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Bluesfest 2013

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So I'm thinkin' (hopin') they have some big acts booked, like Pearl jam and Rush, and their management is unwilling to wait two more months to post the dates, so they've forced BF's hand into announcing earlier than usual.

Permaybe?

Also, fingers crossed that Justin Townes Earle is on the bill.

BF better be pretty sweet this year. Last year several students of mine (we're talking teenagers here) chose to buy Jazzfest passes instead of Bluesfest passes. Depending on Wednesday's announcement the same thing could very well happen again.

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BF better be pretty sweet this year. Last year several students of mine (we're talking teenagers here) chose to buy Jazzfest passes instead of Bluesfest passes. Depending on Wednesday's announcement the same thing could very well happen again.

From the tone of the article, possibly they have learned their lesson, but last year not going well was somebody else's fault (old fogeys who wouldn't get out of the way, likely).

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Awesome!

They finally realized that this is the time of year that all the other big festivals announce their lineups and people start making their summer plans so they better do the same. And I guess with all the bad press lately, this is the best way to change the conversation.

It must have been a real game time decision to do this and forego the annual Announcement Gala which is a huge money maker/raiser for Bfest, it's a little strange they abandoned it for zero fanfare without pressure to do so. Does anyone even know how and when the the announcement will be made today?

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To start, it's tomorrow not today.

A few details in the Citizen story copied below. Looks like headliners will be announced, maybe not full lineup though?

OTTAWA — In what is one the earliest looks at the lineup for Bluesfest, organizers have called a media conference for Wednesday morning to provide some details on the headliners, on-sale details and “other news.â€

The announcement comes at least a month earlier than usual. The Ottawa International Jazz Festival released its full lineup Friday, which includes Willie Nelson, Aretha Franklin, Macy Gray and David Byrne.

This year, Bluesfest organizers plan to reach out to fans with what artistic and executive director Mark Monahan calls a “rebalancing†of the July 4-14 festival at LeBreton Flats.

Bluesfest 2013 will feature more blues and fewer electronic acts. B.B. King is already announced as the closing act. There will be no dedicated stage for electronic music, as there was last year.

Monahan said in an earlier interview with the Citizen that “it isn’t just a case of getting the boomers back,†and the perception that Bluesfest had gone electronic was in part due to last year’s “Electro-fied†theme, which was meant to signal a retro vibe but backfired. (Twenty-five of the 200 acts were electronic.)

But audience surveys and a slump in beer sales during the unrelenting heat of last year’s festival suggest that some faithful festivalgoers felt left out.

“We want to reach out to those who are saying, ‘We used to go but aren’t going anymore,’ †said Monahan. “Although you might have the same number, or more people (coming to the festival) you never want a segment who feels they have been replaced.

“We brought in a lot of younger people,†he added, “but there was a certain segment of the population that didn’t like the lineup. I hear that. I’m the artistic director. I have to hear what people are telling me. “

Attendance last year — around 300,000 visits — and revenue were more or less static from 2011. While beer sales were down, Monahan says sales of soft drinks were up.

“There are certain acts who will sell more beer,†said Monahan, “but you have to look at it overall.â€

The electronic and hip-hop music brought the average age of the audience down by four to five years, with the average age now around 33 years old.

“Younger people are less critical of things they don’t like,†said Monahan. “On the nights we had John Mellencamp or Blue Rodeo — acts that appeal to an older demographic — we didn’t get a lot of feedback from young people saying, ‘That was awful.’ But when it came to the electronic acts, we got negative feedback from the older demographic.

“What I’m trying to do is come up with a balance so everyone has enough reason to go.â€

Although some acts are still being finalized, Monahan says he’s able to announce the lineup earlier than usual because booking acts has been easier.

“Things have come together more quickly this year,†he said. “Agents and acts have been more proactive about getting festival bookings this year and I’m not sure why. Perhaps it’s an uncertainty in the concert business and a solidifying of the festival culture. Festivals are a priority, which is great.â€

Not so great is the conundrum festival managers are facing over complaints about last year’s move from multiple transferable ticket packages to non-transferable electronic wristbands.

Monahan said he was loathe to return to paper tickets, which he says have cost the festival “hundreds of thousands of dollars†to the black market but is struggling with how to appease corporate and individual pass buyers who were happy having a wad of tickets they could share.

The festival is currently soliciting opinion from festivalgoers around the wristband issue and admission prices.

“We are in the thick of that right now,†said Monahan. “We will address it in some way. People overwhelmingly felt the wristband technology worked in terms of getting in and out — ease of access. It simplified things but people didn’t have the 10 or 12 tickets to hand around.

“So we’re trying to weigh these legitimate concerns — perhaps for a small premium you get extra wristbands — but we’re trying to do that without creating a huge amount of extra work.†Monahan wants to see Bluesfest eventually evolve into a cashless event where customers pay electronically to get in and for everything they buy on site.

“The old Ticketmaster paper ticket is not going to be a reality five years from now,†he said. “There is a lot of speculation that it will all be done through your phone or some mobile application. It won’t be a wristband. To say we’re going to stay with tickets and ride it out ... I’m not sure it’s the most progressive thing to do.â€

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