Sacha performing on the RBC stage at BluesFest, July 2022. Photo credit: Alyx Ewing

On Thursday, July 14, RBC BluesFest was busy with evening performances on three different stages. Artists that night included Caitlyn Smith, The Tea Party and headliner Luke Bryan.

Georgia-born Bryan appeared at the back of the stage and made his way to the front to interact with the audience during his first song. His performance included the songs “I Don’t Want This Night to End,” “Kick the Dust Up” and “Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye.” The entire night, Bryan joked about how polite Canadians are and the small talk they like to make with him since he arrived in Ottawa. Bryan’s performance concluded the seventh night of RBC BluesFest in Ottawa.

Early in the evening, the crowd cheered when Minnesota-born country singer Caitlyn Smith took to the RBC stage. She performed the songs “High,” “Damn You for Breaking My Heart,” and “Good As Us.” Throughout her performance, Smith was jumping around and engaging with the crowd, even making jokes about growing up close to Canada.

Fans enjoyed other performers as well. “I was really excited to see Gentlemen of the Woods,” said Jacob Lawrence, an Ottawa resident attending the performance in the Barney Danson Theatre at the Canadian War Museum.

Behind the RBC Stage was a Ferris wheel and a few games, including ring toss and baseball throw. An all-white drum set was on display, along with artwork lining the fence to promote other headlining artists, such as Marshmello and Alanis Morissette.

The River Stage behind the Canadian War Museum hosted the rock band The Tea Party, from Windsor, Ont. On stage, Jeff Martin, Jeff Burrows and Stuart Chatwood were all involved with the audience. You could see Martin and Chatwood interacting with each other while playing their guitars and singing. Songs included “The River,” “The Bazaar” and “Psychopomp.”

“Tonight was pretty good, other than a lot of smoking, but you see that everywhere,” said Emma Lalonde, a Barrhaven resident. Lalonde also attended the event on Saturday to see headlining country singer Luke Combs.

Other local volunteers at the festival also had the chance to see a number of performers. “This is my first volunteering since high school. I saw Luke Combs last Saturday and this my second show. I have been moving around to the different beer tents to help out,” said Ottawa resident Chelsea Martin.

Other artists performing Thursday night included Sacha, Janette King, Lucy Dacus, Crash Test Dummies, Braden Foulkes, Wide Mouth Mason, Matthew Chaffey, The Redhill Valleys, and Mello-T.

“I have been coming out here straight out of high school, so 22 years. I have been there every year that they held it on Elgin Street. This is my staycation and I love the music,” says Jay Salls, an Ottawa resident attending the event that night and through the week.