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2013-02-27 at 16:59

2013 Blues Festival lineup revealed

By Leith Dunick,
Substance UseAre you pregnant and struggling with addictions during pregnancy? Talk to your healthcare

Go big or go home.

Bob Halvorsen and the rest of the talent seekers picking bands for the 2013 Thunder Bay Blues Festival went with Option 1, lining up Collective Soul, Los Lobos, Los Lonely Boys and Great Big Sea to headline the summer music staple taking place from July 5-7 at Marina Park.

The eclectic quartet continues the festival’s diverse musical selection said Trevor Hurtig, the Thunder Bay Community Auditorium’s manager of marketing and development. 

“Yeah, we really went out to try to do something different for everybody this year. We really wanted to stay within the demographic of what Blues Fest is known for, but at the same time, go a little bit beyond and try to bring in some new people that traditionally may not have come down to Blues Fest, but kind of looked with curiosity and thought it might be worth a try,” Hurtig said.

“We’re sure that if you come for Great Big Sea, you’re going to have a great time with The Family Stone (minus Sly) and Kim Mitchell.”

Los Lobos came as a package tour with Los Lonely Boys, who thrilled the Blues Fest crowd in 2009, and Hurtig said to expect a pile of collaborations as the two bands mix and mingle on Day 2 of the 12th annual festival.

“It was a great opportunity. We know that Los Lonely Boys are good because they were here two years ago. We’ve heard fantastic things about Los Lobos, so the idea they could play together was great,” Hurtig said.

“Apparently they’re going to intermingle the bands a little too, so that’s going to be exciting as well.”

Los Lobos, slated to headline Saturday, July 6, may be best known to casual music fans as the group that redid the classic Mexican folk song La Bamba, made famous by the doomed Ritchie Valens. But the Chicano rockers have made a name for themselves and the global music stage several times over.

Late last year they opened for Neil Young and Crazy Horse on their North American tour. The East Los Angeles foursome has also won multiple Grammy Awards, over the course of a career that spans four decades.

Nineties rockers Collective Soul will set the stage for the rest of the weekend on Friday, bringing hits like Shine, The World I Know and Gel, songs that still reverberate on classic-rock radio stations throughout North America, to the Marina Park stage.

No strangers to Thunder Bay, the Georgia band formed in 1992 and within years was racing up the charts to superstardom. Great Big Sea has played the Auditorium several times too, and will close out the festival on July 7.

Hurtig said having known names on the bill was done partially on purpose.

“When you’re spending a fair amount of money on these acts for festival time, you want to make sure what you’re going to get,” Hurtig said.

“On the other hand it was just sort of chance that they were the ones we were able to get within our budget and it worked out really well.”

Even the undercard has a familiar flavour.

Rocker Kim Mitchell, who shed his trademark lengthy locks a few years ago, will dust off his collection of hits, including Go For a Soda and Patio Lanterns, ushering summer into the Bay for good.

Other Sunday acts include locals Revel Pride, Doug Deming and the Jewel Tones, Too Slim and the Taildraggers, JW-Jones Blues Band, Davina and the Vagabonds and The Family Stone, the penultimate act of the three-day festival.

Saturday highlights include The Chain, the Groove Merchants, Quinn Sullivan, Melvin Taylor, Samantha Fish and Mingo Fishtrap.
The festival opens July 5 at 5 p.m. when Tracy K takes the stage, followed by Cliff Stevens and the Steepwater Band.

Tickets go on sale Friday and can be purchased at the Community Auditorium box office, by phoning 684-4444 or online at


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debt collector says:
Another fabulous line-up courtesy Bob & Trevor.
2/28/2013 12:41:12 AM
deluxecustom says:
"Bluesfest"? Hardly,Good work by the society, but, Collective Soul? Los Lonely Boys? Sly without Sly? Really?..Really? Wow, after last year it seemed like the Bluesfest was a premier event on the blues festival cicuit.
Collective Soul? Kim Mitchell? Where's Trooper and Prism? Might as well throw Streetheart in the while you're at it. Maybe next year.
Too bad..
2/28/2013 1:53:28 AM
The Badger Mountain Hermit says:
Collective Soul? Sign me up. Blues bores me to tears.
2/28/2013 10:14:22 AM
mercy mercy me says:
well not all is lost, at least one can still count on Duluth having a great line up this year with real headliners each night and very few has been fillers
2/28/2013 6:29:56 AM
mercy mercy me says:
and if you want to stay in Canada 'Bjork, Wu-Tang Clan, Rush and B.B. King headline Ottawa Bluesfest'.... yes BB King,now that is a headliner, Kitchener does it up with big names also, but that is a free weekend, so you don't get the joy of shelling out $99 for lightweights or $2 or will it be $3 this year for your first bottle of water
3/1/2013 3:28:29 AM
SugaShaka says:
Don't like the lineup, don't go. Or fly to Ottawa and catch all those acts. It'll cost you $700 for a flight and festival pass alone. Drive to Duluth. Probably $400 for gas and hotels, plus your ticket expense.

