Bluesfest Windsor 2016 promises more rock, more blues, more fun

From the Windsor Star

The 2016 edition of Bluesfest Windsor will be bigger, bluesier, and more rocking than before, organizers promise.

The team behind the popular riverfront music event were at The Windsor Star’s News Cafe on Wednesday to reveal this summer’s lineup and announce new festival features.

Rob Petroni, Bluesfest Windsor president, said this year’s event is “much more ambitious when you’re talking about lineup, stages, ticket sales, and budget.”

The 2016 event will take place on two stages at the Riverfront Festival Plaza over four days  from July 14 to 17.

Windsor music figure Jeff Burrows at the News Cafe on April 13, 2016.Windsor music figure Jeff Burrows at the News Cafe on April 13, 2016.
The opening day, a Thursday, features a rock-oriented bill including performances by I Mother EarthBig Sugar, and Jeff Martin of The Tea Party.

Lineups for the following Friday, Saturday, and Sunday were chosen under the recommendations of the Canada South Blues Society and feature veteran blues artists from the area and beyond.

New York’s Dana Fuchs conjures the spirit of Janis Joplin on July 15, Texan guitar ripper Chris Duartebrings his “punk blues” on July 16, and Detroit’s own Thornetta Davis commands the stage on July 17.

Windsor music figure Jeff Burrows joined the Bluefest team this year as artistic director and was largely responsible for the July 14 lineup.

“The fact is, rock and roll stems from the blues,” Burrows said. “I think by incorporating other genres of music that are steeped in the blues, we’ll draw more people out and grow this festival.”

Burrows said fans shouldn’t be surprised if members of I Mother Earth, Big Sugar, and his old Tea Party pal Jeff Martin end up jamming on stage July 14. “I know Jeff has jammed with Gordie (Johnson of Big Sugar) before,” Burrows said. “The Big Sugar guys, they’re just the ultimate jam band.”
Bluesfest Windsor president Rob Petroni.Bluesfest Windsor president Rob Petroni.ADAM F. DULLUM / WINDSOR STAR
Petroni acknowledged there was an effort to make this year’s Bluesfest more accessible, as well as more family-oriented. He pointed to the earlier gate times — 3 p.m. on the Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, 2 p.m. on the Sunday.

There also won’t be the two-tier ticket situation of previous years. Instead of a VIP section surrounding the front of the stage, every ticket holder will now have the same seating access.

“(It was based on) feedback from last year,” Petroni said. “We did the surveys during the event. Carol (Petroni), our executive director, put out a directive to the entire community (asking) what did we do right, what did we do wrong, how would you like to see it changed? Had a ton of response.”

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