Once again, the Cisco Ottawa Bluesfest saw thousands of fans make their way down to LeBreton Flats Park for twelve days of outstanding music and comedy programming. As always the festival offered something for everyone. From indie punkers Alexisonfire to Tuvan throat singers YAT-KA—along with the likes of Iron Maiden, Further with Phil Lesh and Bob Weir, the B52s, Joan Jett, The Flaming Lips, Rush, Arcade Fire, Crowded House, Great Big Sea, Keith Urban, Weezer, and 250 other acts thrown in for good measure—the festival drew in excess of 350,000 fans.
Over the course of 17 years, the Cisco Ottawa Bluesfest has grown to become the landmark event of the Ottawa summer and one of the top-ten outdoor music festivals in the world, according to Billboard Magazine.
The Massive outdoor event has deep roots in the community and is staged with the help of thousands of community volunteers. In 2010 4,000 volunteers worked 26,000 shifts and contributed over 100,000 hours. Within three days of the line-up announcement all volunteer shifts were filled and registration was maxed out.
The ongoing love affair between the ‘fest and its fans continued in 2010. Audiences were blown away by newcomers to the event such as the John Butler Trio, Caravan Palace, and Dana Fuchs and by rare appearances in Ottawa by the Flaming Lips and Santana, who drew the largest crowds ever seen at the event.
“I’d like to recognize the best music fans in the world—from Ottawa and beyond,” says Mark Monahan, the festival’s executive and artistic director. “Your support means everything to us and keeps us trying to improve your festival experience, year after year.” Monahan added that it was great to have another successful event in the books, and after a week or two off, Monahan and his team are ready to roll up their sleeves and start planning for 2011.