Bluesfest kicks off at Lansdowne: Here's what you need to know about the festival

Ottawa Bluesfest returns to the stage this weekend for the first time in two years due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

It's the second weekend of the Ottawa Fall Festivals, put on by the organizers of RBC Ottawa Bluesfest and CityFolk.  Three nights of music are set for the Great Lawn at Lansdowne Park Thursday, Friday and Saturday.

The 2020 and 2021 Ottawa Bluefest events at LeBreton Flats were cancelled due to COVID-19 and the public health measures restricting crowd sizes.

For the next three nights, Canadian singers Jann Arden, Barenaked Ladies, Half Moon Run, Tokyo Police Club, MonkeyJunk and Tom Cochrane and Red Rider are among the acts set to perform at Lansdowne. 

COVID-19 restrictions include only fully vaccinated fans allowed to attend the festival, all patrons must wear a mask at all times except while eating and drinking and capacity is capped at 5,000 people a night.

"We were pleasantly surprised that people were ready to show their proof of vaccination," said Bluesfest executive director Mark Monahan about last week's CityFolk.

"There were no extensive lineups at the gate. It was really just a lot of positive comments about coming out again and listening to live music outside."

With rain in the forecast for the next three days, Ottawa Fall Festivals says the event will go on "rain or shine." Announcements on any delays will be made through social media channels and at the festival.

Musician Lauryn Macfarlane is looking forward to performing at Bluesfest.

"This is definitely the biggest gig with my own tunes that I'm playing," said Macfarlane. "And it's just me and my guitar so I'm like, OK, excited."

Macfarlane adds, "I’m gonna be like, just stay in your body, it’s just you in your body, don’t freak yourself out too much about it. But I am very excited."

Here is a look at what you need to know about RBC Ottawa Bluesfest.

OTTAWA BLUESFEST LINE-UP

Thursday

  • Lauryn Macfarlane
  • Aysanabee
  • Tokyo Police Club
  • Half Moon Run

Friday

  • Ryland James
  • Barenaked Ladies
  • Jann Arden

Saturday

  • MonkeyJunk
  • April Wine
  • Tom Cochrane and Red Rider

TICKETS

Tickets are only available online for RBC Ottawa Bluesfest. There will be no box office onsite to purchase tickets.

Visit Ottawa Fall Festivals to purchase tickets.

NO CASH

Ottawa Fall Festivals are completely cashless for all purchases on the site, including drinks, food and merchandise.

You can use Apple Pay, Google Pay, tap to pay and all major credit cards at RBC Ottawa Bluesfest.

ATTENDANCE ON THE GREAT LAWN

Attendance will be capped at 5,000 patrons each night during RBC Ottawa Bluesfest to ensure enough space for physical distancing.

Organizers say this is below 50 per cent of the Great Lawn's full capacity.

COVID-19 VACCINATION POLICY

Only fully vaccinated COVID-19 fans will be allowed to attend RBC Ottawa Bluesfest this weekend.

"There are no exemptions (religious or medical reasons) without proof and (patrons) will be required to prove status at the gates either through a digital or printed copy," says a message on the website.

Attendees must comply with the Festival Fan Health Pledge.

Everyone must wear a mask onsite at all times. Organizers say the removal of a mask is allowed as per provincial guidelines when you are eating, drinking, or for other medical reasons.

TRAVELLING TO THE FESTIVAL

OC Transpo service is free to and from the festival. Show your ticket to board transit from three hours before gates open and three hours after the final performance of the night.

Parking is available at Lansdowne Park.

There will be no supervised bike parking at Ottawa Bluesfest.