full line-up for the 2019 festival and say that fans can prepare for the most headlining performances of its 18-year history. The lineup is led by Canadian rock legend Bryan Adams who will perform on Saturday, July 6.
“After the success of the past few festivals, we knew that we would need to work very hard to find the very best artists and present as many headlining performances as we could fit into each day,” said general manager and festival programmer, Bob Halvorsen. “At the same time, we’ve made it possible for people to see 20 artists, all in one place, over one weekend, and all for what works out to be less than $10 each, when purchased on a weekend pass. We consciously sought out Grammy, Billboard, JUNO, and Maple Blues Award winners – who are known throughout the world as music icons and/or living legends in their respective genres.”
The festival will kick off on Friday, July 5 with the evening lineup featuring multiple JUNO and Canadian Country Music Association (CCMA) award winner, Johnny Reid, along with Officer of the Order of Canada, Member of Canada’s Walk of Fame, and multiple JUNO award winner, Tom Cochrane with Red Rider. Friday will also feature St Paul & The Minneapolis Funk Allstars. St. Paul is a former member of The Time and has also led Prince’s The Family band. His band is made up of legends in the Minneapolis music scene, including Jellybean Johnson on guitar. Festivalgoers will experience hits that define the Minneapolis sound, including songs by The Time and Prince. Friday’s schedule begins with the blues/rock guitar and vocals of Ariel Posen followed by blues powerhouse, Davy Knowles.
Saturday, July 6, is jam-packed with headliners culminating with Grammy and JUNO award winner and member of the Canadian Music Hall of Fame, Bryan Adams. “Bryan Adams is somebody who we’ve wanted to have at Blues Fest for a long time,” says Halvorsen. “We’ve been actively trying to book Adams for years, so we are thrilled to have him headlining this year’s festival.” Saturday will also see the return of Amanda Marshall who amazed the audience with her spectacular performance at the 2017 festival. Before Marshall is multiple CCMA winning artist Meghan Patrick who credits Bonnie Raitt and Aretha Franklin among her biggest influences.
The Saturday lineup also features Canadian rockers, The Trews, Alfie Zappacosta, The Lincolns with their 60s and 70s rhythm and blues sound, and perennial local favourites, The Chain.
The festival wraps up on Sunday, July 7 with Canadian Music Hall of Fame member and multiple JUNO award winner Burton Cummings & Band, multiple JUNO award winner Jann Arden, alt-rockers 54.40, the unmistakable Maple Blues Award Winning vocal prowess of Dawn Tyler Watson, Canada’s most authentic Tragically Hip tribute act, The Hip Show, the horn and guitar infused sound of the Ben Racine Band, the soul renegade from Minneapolis, Ken Valdez, and the blues, roots and rock sounds of local band James Boraski & MomentaryEvolution.
“We are really looking forward to the world-class performances that each of these acts will deliver,” says Halvorsen. “This year’s festival promises to be one of the best ever!”
Like last year, performances will be enhanced by the SL 320 stage, state-of-the-art sound system, improved lighting, and video panels that were put in place for the 2018 festival. Organizers say that bringing some of the headliners back for an encore performance this year will enable people to experience their performances in the professional and uncompromising manner that their shows are intended—complete with the full sound, light, and audio-visual experience that the new stage, sound system and video panels now offer.
Other enhancements to the festival include an expanded VIP area for added comfort and sight lines, and a second water station will be added to make it easier to refill water bottles.
Weekend passes and VIP weekend passes go on sale on Friday, March 22, at 11:30 am and are available online at tbca.com, by phone or in-person at the TBCA box office.
Look for complete biographies and photos of the artists on festival’s website tbayblues.ca.