LiUNA! Bluesfest Windsor has just announced its 2018 lineup, featuring a few big names, a handful of local standouts and a big giant surprise for the July waterfront festival. The lineup was revealed at a news conference in the Windsor Star News Café at noon today (February 21) with media on hand for the announcement and a special performance from South River Slim.
The lineup includes a departure to the format with touring act Back to the 90s hitting the stage on Sunday night with notable rap, R&B and hip hop stars like Vanilla Ice, Naughty By Nature, Rob Base, Young MC and C+C Music Factory. This is a newly revised version of the popular North American I Love The 90s Tour which sold out dates across the continent over the past few years.
“Last year we tried extremely hard to get that show here,” said Bluesfest Windsor president Rob Petroni of the Back to the 90s show. “We’re pretty confident it’s going to sell out. It’s a high energy show and we know the place is going to be packed. That show also serves another purpose and that’s to get people who might not otherwise come to a blues show and expose them to the blues. They’ll get to see one of the best that night in Beth Hart.”
Other headliners announced today include classic rock band Night Ranger and Canadian blues rocker Colin James, who join previously announced performers Extreme, Pat Travers Band, Jonny Lang and Beth Hart.
“We’ve come to the realization that in order to get a younger and different crowd to come out, we need to diversify a little,” said the festival’s Artistic Director Jeff Burrow, who’s also known as the drummer in Canadian rock band The Tea Party. “Everyone always wants you to bring in the biggest and the best, but with that there usually comes a big ticket price. We still offer one of the best prices of any of the blues festivals in Canada and I’m not sure where else you’d be able to find a weekend pass for about $100 that includes Night Ranger, Extreme, Beth Hart and all those 90s stars in one show.”
Organizers were unable to reveal the Saturday night headliner due to contractual obligations, but say the announcement will come soon.
The festival will also feature several local performers including Danielle Nicole, Kathleen Murray and The Groove Council, The Instinct, Drop Dead Famous, Nemesis, Greatest Hits Live, South River Slim, United Snakes, and the Moondog Howlers.
Another unique addition to the 2018 festival is the addition of a musician in residence or a Bluesfest Ambassador as he’s being called. Sugaray Rayford was a last minute addition in 2017 and impressed not only the audience, but the organizers as well. Rayford will perform on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
The complete lineup includes:
Thursday, July 12:
Night Ranger, Extreme
Drop Dead Famous, Greatest Hits Live
Friday, July 13:
Colin James, Pat Travers Band, Danielle Nicole, Sugaray Rayford
Nemesis, South River Slim
Saturday, July 14:
TBA, Jonny Lang, Sugaray Rayford
Angel Forrest, Kathleen Murray & Groove Council, The Wild Rides, United Snakes
Sunday, July 15:
Vanilla Ice, Naughty By Nature, Rob Base, Young MC, C+C Music Factory
Beth Hart, Sugaray Rayford
Moondog Howlers, The Instinct