A Review Of This Year’s Bruce Telecom Lighthouse Blues Festival In Ontario, Canada
By Ken Wallis.
The Lighthouse Blues Festival bills itself as the best little blues festival around. It may be small by comparison to other festivals, but it sure is not small on talent. The festival is situated on the lakeside overlooking Lake Huron beaches, Kincardine Harbour and the iconic Lighthouse and it’s non-stop fun.
This year’s edition highlighted a boatload of talented musicians and even the threat of major rain didn’t slow it down.
There is so much to see and do in this festival, that we must put a disclaimer out that we just weren’t able to catch all the acts. What we did see, was fantastic. The weather forecast was calling for heavy rain but the blues gods made sure it didn’t happen.
We spent most of our time at the main stage, but did get around to a few other stages.
The festival kicked off with Sarah Smith, originally from London, Ontario, but now residing in Vancouver. Her music was not traditional blues, but she sure knew how to entertain. A great voice to match a solid stage presence.
Little Magic Sam from Toronto had the crowd eating out of his blues repertoire. His stage presence kept the audience captivated and it didn’t hurt that he had a rockin’ harp player along with him.
Joshua Miller & The Pappy Johns Band from Six Nations hit up some raw blues that had folks up and dancing. Seasoned blues veteran Brant Parker rocked the audience with some fabulous guitar solos.
Speaking of boogies, Kenny “Blues Boss” Wayne took the audience on a keyboard journey that had the joint rockin’.
Powerhouse singer Crystal Shawanda returned for her fourth appearance at the Lighthouse Festival, and showed why she’s a Juno award-winner!
Friday night ended with the powerful 7-piece band Bywater Call. Meghan Parnell belted out the tunes while Dave Barnes shredded his guitar to make everyone think about what was to come on Saturday.
Broke Fuse, aka Jay Moonah, kicked off Saturday with a solid performance as a one-man band on The Bruce Patio.
The sky started to turn a little dark, so we decided it was time to catch some indoor music. We headed over to the Legion to catch two of our favourite bands.
As the skies grew darker, the Legion stage lit up with The Waterstreet Blues Band. They play contemporary blues steeped in the traditional blues world. You can’t stop tappin’ your toes.
Before you had time to catch your breath, the Fog Blues and Brass Band came at you with a wall of sound that featured a 12 bar prescription. Lead singer Hills just nailed every tune!
The sky looked dark so we stayed indoors, but we were sad we missed Jim Dan Dee. He always puts on a great show, so here’s a shot of him last year when the skies were clear.
We made a run for it to the main stage to catch the Stonewheels featuring Matt Weidinger. We took cover under a canopy as the heavens opened up with a downpour.
Sandra Bouza took the stage, and her aura calmed the rain monsters. She was the winner of the 2019 Toronto Blues Society Talent Search, and in 2020 reached the semi-finals of the International Blues Challenge.
Kevin Harvey and the Durham County Poets from Quebec kept the groove going and no wonder they have 5 Maple Blues Award nominations, and a Juno nomination. Simply great!
Cassie Taylor from Kansas City was up next. Daughter of Otis Taylor, she proved the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. She’s an established star in her own right.
The Cash Box Kings from Chicago laid down some scorching blues that featured some good ole rockin’ and rollin’. The band is co-led by vocalist Oscar Wilson and harmonica guru Joe Nosek.
Gracie Curran & The High Falutin’ Band from Memphis closed out the night with a set that made you wish it wasn’t over. But it was,
If you’re a blues fan, the Lighthouse Blues Festival in Kincardine is a must-attend festival. Congrats to Rick and Marily Clake who run the festival with class and dignity. C'ya there next year!
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