RBC Royal Bank Bluesfest is back for another year of rockin’ tunes and good times. To help you navigate the 12 days, five outdoor stages and 2500+ performers in the lineup, we’ve compiled a day-by-day guide.
The theme of this year’s festival is Bluesfest – Electro-fied, and who better to kick off the festivities than Tiësto? The Dutch DJ has been voted the greatest DJ of all time, and has worked with the likes of Katy Perry, Coldplay, and Kanye West. For those looking for something a little more down to earth, folk punk hero Billy Bragg will bring his socially charged lyrics to a passionate performance.
PLUS: Alan Doyle of Great Big Sea fame; the electro-rock stylings of AWOLNATION; post-punk legends The Melvins
Ever since their highly danceable smash hit “Party Rock Anthem” topped the charts in more than ten countries, electro-pop duo LMFAO has been seemingly ubiquitous. Get ready to get down when DJs Redfoo and SkyBlu (the son and grandson of Motown legend Berry Gordy) hit the stage. Continuing the electric theme is DJ Paul Oakenfold, who has been credited with breaking house music in Britain in the late ’80s.
PLUS: Highly danceable electro-pop group Dragonette; indie rock trio Plants and Animals; Canadian Idol alum Carly Rae Jepsen
City and Colour, aka Dallas Green, has become one of Canada’s most beloved singer/songwriters, recently winning the 2012 JUNO Award for Songwriter of the Year. His melodious vocals and insightful lyrics are an always-welcome addition to any festival. English singer-songwriter David Gray’s 1998 album White Ladder made him a household name, and he continues to be revered by fans and fellow musicians around the world.
PLUS: Singer-songwriter Conor Oberst; JUNO Award-winning Arkells; dance punk octet !!! (pronounced chk chk chk)
Tonight, hard rock reigns supreme. First on the stage is Alice Cooper, who brought shock rock into the foreground with theatrically gory performances and hits like “School’s Out” and “No More Mr. Nice Guy.” Following Cooper are heavy metal legends Iron Maiden, who are considered one of the best live acts to ever come out of the UK.
PLUS: Local hard-rockers Hellbros; Canadian electronic music duo MSTRKRFT
Since cleaning up at the 2003 Grammy Awards for her album Come Away With Me, Norah Jones has grown into a global phenomenon. Another big draw for the night is Seal, whose hits like “Kiss from a Rose” and “Crazy” have helped make him one of soul/R&B music’s biggest acts for the last two decades.
PLUS: Montreal’s electro-funk duo Chromeo; YouTube sensation Walk off the Earth
One of Canada’s most successful exports, Nickelback has been topping charts around the world for the last decade with rock hits like “How You Remind Me,” “Photograph,” and “Someday.” To the great delight of their fans, fellow Canadian group I Mother Earth has recently ended an eight-year hiatus and is bringing its alt rock sound to Bluesfest.
PLUS: Floridian band Shinedown; up-and-coming hard rockers My Darkest Days
Snoop Dogg is undoubtedly one of the world’s most famous rappers. After a hugely popular Bluesfest performance in 2008, he returns with his signature West Coast style. Between her successful solo career and her time as a vocalist with The Fugees, Lauryn Hill has established herself as creative force by integrating rap, soul, reggae, and R&B into her own sound.
PLUS: Bluesy husband and wife duo The Tedeschi Trucks Band; local hip-hop/alternative trio Zoo Legacy
Legendary punk band Bad Religion is considered one of the most successful independent punk acts ever, selling over 5 million albums worldwide and charting two singles on the mainstream rock charts. Canadian rock band Big Wreck has scored big with hits like “The Oaf (My Luck is Wasted)” and “That Song.” After nearly a decade-long absence, the band is back with new music and a much-anticipated stop at Bluesfest.
PLUS: Electronic artist Grimes; hip hop artist Big Boi, L.A. indie rockers Airborne Toxic Event
Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame member John Mellencamp has helped define the American rock scene with huge hits like “Jack & Diane,” “Hurts So Good,” and “R.O.C.K. In The U.S.A.” Meanwhile, The Sam Roberts Band has been a major player in the Canadian rock scene for the past decade, thanks to tunes like “Brother Down” and “Them Kids.”
PLUS: Rock and roll revivalists The Sheepdogs, Canadian alt country faves Cowboy Junkies
What would Bluesfest be without Blue Rodeo? The quintessentially Canadian roots rockers were inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of fame at the 2012 JUNO Awards in Ottawa, and their catalogue of recognizable tunes proves why. Fulfilling the electronic element is Montreal-born DJ A-Trak, who in addition to being one of the most in-demand remixers in the world, is also Kanye West’s personal tour DJ.
PLUS: Canadian favourites Our Lady Peace; indie rockers Young the Giant
Skrillex is one of the biggest names to emerge from the current electronic music movement, and after a wildly popular performance at last year’s Bluesfest, he’s back to get the crowd moving. 10cc ruled the airwaves in the ’70s with hit after hit — classics like “I’m Not In Love” and “The Things We Do For Love.” Their set is sure to get the nostalgia flowing.
PLUS: Indie/world group Beirut; the complex metal stylings of Mastodon
After a memorable performance last year, Metric returns to close the festival. The Canadian indie darlings have become one of the country’s most popular acts, thanks to their catchy tunes and charismatic live shows. The Weeknd, a.k.a. Abel Tesfaye, is an alternative R&B act who, armed with the support of fellow Torontonian Drake, has enjoyed a meteoric rise to fame, with accolades coming in from industry heavyweights like Rolling Stone and Pitchfork.
PLUS: Hip-hop artist.poet K’Naan, Nova Scotian rockers The Trews