Building off the momentum from last summer’s Gentlemen of the Road festival, former NHLer Ryan VandenBussche will be hosting a blues festival on July 19th & 20th on his waterfront Port Ryerse property. The impressive lineup includes some of the finest names in Canadian blues: Ray Fuller, Steve Strongman (interviewed here), Jack de Keyzer, The Maureen Brown Band, Paul James and more. Concert and camping tickets are currently available for Norfolk ‘N’ Blues here.
SA: Only a few weeks to go until you host Norfolk ‘N’ Blues on your waterfront property. Where did the initial idea come from?
RV: The initial idea came from a friend of mine (Mark Fortuna) whom I met in Afghanistan while visiting the Troops. Mark is the Sound Engineer at the Sound Academy in Toronto and is the Project Coordinator for this event. Once we got back from Afghanistan, Mark came to visit me and the first thing that came out of his mouth after he had seen our property was “wow..this would be a great place to hold an outdoor music festival.”
SA: While some great blues names have played this area in the past, Norfolk County doesn’t typically feature a lot of live blues music. Did that influence your decision to showcase the genre here?
RV: We had other options; one being a metal fest. Mark, my wife Lisa and I came to a quick conclusion that was not the demographic we would want here, especially in the first year. I would like my neighbours (closest neighbour is 1km away) to still want to talk to me after the event so we decided to go with the blues genre. We are thinking big, but starting small and that is how our county would like to see it as well.
SA: What do you enjoy about blues music?
RV: The way it makes me feel. I am not much of a dancer but for some reason the beat makes me want to do a jiggle or two. The blues also reminds my wife and I about our time living in Chicago checking out all the blues bars.
SA: How important is camping to the music festival experience?
RV: It adds another element to the outdoor music fest experience. It is nice to give people options and having the option to spend the night at the place where you can experience an outdoor concert festival I think is the icing on the cake.
SA: Could this festival lead to further events in Port Ryerse?
RV: We are hoping so. Think big, start small.
This post was written by Scott