The last days of a festival always leave the attendees with a bittersweet feeling, especially when the lineup is jam-packed with an eclectic mix of acts throughout its 14-day run. The final weekend of RBC Bluesfest 2019 was truly varied, genre-wise. There was everything from old-time blues, to new age pop-funk, both classic and new country, and even a little bit of mixed genres like Alexisonfire, and throwback boy band madness, with the Backstreet Boys closing it out at the very end.
Every show was full of sweat, zeal, and deafening sound coming from either the speakers or the crowd, at most times – both. Earlier acts like the Dirty Nil on Friday, K’Naan on Saturday, and Francesco Yates on Sunday, really were the ones to show that although you may be slotted earlier than most people like to be at a festival in the midst of the hottest days of summer, there will still be a large crowd that drips sweat alongside you and toughs out the scorching heat to come to make that set special.
There was not a single act that failed to impress, but some – of course – were home run, out of the park hits that had the sound from the festival travelling nearly from Lebreton Flats to the Queensway, which is a good 3km distance. The Backstreet Boys even did something that was out of the ordinary, with a special VIP+ section embedded into the stage for hardcore fans to get the experience of a lifetime with a 360-view that could not be any closer to the show. This isn’t really all that surprising, when we look back and remember the time that the Rideau Centre shut down for an autograph session originally organized to accommodate a couple of thousand, but saw 10 thousand fans rush to the doors of the mall in hopes of getting their keepsake and face to face with band members that stole the hearts of countless fans worldwide.
The loudest show of the festival had to be Alexisonfire (whose show honestly speaks for itself and has in no way declined over the years), as well as the one with the most vehement energy, but the Backstreet Boys came in at a close second for noise, especially with the roars of the crowd reaching a few kms as well. Despite those headliners taking the bar and quite literally bending it and tossing it aside, every single act on the closing weekend was a home run.
Here’s an up-close and personal look at some of the highlights.