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LiUNA! Bluesfest Windsor Special Announcement

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Windsor ON LiUNA! Bluesfest Windsor, President, Rob Petroni regrets to announce that due to a scheduling conflict, Sheila E. is unavailable to perform during the Celebration of Prince concert Saturday, July 13.

“While we are disappointed Sheila E. will not be joining us,” emphasized, Mr. Petroni, “I am pleased to announce that Detroit’s award winning R&B band, Katheleen Murray and The Groove Council, will perform on the Celebration of Prince night with our featured headliner, Morris Day and The Time plus the Purple Reign band.”

Media Contact:
Rob Petroni, President
rpetroni@liuna625.ca
519.564.9522

Four Exciting and Special Concert Nights Are Scheduled For LiUNA! Bluesfest Windsor 2019

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Windsor 90’s Throwback, Hot Rock Night, A Night for Amazing Blues, and a Celebration of Prince, are four special concert nights featuring legendary performers and rising stars coming to LiUNA! Bluesfest Windsor 2019.

“On behalf of LiUNA! Bluesfest Windsor’s Board of Directors, I’m very pleased today to release our full list of headliners that began with our earlier announcements in December,” stated Rob Petroni, festival President and Business Manager of LiUNA! 625.

Friday, July 5, 90’S THROWBACK kicks off the four-day music fest, returning (after last year’s overwhelmingly successful concert and dance party) and featuring Vanilla Ice, Rob Base, Young MC, C&C Music Factory ft. Freedom Williams plus 2-Live Crew and Tone Loc.

Saturday, July 6, HOT ROCK NIGHT features world-class rockers X Ambassadors from Ithaca, NY. Their bombastic sounds and hit songs have garnered multi-music awards across the continent including a gold-certified album for VHS and double-platinum hits like Renegades and Unsteady as they continue to win fans and sell out concerts worldwide.

Leading off Saturday’s HOT ROCK NIGHT, singer, songwriter rising Canadian rock star, Billy Raffoul brings his blues rock raspy voice and raw sense of storytelling to the Bluesfest stage. With the launch of his first EP 1975 and packing North American tour performances, Raffoul is receiving critical acclaim from music media and a rapidly growing fan following.

Friday, July 12, A NIGHT FOR AMAZING BLUES features Buddy Guy. Blues purists, aficionados and genre newbies won’t want to miss the legendary blues icon performing his classic hits and new tunes from his18th solo LP and latest album, The Blues is Alive and Well. At 82 year’s young and a touring schedule akin to a rising star, with seven Grammys and countless music awards, Bluesfest’s special night with Buddy Guy will simply amaze!

Also heading up blues night and making his first appearance in Canada, renowned guitarist and blues rock singer, Eric Gales is fresh off headlining sold-out concerts in the UK, South America and Europe and is set to release his new studio album The Bookends. With 15 studio albums to his credit, the first released at age 16, Gales is recognized as the guitarists’ favourite guitarist by the likes of Carlos Santana, Joe Bonamassa, Dave Navarro and many others.

Setting the stage for blues night is multi-blues award nominee, soul blues singer Sugaray Rayford, returning to the Bluesfest stage. Rayford’s live shows feature his 8-piece band and deliver a high-energy vibe with a celebratory flair as he whips the crowd into a frenzy like a Gospel Preacher.

Saturday, July 13, CELEBRATION OF PRINCE, presented by Morris Day & The Time and Sheila E. plus Purple Reign. Morris Day, Master of Cool, with his smooth vocals and dynamic dancing was a high-school classmate of Prince and also a founding member and performer in his band, The Time. Going solo in 1984, today, Morris Day & The Time perform hit songs like Jungle Love to standing-room-only crowds across the country.

Sheila E. is a world-class percussionist, singer/songwriter, author and humanitarian. Her trailblazing career, still without bounds, began in the mid- ’80’s when she became the biggest and brightest of Prince’s protégés. Her fierce, dynamic energy onstage has made her a major concert draw since the ‘90’s, captivating audiences around the world with a variety of styles from Latin, and jazz, to R&B and pop. With groundbreaking hits like The Glamorous Life and A Love Bizarre, plus career credits that include the likes of Ringo Starr and Diana Ross, Sheila E. will create a new dimension of entertainment for Bluesfest fans.

