Bluesfest, NAC team up for weekend drive-in concerts in Ottawa

An array of Canadian musicians spanning various genres are taking the stage at a weekend drive-in concert series on the Ottawa River.

RBC Bluesfest has partnered with the National Arts Centre (NAC) for two weekends of live shows that include rock act Sam Roberts Band, rapper Shad and Polaris Music Prize winner Haviah Mighty among the many performers.

Bluesfest, one of Ottawa most popular festivals, was cancelled in late April in light of concerns over the novel coronavirus pandemic.

READ MORE: Ottawa’s Bluesfest 2020 cancelled; ticketholders can get full refund

The #CanadaPerforms concerts will be held at the Place des Festivals Zibi site, an event space developed in co-operation with the Algonquin Nation.

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A representative for the NAC expects the area to accommodate up to 500 carloads of concertgoers for $75 each vehicle. For those who can’t make it, the performances will stream live for free.

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The series kicks off on July 31 with a lineup that includes Quebec pop singer Marie-Mai, folk-rock act Donovan Woods and the Opposition, and alt-pop duo Neon Dreams.

Another round of performers on Aug. 1 features Roberts and his band, Shad and Mighty.

A final weekend of concerts will showcase indie artists Patrick Watson and Basia Bulat on Aug. 7, and country stars Tim Hicks and Kira Isabella on Aug. 8.

The organizers say #CanadaPerforms was created to support live performers and the concert industry, which have been reeling from months of postponed concerts as COVID-19 reshapes public gatherings.

Coronavirus: The show must go on? How the entertainment industry is dealing with the pandemic

RBC Bluesfest was among the many summer music festivals that were scrapped due to the pandemic.

“Given the disappointment brought about by this year’s cancellation of our event, we felt it was essential to come up with a safe, alternative live music experience for music fans in Ottawa and beyond,” said RBC Bluesfest artistic director Mark Monahan in a statement.

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Tickets go on sale through the RBC Bluesfest website on June 23 at 10 a.m. ET.

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