West Island Blues Festival to host 11th annual free outdoor party

Two time Juno winner Jack De Keyzer joins this year’s bill

By Kevin Woodhouse

In order to accommodate more blues fans, the 11th edition of the West Island Blues Festival is switching venues to the George Springate Sports Centre grounds. The announcement was made Tuesday morning on the new site in Pierrefonds-Roxboro, just behind Pierrefonds Comprehensive High School.

The free event will take place Saturday, June 14th starting at 2:30 p.m. with continuous live music until 11:15 p.m. where the Roger Mann Band will end off the proceedings. The day long affair is also a fundraiser that to date, has raised more than $70,000 for such non-profit agencies as The West Island Women’s Shelter, Portage and Call of the Wild. The West Island Black Community Association and the West Island Palliative Care Centre, who have also received donations from the fest in the past, will be this year’s recipients of charitable contributions that come from food and beer sales at the event as well as the V.I.P. indoor concert taking place next Thursday, May 29th at the Pierrefonds Cultural Centre.

The Carolyne Fe Blues Collective will play an intimate concert following a cocktail reception. tickets for the event are $100 each.

Pierrefonds-Roxboro Mayor Dimitrios Jim Beis and Dollard-des-Ormeaux Councilor Errol Johnson created the West Island Blues Festival before either of them held public office as a way of “creating a festival for the entire West Island, not just Pierrefonds-Roxboro or DDO,” said Beis.

Beis also noted that because the “blues community is very tight knit, not only do we have residents coming back every year but we even get blues followers from all over Quebec and from Ottawa who come here in their campers.” 

“We would like to eventually include all of the West Island municipalities in some way because if we could all raise funds in one day for the non-profit organizations that need help, it would take the pressure off of cities when it comes to budgeting for charity,” said Johnson.

More than 5,000 music lovers of all ages can take part in the West Island Blues Festival as the nearby high school will be available free for parking. Two food trucks, along with Caribbean food on site, will be on hand throughout the day.

And as a sign that the festival is maturing, All State Insurance recently approached Johnson and offered sponsorship. “This helps give us even more credibility because they came to us,” Johnson said.

To get a full band itinerary and ticket info for the V.I.P. evening, go online at www.westislandbluesfestival.com
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