Purple Reign is an award-winning live show produced by and starring Jason Tenner. Playing the Las Vegas strip for almost two decades, Tenner’s funk, neo-soul, pop and rock sound, plus his Prince-like persona has been a hit sensation with audiences from around the world and his led to a guest musical appearance on the David Letterman show.

Kathleen Murray and The Groove Council, Detroit’s legendary blues and R&B artists and long-standing Bluesfest Windsor performers, will open the Celebration of Prince concert.

Bluestowne, the destination for food, refreshments and blues artists performing under the Big Tent between main stage sets, will also feature Scott Holt, Hurricane Ruth, Greatest Hits Live, South River Slim and additional artists in the works!

Reimagined and revitalized five years ago when Rob Petroni took the helm and began securing major corporate sponsors to attract world class artists to perform on the Windsor waterfront, today, LiUNA! Bluesfest Windsor is a million dollar plus production, expanding to new heights each year.

“My focus has always been to feature exceptional quality musicians, emphasize genre diversity and to grow and broaden our fan base by creating a highly entertaining and memorable experience,” says Petroni.

After Bluesfest’s second break-even year, Petroni presented his national organization, LiUNA! with a signature sponsorship proposal that would assign the most progressive union in the country the naming rights to the festival and all related marketing. Since they’ve been on board, the LiUNA! brand and the organization’s regional stature have gained considerable attention for their role as a significant community partner for volunteerism, and the funding of special needs for numerous charitable organizations, most notably, Transition To Betterness.

“Ticket sales for the 2019 concert which began last month, have exceeded last year’s early bird sales by 30%,” added Executive Director, Carol Petroni. “And that’s only through online sales! Watch for our retail outlets to be announced by mid-February,” she emphasized.

Download a PDF of the release here.

Blues legend Buddy Guy, guitar ace Eric Gales booked for Bluesfest Windsor 2019

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Organizers of Bluesfest Windsor are hoping any questions about the blues content of next summer’s festival will be put to rest with the announcement of two headliners: Buddy Guy, a living legend of Chicago blues, and Eric Gales, considered one of the best blues guitarists on the planet.

“I don’t know anybody bigger we could get to make the blues purists happy,” said Rob Petroni, president of LiUNA Bluesfest Windsor.

Buddy Guy and Eric Gales will top the festival’s July 12 lineup — a Friday evening, billed as “A Night of Amazing Blues.”

Highly-rated bluesman and fan-favourite Sugaray Rayford will also be featured as a performer and master of ceremonies.

“The feedback we’ve been getting has been off the charts,” Petroni said. “I think it’s gonna be one big jam. It’s gonna be cool.”

Buddy Guy’s place in blues history was secured in the 1950s and 1960s, when he recorded with such Chicago titans as Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf, Little Walter, and many more.

From there, Guy forged his own crowd-pleasing style, to the admiration of such rock figures as Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, The Rolling Stones, and Stevie Ray Vaughan.

Now 82, Guy has countless albums and accolades to his credit — and continues to command stages.

Petroni noted that the last time Buddy Guy played Windsor’s blues festival was in 2003, when the event was known as Bluesfest International and under different management.

“We’re very excited. We’ve been trying to get Buddy Guy for years, and this time, it worked out for us,” Petroni said. “People have been asking for him since we took over.”

Memphis-born Eric Gales was a blues-rock prodigy, earning comparisons with Hendrix when he was still a teenager in the 1990s.

Despite his monstrous talent and furious playing, Gales struggled with substance abuse issues — even as his peers declared him among the finest blues guitarists alive.

Now sober and rejuvenated, the “Raw Dawg” has been enjoying a career resurgence, with a new record and rave reviews for his performances around the world.

“Huge comeback story,” Petroni said. “I’m told he’s never been in Canada before.”

Bluesfest Windsor 2019 will take place over two weekends, with the Buddy Guy and Eric Gales lineup representing the second.

The first weekend will feature the return of the “90s Throwback” party — boasting such rap stars of yesteryear as Vanilla Ice, Rob Base, Young MC, Tone Loc, and the 2 Live Crew, all playing their biggest hits on the night of July 5.