I doubt you're willing to shell out more money for bigger headliners. Diversifying the lineup and straying from strictly blues opens the Thunder Bay festival up to a lot more music fans. Blues is just too niche to support a full festival. And if the organizers spend a couple-hundred grand bringing in B.B., the rest of the lineup will suffer. Ottawa is not a blues festival, and really, has it ever been? White Stripes, Dylan, Van Morrison and Thorogood in 2007 when I was there. Hardly blues.

You want a bigger, better festival in Thunder Bay, the city has to show it can support it. This is a great test.
3/1/2013 11:50:07 AM
itshell says:
Thanks Thunder Bay...these are great and we look forward to coming to see the acts
2/28/2013 6:35:37 AM
CLETE says:
You have to be kidding,rehashing the bands who have been here before. This has to be the worst line up for the blues fest. Save your money this is terrible.
2/28/2013 6:43:22 AM
macsmom says:
Wow! I can't believe how ungrateful and pesimistic SOME people can be! This is a great line up! Love that it ventures beyond blues a little offering a broader appeal. Great job TBCA!
2/28/2013 8:40:21 AM
countrychick says:
Great big sea... I am sooo going that day ... love them!!!
2/28/2013 8:51:53 AM
baybrewer says:
With this lineup I may attend my 1st ever Bluesfest. They've accomplished what they wanted...putting out a few names that people will recognize. It'll expose me to the other Blues acts that I just do not know about.

So this year you may have more newbies going and less snobs as seen above from the comments.
2/28/2013 10:09:47 AM
barry medawin says:
Now if they would just shut down that box office (AKA: money sink pit), then they could get some REAL talent here to this old town!
2/28/2013 11:44:19 AM
rootbear says:
Never been to the blues festival but I am going now....
2/28/2013 12:18:11 PM
BlueJay12 says:
Great Lineup, to be able to bring this talent to Thunder Bay...look into the non-headliners. You- Tube Quinn Sillivan, the kid is the next Clapton.
2/28/2013 12:29:37 PM
CM Punk says:
I am not a Blues Fest fan, but this event does bring dollars to the city.
I don;t see what the harm is in going a little away from the "blues" genre. Perhaps this will entice new fans to come to the event.
Events like this bring money to the city, we should encourage more of these types of events.
2/28/2013 12:46:32 PM
YellowSnow13 says:
Why couldn't you include the price of tickets for the day and the weekend. Now I have to phone for prices and get put on hold. Come you news people! Give us all the information will you. You always cut the story short without all the info. But it does sound like a good line up.
2/28/2013 12:48:55 PM
Lally says:
Well, since you seem to have internet access, you should be bright enough to notice that the article includes the link to the Auditorium's website, where you could find out all the information you needed, without being put on hold.
2/28/2013 3:18:20 PM
riv3rc4rd says:
Yellowsnow13: Seeing as your so incompetent... here's the link for the prices.

And to the rest of the whiners... If you don't like it then don't go, nobody CARES!
2/28/2013 1:37:48 PM
dchipy says:
About time we got bands other then "Blues" and appeal to a broader range of audience. I will be going for the first time ever. Now we just need to rebrand it as a Music Fest and the boo hoo'ers about the blues can move on.
2/28/2013 2:11:26 PM
justaguy says:
$150 VIP Weekend, $99 Weekend, $59 Single Day. All have taxes and handling charge extra. All you had to do was google thunder bay blues festival and it's all there
2/28/2013 2:41:17 PM
idontknowitall says:
Thanks for the info, justaguy. That's quite a price hike from the last few years, and not what was being reported on the radio. We will still probably buy weekend passes, but it is beginning to get steep. I guess it's to be expected with so many well-known names showing up. Cheers!
2/28/2013 4:36:23 PM
stuck? says:
VIP pass for me wahoo!
3/5/2013 3:01:11 PM
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