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.”
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.”
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.