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Thunder Bay Bluesfest cancelled for 2020

Feb 13, 2020 06:14PM ● By Editor
The Thunder Bay Blues Festival has been cancelled as organizers struggle to secure headlining acts. Photo: Matt Prokopchuk/CBC

From CBC News - Thunder Bay - February 13, 2020

Organizers of the Thunder Bay Blues Festival have cancelled the event for 2020, citing a lack of available talent for the popular summer festival. 

"Unfortunately, despite our best efforts we weren't able to attract a full roster of talent  that would be consistent with what we've come to expect over the past several years," said Trevor Hurtig, manager of marketing and development with the Thunder Bay Community Auditorium and Blues Festival. "It seems that there is a lack of available talent."

Hurtig cites "mega-tours" as the driving force behind the cancellation of the festival, saying that tours with multiple acts is "drying up the talent pool".

"One that comes to mind is the Def Leppard, Motley Crue, Poison, and Joan Jett, there's four acts all on the same bill, and there's a lot of those going out this summer."

Hurtig said the issue prevented organizers from getting acceptable headlining names for the festival, and even made it difficult to secure acts for the "lead up to the headliner".

According to Hurtig, organizers are trying to get the festival back on its feet for 2021, but says they'll need a to see a change in market conditions to make it possible. 

"This is unheard of to have this kind of problem with the talent," he said. "In the 18 years that the Bluesfest has been going on this has never happened."

Hurtig said that in years past organizers of the festival have gone above and beyond to book musical acts, adding that in 2018 the festival chartered a plane for singer Sarah McLachlan.

"We built that into the expense of the show," he said. "That's how we made that show happen. So that's the kind of thing that we are accustomed to doing, pulling out all the stops to make things happen."

In 2019 headliners for the festival included artists like Bryan Adams, Amanda Marshall, Jann Arden, Burton Cummings, and Johnny Reid. 

Hurtig said that making the decision to cancel the festival was "heartbreaking".


To read the original article and see related reporting, follow this link to the CBC News - Thunder Bay website.  https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/thunder-bay/thunder-bay-bluesfest-cancelled-for-2020-1.5462934

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