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2014-07-07 at 01:16

Musical joyride

By Leith Dunick,
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The rains came yet again, but the Blues Festival faithful weren’t going anywhere on Sunday. At least not until Jakob Dylan and the Wallflowers were done delivering a slightly delayed, hit-laden set.

The threat of lightning forced guitarist Pavlo from the stage earlier in the day and another downpour a few hours later set things back about half an hour, but in the end, no one really cared.

And it was worth the wait.

The newly constructed Wallflowers, a band Dylan abandoned for several years, launched their 80-minute set with Three Marlenas, a favourite from their 1996 smash Bringing Down the Horse.

The crowd ate it up, cheering wildly – and loudly – each time the quartet rolled out another hit.

Dylan took the time to acknowledge the crowd and what they’d been through.

“All right Thunder Bay, how are you? It got nice out. The weather got nice,” he said.

“You guys are great,” he added a little later on. “How nice is this festival? How nice is this town? It’s a really cool town.”

Dylan, son of the legendary, landscape changing rock and folk legend Bob Dylan, channelled his father’s wit while explaining the Wallflowers’ presence closing out a blues festival, looking for any tie to the genre.

He found one in arguably the band’s biggest hit.

“I’m going to put a little bird in your ear,” he said. “I won’t ask. I won’t beg. It’s been a pretty great festival. If you ask me, this song does have a little bit of the blues. It comes from a lot of places. I think this song screams the blues.”

The crowd, already on its feet, roared in approval, singing along as one to One Headlight, which led into a two-song encore that included the Wallflowers’ take on David Bowie’s Heroes, a song they did for the 1998 film Godzilla.

Any of the final three acts of the day could have laid claim to headliner status.

Ontario’s own Juno Award-winning singer-songwriter Serena Ryder blasted through an energetic hour of songs, including her hits What I Wouldn’t Do and Stompa, wowing the crowd at one point playing guitar, drums and singing at the same.

Nineties favourites the Spin Doctors, best known for hits like Jimmy Olsen’s Blues and Two Princes, educated the audience to their blues roots.

Lead singer Chris Barron, who backstage said he was in a weird mood on Sunday, proved it in a hurry.

“The name of this town, Thunder Bay, I sound like a pirate when I say it,” he screamed.

“We’re the original Spin Doctors. We have a new record out and it’s a blues record. And the reason we made a blues record is because when we started out, we were a blues band; more on that later.”

Trevor Hurtig, the manager of marketing and development for the Blues Festival said the rain was frustrating, but forgettable on a day that started with local blues woman Tracy K, followed by Annie Mack, Ken Valdez, Pavlo and Erja Lyytinen.

“It really doesn’t seem to have stopped anything. We paused for a few minutes during Pavlo’s set, just for safety reasons. The lightning was getting a little close. But he picked it back up and just carried on like a professional. It was just a great day all in all.”

The weather also didn’t seem to scare away the crowds, who poured into Marina Park once the sun finally made its first appearance of the afternoon.

However, final attendance numbers weren’t yet available at press time.

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We've improved our comment system.
fairlane says:
Hmmm, 7,000+ plus people attended in the rain and walked to their cars and everyone had fun.

I can't imagine how this will work for a 5,000 seat arena across the street :)

Great show TBCA and Tbaytel. I'm sure it's a lot of hard work to put on yet you'll always receive complaints. Two thumbs up!
7/7/2014 9:01:46 AM
rob20 says:
Really? You couldn't leave it alone for just 1 article?
7/7/2014 10:31:11 AM
Royalflush says:
Well I drove around for at least 20 minutes before I found a place to park, and it was at least 5 blocks away. Now I'm not complaining about the walk, I like to walk when the weather is good. The Blues fest is a once a year event, but the event centre is going to have regular games and performances, and to have to play the musical parking spot game each and every time, not to mention the cold , ice, and snow, well that just doesn't work for me, and I'm sure most other attendees. After all, this place is being built as a place for pleasurable experiences, so being assured that once you arrive, and dont have to worry about parking is all part of the experience.
Also, why the focus on only this end of town, would it not be more equitable to all businesses to have this centre placed in a more central location, so that the economic benefits are distributed evenly, and benefit the entire city, not just one end of town?
Entertainment district? Is this Disneyworld?
7/7/2014 11:04:05 AM
bttnk says:
I find your comment incredibly difficult to believe. Parking in the parkade was free and the parkade was never close to capacity. Neither was the parking lot by boating services at the marina. Nearly empty the entire weekend. Both of these locations are in very close proximity. Parking was a non issue for anyone not looking to make an issue of it.

The focus is on this area because it is the greatest asset the city has and the area to which this city owes its existance.

On another note. I attended 2 of 3 days with my family of 5 and we had a great time at the show and for dinner at a local restaurant. Fantastic!
7/7/2014 11:59:42 AM
common cents says:
Well you should believe it because its true!

What was the reason for the liquor store parking being full?

How about the illegally parked cars in the brewers retail loading lot, or the back lane?

7/7/2014 6:19:57 PM
smartguy83 says:
Please keep in mind in the summer months downtown is more congested to begin with.
7/7/2014 12:51:54 PM
common cents says:
Please Please keep in mind that the PROPOSED site also removes 200 parking spots!

Please keep in mind that there are no snow banks or piles in these private parking lots!
7/7/2014 6:24:47 PM
conker2012 says:
So to make up the shortfall to maintain these new roads more has to come from everyone else, or the people on the new street are not paying fully for all other city services. This additional burden then has to be made up somewhere like program cuts or higher taxes. The only way to stop this is to stop building new roads and infrastructure and working with what we already have.

Currently there are hundreds of lots that are being under utilized in the cores that already have all the infrastructure needed for new homes without the need to add additional burden on the system. It is called urban infill. Unfortunately the city does not have urban friendly bylaws in place.

Dense urban residences pay more than double the tax rate of single homes and there are height restrictions in the north core that make building a financially feasible very hard.

FYI parking at Disney means nearly 30 minutes on public transit before you get into the park (1-10 minute walk & wait + shuttles + monorail)
7/7/2014 4:19:20 PM
tsx says:
fairlane says I can't imagine how this will work for a 5,000 seat arena across the street :)

The fact is when a 5000 seat arena is built, you then build a parking lot next to the arena that is able to hold those 5000 people
7/7/2014 1:36:16 PM
fairlane says:
I couldn't agree more...which fuels my point that even without the parking lot roughly 7,000 (I know not all drove) people showed up for three days with little complaints about having to walk a block or two to park.

This is proof that it can work.
7/7/2014 2:51:49 PM
realist says:
The local businesses and organizations with parking in the area missed out on an opportunity to make money off their empty parking lots.

We parked across from On-Deck all 3 nights and happily paid their $5.00 fee.
7/7/2014 2:04:52 PM
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