The retro rappers gave this past summer’s edition of Bluesfest Windsor the festival’s highest attendance numbers yet. But they also drew criticism from blues purists, who argued that the festival was losing its identity by including hip-hop acts.

Petroni said the strategy to split Bluesfest Windsor 2019 into two weekends was partly to answer such issues, partly to make better use of volunteer resources, and also to encourage even better attendance.

“Now we’ve got two weekends to choose from,” Petroni said.

Want even more? Petroni said the public can expect additional announcements on the 2019 lineup in the new year. “We’ve got a couple treats in store,” he promised.

LiUNA Bluesfest Windsor 2019 happens July 5 to 6 and July 12 to 13 on the Riverfront Festival Plaza. Early-bird and VIP tickets are available now. Visit www.bluesfestwindsor.com for more information and to order tickets online. 19 and older only.

dchen@postmedia.com

Bluesfest Windsor will expand to two weekends

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LiUNA! Bluesfest Windsor could be twice the fun next summer, since it will stretch over two weekends instead of one.

Bluesfest president Rob Petroni announced Wednesday that the popular annual event will rock the riverfront at Festival Plaza Friday and Saturday, July 5 and 6, as well as the following weekend, July 12 and 13.

Kicking off this year’s music festival will be the return of the sold-out 2018 90’s Throwback show, with a new lineup that includes Vanilla Ice, Young MC, Rob Base, C and C Music Factory featuring Freedom Williams, Tone Loc and 2 Live Crew.

Early bird tickets are available at bluesfestwindsor.com.

More headliners will be announced in the coming weeks, according to a Bluesfest news release.

Retro rappers draw biggest crowd in history of Bluesfest Windsor

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Organizers of Bluesfest Windsor say more changes to the festival are coming after last weekend’s 1990s rap lineup drew 8,000 people — the biggest one-night crowd in the event’s history.

More changes are coming for Bluesfest Windsor after the long-running music festival enjoyed its biggest one-night turnout in its history — thanks to rap stars of the 1990s.

According to LiUNA Bluesfest president Rob Petroni, the “Back to the 90s” lineup on July 15 last weekend — featuring such throwback hip-hop acts as Naughty By Nature, Rob Base, C+C Music Factory, and Vanilla Ice — drew in the range of 8,000 people and counting.

“Yeah, it was not bad,” Petroni said on Tuesday while assessing this year’s edition. “The crowd response was that it was the best ever, times a thousand.”

Petroni said the audience for the rap lineup almost doubled the previous Bluesfest one-night attendance record, and more than quadrupled the audience for the final night of the 2017 edition.

This is not the Bluesfest Windsor of the past. We have now learned what drives tourism to the city, what makes people happy.”

Vanilla Ice urges the crowd to dance for the climax of the “Back to the 90s” lineup on the final night of this year’s Bluesfest Windsor, July 15, 2018. TREVOR WILHELM / WINDSOR STAR

Vanilla Ice urges the crowd to dance for the climax of the “Back to the 90s” lineup on the final night of this year’s Bluesfest Windsor, July 15, 2018. TREVOR WILHELM / WINDSOR STAR

What does that mean for the future of Bluesfest? Petroni said the public can count on the return of a 1990s rap-oriented lineup.

In fact, he’s hoping to book an even bigger “I Love the 90s” tour, which adds such hitmakers of yesteryear as Salt N Pepa, TLC, Tone Loc, and Coolio.

Asked to elaborate on the lessons he has learned from this year’s experience, Petroni noted that Grammy-nominated U.S. blues singer Beth Hart preceded the rap lineup — and her crowd was measured in the hundreds, rather than the thousands.

“Beth Hart is one of the top notch blues artists in the world right now,” Petroni said. “When she was playing her set, I could literally count the people in front of the stage watching her.”

A view of the audience for the “Back to the 90s” lineup of Bluesfest Windsor 2018, taken July 15, 2018. COURTESY OF BLUESFEST WINDSOR / WINDSOR STAR

A view of the audience for the “Back to the 90s” lineup of Bluesfest Windsor 2018, taken July 15, 2018. COURTESY OF BLUESFEST WINDSOR / WINDSOR STAR

As for the criticism that Bluesfest Windsor is moving further and further away from true blues music, Petroni replied: “If anybody thinks they can do a better job of bringing blues acts here and getting crowds out for them, I am more than happy to sit down and help them have their own festival.”

