Monday, July 19, 2010
I'm of two minds about Ottawa Bluesfest. On one hand it's a big event that attracts some great musicians who might not otherwise play here. On the other hand you have to stand outside in the middle of a very large crowd to see those bands. I've weighed the pros and cons of this over the past few years since the festival moved to the Canadian War Museum site. The crowd has gotten increasingly large year after year, and with that everything just takes longer: getting in, getting out, getting a beer etc. However they do bring in a great lineup of musicians, and a saving grace of Bluesfest has always been that it was a great place to take photos, and anyone was allowed to bring their SLR in. Well not anymore.
It's too bad but this year Bluesfest put the brakes on "big cameras", as the security staff put it. Strangely they did it midway through the festival, with no explanation. On the second Tuesday of the festival, security staff greeted fans with SLRs by telling them they could bring their cameras in, but they'd be thrown out if they used them. The following day we would not be allowed in at all with SLRs. Of course nothing was printed on the tickets about this rule, although Tuesday night the FAQ section of the website read: (after a couple of pages of script errors) "NO Professional Photograph Equipment", which may have indicated the rule was hastily added. I already had a ticket for Santana on Wednesday, so I left my camera at home and went down to see the show. Oddly there were lots of people walking around with SLRs, people who didn't have press passes. I guess they just wanted to scare a few people off?
Well it worked, but fortunately not before I got to see Rush.
(Click images for larger size)
I was also lucky enough to see Hannah Georgas, whom I'd never seen before and had only heard a few songs on CBC Radio. She was fantastic. (I checked with Bluesfest staff before photographing Hannah's show, and they said it was OK.)