Avid fans of blues, roots and folk rock have just a month to go before their favourite music event kicks off at Deer Lake Park.
The Burnaby Blues and Roots Festival is set for Saturday, Aug. 11 from 2 p.m. to 10 p.m. Headliners are the Indigo Girls, the American folk duo of Amy Ray and Emily Saliers.
The lineup also includes blues guitarist Jimmie Vaughn, older brother of the late Stevie Ray Vaughn; Mamadu and Mariam, a duo from Mali; American blues/jazz artist Kelly Joe Phelps; singer/songwriter, rapper and bassist Meshell Ndegeocello; as well as Canadian bands Deep Dark Woods, the Washboard Union and No Sinner.
Last year about 8,000 people people attended the festival, with k.d. lang being the major draw as headliner. This year, Philley said organizers expect to see about 5,000 in attendance.
"It's kind of a much more musician-centered festival this year," said Corey Philley, Facility and Event Services Coordinator for the Shadbolt Centre for the Arts. "The Indigo Girls are definitely the headliners and we love them to bits, but they're not necessarily a k.d. lang who could sell tickets just on her own. So you're really buying into the whole program, and there's some really great musicians that are coming, and a variety of them; anything that could appeal from 20-somethings to 60-somethings."
Besides the variety of musical talent on stage, the festival also features artisan displays, food vendors, and a kids' arts activity zone from 3:30 to 7:30 p.m. for youngest members of the crowd.
Philley said the event draws many locals, but also many blues and roots fans from the U.S. and Alberta as well.
"People come out on a Friday night and they're just going to spend the weekend in Vancouver, essentially," she said. "So they come for the festival for the day and then go on to do other things on the Sunday in Burnaby and in the Lower Mainland. It really becomes sort of a destination for a lot of people."
With several thousand people in attendance, Philley said organizers have upgraded regulations for this year's event to make sure the atmosphere is as enjoyable and fun as possible for everyone in attendance.
New for this year is the maximum size of coolers, at 22" long, 15" high, and 15" wide.
"We just limited the size of the cooler because it looked like people were bringing in, you know, God bless them, their entire kitchen last year," said Philley, who noted coolers will be limited to one per person.
Also new for this year, no chairs with seats higher than eight inches will be allowed, to "give everybody a good sight line," said Philley.
Deer Lake Park has general admission lawn seating with no reserved seats.
Gates open at 12:30 p.m. and the show starts at 2 p.m. The west gate closes at 6 p.m. and the main gate closes at 9 p.m.
Parking near Deer Lake Park is limited during the festival, therefore organizers encourage ticket holders to use alternate modes of transportation such as taxis, carpools, bicycles and public transit. There are bike racks on site, and there is a free shuttle bus service available from the BCIT campus (pay-parking in effect).
Organizers also encourage anyone interested in purchasing tickets to review the guidelines on the festival website: www.burnabybluesfestival.com.
The Burnaby Blues and Roots Festival is produced by the City of Burnaby and the Shadbolt Centre for the Arts.
Advance single tickets are $70, and a pack of four is $200. On the day of the festival, single tickets will be available for $75. Children aged 12-and-under get in free with an adult.
For more information and tickets, call the box office at 604-205-3000, or visit www.burnabybluesfestival.com.