According to Petroni, 70 per cent of this year’s lineup involved the blues, and he was particularly impressed by such blues artists as Danielle Nicole and Sugaray Rayford.

“The blues are still important to Bluesfest,” Petroni promised.

Follow developments on the next edition of LiUNA Bluesfest Windsor at www.bluesfestwindsor.com.

Even without heat advisory, Bluesfest Windsor would have been hot, hot, hot

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An Environment Canada heat warning advised against too much activity, but it didn’t stop thousands from dancing and rocking through the weekend at the 2018 Bluesfest Windsor.

WINDSOR, ONT:. JULY 14, 2018 -- Eddie Money performs on the third night of the LiUNA Bluesfest Windsor at the Riverfront Festival Plaza, Saturday, July 14, 2018. DAX MELMER / WINDSOR STAR

WINDSOR, ONT:. JULY 14, 2018 — Eddie Money performs on the third night of the LiUNA Bluesfest Windsor at the Riverfront Festival Plaza, Saturday, July 14, 2018. DAX MELMER / WINDSOR STAR

An Environment Canada heat warning advised against too much activity, but it didn’t stop thousands from dancing and rocking through the weekend at the 2018 Bluesfest Windsor.

Sugar Ray Rayford wades into the crowd during a song as she performs on the third night of the LiUNA Bluesfest Windsor at the Riverfront Festival Plaza, Saturday, July 14, 2018. DAX MELMER / WINDSOR STAR

Sugar Ray Rayford wades into the crowd during a song as she performs on the third night of the LiUNA Bluesfest Windsor at the Riverfront Festival Plaza, Saturday, July 14, 2018. DAX MELMER / WINDSOR STAR

Vendors sold and gave away over 24,000 bottles of water to thirsty festival goers before Sunday night.

“The heat’s one step better than a storm, but not by much,” said Rob Petroni, president of LiUNA Bluesfest Windsor.

Neither hot temperatures nor tight security stopped crowds from showing up over four days of live music. Petroni estimates over 23,000 people purchased tickets over the course of the event.

At any given time, between 600 and 700 people were consistently hanging out at the festival food court, according to Petroni. The eating area was beneath some of the 15,000 square feet of plaza covered by tents, where seven vendors served food and drinks.

The first LiUNA Bluesfest’s budget was $135,000. Now in its third year, the 2018 festival budget was $1.2 million.

Around $500,000 of the cost paid for the performers. An additional $50,000 in extra lighting and audio systems went into this year’s event.

“Every year it’s gotten bigger,” said Petroni. “The performers have been nothing short of awesome.”

Artists this year included Eddie Money, Night Ranger, Colin James and Extreme.

Sunday’s Back to the 90’s set featured Vanilla Ice, Naughty By Nature, Rob Base, C+C Music Factory and more.

Eddie Money performs on the third night of the LiUNA Bluesfest Windsor at the Riverfront Festival Plaza, Saturday, July 14, 2018. DAX MELMER / WINDSOR STAR

Eddie Money performs on the third night of the LiUNA Bluesfest Windsor at the Riverfront Festival Plaza, Saturday, July 14, 2018. DAX MELMER / WINDSOR STAR

A large crowd was on hand for the third night of the LiUNA Bluesfest Windsor at the Riverfront Festival Plaza, Saturday, July 14, 2018. DAX MELMER / WINDSOR STAR

A large crowd was on hand for the third night of the LiUNA Bluesfest Windsor at the Riverfront Festival Plaza, Saturday, July 14, 2018. DAX MELMER / WINDSOR STAR

Fans watch headliner Eddie Money perform on the third night of the LiUNA Bluesfest Windsor at the Riverfront Festival Plaza, Saturday, July 14, 2018. DAX MELMER / WINDSOR STAR

Fans watch headliner Eddie Money perform on the third night of the LiUNA Bluesfest Windsor at the Riverfront Festival Plaza, Saturday, July 14, 2018. DAX MELMER / WINDSOR STAR

