News / Ottawa

Red Hot Chili Peppers, Duran Duran, Brad Paisley to headline Bluesfest

Billy Idol, John Fogerty, the Monkees, Wolf Parade, the Lumineers part of heavy-hitting lineup.

The Red Hot Chili Peppers are headlining this year's RBC Ottawa Bluesfest, which runs July 7-17.


The Red Hot Chili Peppers are headlining this year's RBC Ottawa Bluesfest, which runs July 7-17.

One band performed in nothing but carefully placed tube socks. The other lifted its name from an erotic sci-fi film.

Both grew out of the punk rock scene of the 1980s – one to become an alt-funk-rock mainstay, and the other a wavey-haired electro pop boy group.

And now both the Red Hot Chili Peppers and Duran Duran will be headlining this summer’s RBC Ottawa Bluesfest. Also sharing the bill: Country music legend Brad Paisley, who will draw a massive cowboy boots wearing crowd with his Grammy Award-winning songs about American Saturday nights and whiskey lullabies.

Whichever band best fits in your personal musical canon, there’s something for the young, old and in-betweeners at this year’s Bluesfest, which runs July 7-17.

“(It’s) a nod to the vintage crowd, but not forgetting the younger audience that we built,” said festival executive director Mark Monahan.

Billy Idol is another heavy-hitter who will make his Bluesfest debut. Then there’s former Creedance Clearwater Revival frontman John Fogerty, alt country-pop singer Sam Hunt, Joe (“Is She Really Going Out With Him?”) Jackson, City and Colour and Bluesfest favourite Ben Harper.

As part of their 50th anniversary reunion tour, the Monkees will be busy singing. Micky Dolenz and Peter Tork are carrying on with an upcoming album, Good Times! (Davy Jones died in 2012 and Michael Nesmith is working on other projects, according to Rolling Stone Magazine). The latest record features songs by Noel Gallagher and River Cuomos.

Speaking of Gallagher, the former Oasis frontman is part of the lineup with his solo project, Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds.

There has been much buzz lately about Wolf Parade – a Canadian indie folk favourite and one Monahan has been trying to snag for years. The band is back touring after a hiatus in 2010. It’s not a headliner, but will draw headliner-calibre crowds – the band has sold out 10 shows in New York and Toronto, combined.

Also for the younger crowd: Brampton teen Alessia Cara, whose song “Here” went viral.

Then there’s Nelly, who made waves in the early 2000s for “Hot in Herre” and “Dilemma.”

Funk bassist Tal Wilkenfeld, who slapped strings with Jeff Beck, Eric Clapton and Herbie Hancock, is a not-to-be-missed in Monahan’s view. Same goes for Portland’s the Decemberists and the Tallest Man on Earth – two other bands that have been on Monahan’s radar.

As for bands on the Bluesfest bucklist, Monahan is coy.

“There’s always a list, but I can’t,” he said, trailing off into a chuckle. “You’d be disappointed if I didn’t get them.”

There will be a one-day Bluesfest pass pre-sale on Thursday, Feb. 25 from 10 a.m. until midnight. The general sale starts on Friday at 10 a.m.

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