Every year there is always a lot of anticipation for the summer festival concert lineups – especially for Bluesfest and Jazz Festival and this year was no exception. There is also usually a lot of debate over the amount of Blues in Bluesfest, but that debate really doesn’t matter to me as long as the festival has a good lineup of music that suits my tastes.
In the past couple of years, I’ve seen a significant shift in the Bluesfest, Jazz Festival and the Folk Festival lineup and it’s actually reached the point where I’m more excited about the Jazz Festival lineup than I am about the Bluesfest lineup – a complete reversal to the way it used to be.
Bluesfest has brought in a great variety of talent over the years, but this year in particular it’s somewhat disappointing. There is a noticeable number of acts who are playing on multiple days, there is one less stage than there used to be and many of the acts have been here in the past two years. Yes, I was ecstatic to hear that Gary Clark Jr., Beth Hart, Procol Harum, John Mayall, Blondie and a few others are coming to town. On the flipside, I’ve recently seen Shane Dwight, Journey, Styx, Matt Anderson, JJ Grey, Vintage Trouble, Trombone Shorty, Firebelly, Amanda Rheaume, Wicked Grin, Sugar Ray, and the Sam Roberts Band. You will note that none of these are main stage headliners, unlike past years where we’ve seen great acts including Santana, B-52s, Great Big Sea and Rush, to name a few.
To contrast this, Jazz Festival was never something I was interested in attending. The lineup was almost strictly Jazz and my taste in Jazz falls into a narrow category. In fast, the first time I attended a concert was in 2010 to see George Benson. The past two years have had some amazing headliners, ones that I get excited about including Janelle Monae, David Byrne & St. Vincent, Dr. John, Alen Toussaint, Trombone Shorty, Pink Martini and many more. This year is no different and I am very much looking forward to seeing Tedeschi Trucks Band, Earth, WInd and Fire, Aretha Franklin, Bobby McFerrin. It will be interesting to see what the future brings for these festivals.