Gaga, Queens, Killers top Ottawa Bluesfest lineup

Aedan Helmer, Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 9:50 AM ET

RBC Ottawa Bluesfest organizers couldn’t settle on an official theme for this year’s 20th anniversary edition, though in hindsight, “Bluesfest Goes Gaga” would have been appropriate.

The city’s biggest musical extravaganza is set to hit monster proportions with pop superstar Lady Gaga leading the list of big-name headliners for the summer festival at Lebreton Flats from July 3 to 13.

And with one Killer Queen already in the fold, Bluesfest made it a full set of debutantes with The Killers and Queens of the Stone Age ending weeks of rumour-mongering, with the festival folks even getting in on the fun by releasing a series of “teasers” last week on social media.

And while some of the more ambitious best guesses that rolled in on Facebook and Twitter may leave some music-lovers wanting, festival executive and artistic director Mark Monahan said his goal for the 20th anniversary was to cover all bases.

And so, instead of hosting one big musical smorgasbord — as the festival has been defined in recent years — this edition can be seen as seven little festivals in one.

Rock and pop genres are covered off by first-time headliners Lady Gaga, The Killers and QOTSA, with Drive-by Truckers, Collective Soul and Violent Femmes providing the answers to the clever clues left by organizers along the trail of virtual bread crumbs.

Country fans will flock to the Flats for Blake Shelton and Lady Antebellum — the first act confirmed for headlining duties on July 6; Hip-hoppers will raise the roof for the return of Snoop Dogg and Deltron 3030, along with Cypress Hill, Tyler, the Creator and Childish Gambino; and the classic rockers who have been the fest’s bread-and-butter — shelling out for full festival passes, and at the concession stands — can relive their glory days with Journey, Foreigner, Blondie and Styx.

Those with their ear to the ground for the best sounds in cutting-edge indie rock will come in droves for St. Vincent, Phantogram, Young the Giant and Tegan and Sara.

And Bluesfest ramped up their outreach to younger crowds this year, forming a 12-member advisory committee of high schoolers who weighed in on the hottest emerging sounds from the electro dance music craze that has become a fixture of the festival since going “Electro-fied” in 2012.

Names like Zedd, RL Grime and Yung Lean may not resonate with longtime festivalgoers, but they sure strike a chord with the next wave of ticket-buyers, said Monahan.

“We would meet several times a month to bounce ideas off each other (on which performers to pursue), but we’d also talk with them about how to better reach the younger crowd through social media,” Monahan said.

“It’s really been enlightening.”

And it just wouldn’t be Bluesfest without a thick helping of the blues, and this year marks something of a return to the roots that gave the festival its name.

True blues legends John Mayall and Elvin Bishop will join up-and-coming bluesmen Gary Clark Jr. and Matt Andersen, with stalwarts like Joe Louis Walker and The Texas Horns filling out the bill.

Bluesfest crews will be working around the clock to accommodate some of the more demanding stage shows, with the usually arena-bound Lady Gaga bringing her full spectacle to town, and Procol Harum aligning with a local treasure in the NAC Orchestra.

Expect a few more surprises in store, with several headliners still to be announced, along with a full complement of local acts.

“Definitely with our 20th anniversary we wanted to make sure we had our bases covered,” said Monahan.

“My goal here was really to recognize that we have a unique event. A lot of festivals we go to (on scouting missions) through the year are centred around one weekend. Here we have a 10-day music festival in an urban setting, and we’re very conscious of the notion of programming relevant acts every night.”

aedan.helmer@sunmedia.ca

RBC OTTAWA BLUESFEST 2014 lineup by genre

Rock & Pop

Lady Gaga

The Killers

Queens of the Stone Age

Drive By Truckers

Collective Soul

Violent Femmes

Moist

Sam Roberts Band

JJ Grey & Mofro

Charli XcX

Bombino

Long Shen Dao

The London Souls

Country

Lady Antebellum

Blake Shelton

The Band Perry

Darius Rucker

The Mavericks

Tim Hicks

Sam Hunt

David Nail

Hip Hop

Snoop Dogg

Tyler, the Creator

Childish Gambino

Cypress Hill

Deltron 3030

Danny Brown

Action Bronson

BADBADNOTGOOD

Classic Rock

Journey

Barenaked Ladies

Third Eye Blind

Blondie

Foreigner

STYX

Dr. Hook feat. Ray Sawyer

Procol Harum with the NAC Symphony Orchestra

Don Felder

Goddo

Dave Mason’s Traffic Jam

Electro

Zedd

RL Grime

Adventure Club

Bonobo

Ryan Hemsworth

USS

Shantel

Yung Lean

Jacques Greene

Indie Rock

St. Vincent

Tegan and Sara

AWOLNATION

Phantogram

Young the Giant

Jeff Tweedy

July Talk

Jenny Lewis

Andrew Bird

Gogol Bordello

Shovels & Rope

Pink Mountaintops

Tokyo Police Club

Royal Canoe

Deer Tick

Paper Kites

Lord Huron

Lucius

Jake Bugg

Brett Dennen

Mac DeMarco

Young Rival

Noah Gundersen

Blues

Gary Clark Jr.

Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue

John Mayall

Gareth Emery

Sugar Ray & the Bluetones

Matt Andersen

Langhorne Slim

Elvin Bishop

Thornetta Davis

Long Tall Deb

Billy Gibson

Harper and Midwest Kind

The Texas Horns

The Iguanas

Little Freddie King

The Claudettes

Joe Louis Walker

Honey Island Swamp Band

Black Joe Lewis

Vintage Trouble

Pokey Lafarge

Paul Cebar

Shane Dwight

Selwyn Birchwood

John Németh & The Bo-Keys featuring Percy Wiggins

David Maxwell

Darrell Nulisch

Johnny Nicholas

Tift Merritt

Wicked Grin

No BS! Brass Band


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