A pair of boaters take in the third night of the LiUNA Bluesfest Windsor from the comfort of their boat, Saturday, July 14, 2018. DAX MELMER / WINDSOR STAR

A pair of boaters take in the third night of the LiUNA Bluesfest Windsor from the comfort of their boat, Saturday, July 14, 2018. DAX MELMER / WINDSOR STAR

Jonny Lang performs on the third night of the LiUNA Bluesfest Windsor at the Riverfront Festival Plaza, Saturday, July 14, 2018. DAX MELMER / WINDSOR STAR

Jonny Lang performs on the third night of the LiUNA Bluesfest Windsor at the Riverfront Festival Plaza, Saturday, July 14, 2018. DAX MELMER / WINDSOR STAR

Sugar Ray Rayford performs on the third night of the LiUNA Bluesfest Windsor at the Riverfront Festival Plaza, Saturday, July 14, 2018. DAX MELMER / WINDSOR STAR

Sugar Ray Rayford performs on the third night of the LiUNA Bluesfest Windsor at the Riverfront Festival Plaza, Saturday, July 14, 2018. DAX MELMER / WINDSOR STAR

A large crowd was on hand for the third night of the LiUNA Bluesfest Windsor at the Riverfront Festival Plaza, Saturday, July 14, 2018. DAX MELMER / WINDSOR STAR

A large crowd was on hand for the third night of the LiUNA Bluesfest Windsor at the Riverfront Festival Plaza, Saturday, July 14, 2018. DAX MELMER / WINDSOR STAR

LiUNA! Bluesfest Windsor Brings American Pop Rock Icon To Festival Plaza

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Windsor Ontario He’s opened the DTE Summer Concert series in Detroit for 20 years to a packed house of devotees who travel far and wide to catch his chart-topping, double-platinum hits, entertaining shows and musical prowess.

Now, Eddie Money will pack the plaza as the 2018 featured headliner at LiUNA! Bluesfest Windsor, Saturday, July 14.

“Our team has been working very hard to attract this level of star power, and I’m extremely proud to announce Eddie Money is coming back to Canada, to Windsor and especially to Bluesfest,” stated Rob Petroni, President of Bluesfest Windsor. “His music is legendary. He delights new fans and long-time followers at venues across the country with his signature style and passion to perform,” emphasizes Petroni.

Money’s stream of Top 40 hits throughout the 70’s and 80’s, as well as some of the era’s most creative videos included, “Think I’m In Love”, “Shakin” and platinum album Can’t Hold Back featuring the Grammy-nominated duet with Ronnie Spector, “Take Me Home Tonight”. The album also reached number 4 on the Billboard 100 and featured hit song “I Wanna Go Back”.

LiUNA! Bluesfest Windsor promises four days of award-winning artists performing Blues, Rock and 90s Throwback music, Thursday, July 12 to Sunday, July15. Headliners and featured artists include: Night Ranger, Extreme, Pat Travers Band, Colin James, Jonny Lang, Beth Hart, Danielle Nicole, Sugaray Rayford, Angel Forrest and Sunday’s Back to the 90’s Tour with back-to-back performances buy Vanilla Ice, Naughty By Nature, Rob Base, Young MC, and C&C Music Factory Ft Freedom Williams – already 70 % sold out!

Now in its 5th year, of reimagining, Bluesfest Windsor is driven to provide an exceptional concert experience as the region’s premier musical festival. With a volunteer planning team numbering twenty–plus professionals, a growing list of corporate sponsors and a commitment to support community organizations such as Transition To Betterness, our 2018 Charitable Designate, we’re looking forward to an exciting future, Petroni added.

Rap Music at Bluesfest Windsor? Just Bust a Move

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All right, stop! Collaborate and listen: Vanilla Ice, Naughty By Nature, C+C Music Factory, Young MC, and Rob Base might not be the sort of musical acts people associate with the blues — but you’ll be able to bust a move to them at LiUNA! Bluesfest Windsor this summer.

The rappers — who all had platinum singles circa 1988 to 1991 — will perform as a “Back to the 90s” lineup on the final night of the festival, which takes place July 12 to 15.

It’s the first time the long-running Windsor blues festival has featured rap music.

Read the full story on The Windsor Star website.

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