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Limestone City Blues Fest celebrates success of new additions this year

This year’s Limestone City Blues Festival concluded its 26th instalment last week, with 60 concerts taking place over the four-day event.

The festival this year saw changes in response to a dip in attendance post-COVID, caused both by the pandemic and the specific demographic for the blues genre. The additions by the Downtown Kingston Business Improvement Area included the addition of a licensed area, an artisan market with over 40 local vendors each day, and a more musically diverse selection of artists.

The Downtown Kingston Business Improvement Area (BIA) set out on a mission this year to attract new audiences after experiencing a decrease in attendance post-pandemic. One of the goals of the BIA this year was to attract a younger demographic, a goal which was achieved through the inclusion of local artists like Nice n, the Kodas, and Oak Ridge Avenue, all bands with an active, younger following, on their free stage.

“So what we decided to do this year was to invite some younger and sort of hipper, if you don’t mind that word, bands to our free stage, which is Confederation Park stage… We chose Saturday as the one day that was really going to be geared to a younger audience. So that turned out to be very successful,” says Artistic Director for the festival Jan Macdonald. “The crowds were great. We were very excited to see the demo of the audience changing for those days.”

Looking ahead to next year, the BIA promises more changes to come.

“There are a lot of ideas on the table,” confirms MacDonald. “It’s an exciting time.”

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