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 www.tbca.com.
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