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Limestone City Bluesfest wraps after 26 years, makes way for new musical traditions in 2025

Just following the successful 26th year of the Limestone City Blues Festival, the Downtown Kingston Business Improvement Area (BIA) announced this week that the festival is drawing to a close.

This year’s festival included many changes from years before, according to organizers, by drawing in a younger audience with popular local bands, mixing in new genres, and collaborating with other concurrent events. These changes came in response to a decline in turnout in the last few years, giving Kingston audiences a new experience. But it was announced that this innovative edition was actually the last.

Just after wrapping this year’s festival, Artistic Director of the festival Jan Macdonald foreshadowed some big changes to the festival.

In an interview with CFRC on Sept. 5, Macdonald stated, “We are having serious planning sessions this fall to look at the future of not only the Blues Festival but other festivals and events that we do. You know, everything has its time and its place. I’m certainly not saying that the festival will go away, I really don’t think it will. But, I think it will likely morph into a little bit more of a music festival as opposed to a traditional blues festival.”

In the same announcement, it was also revealed that the BIA is currently working on plans for a new music festival set to launch in 2025, with a broader lens but with the same mission of providing a large-scale music festival in the heart of downtown Kingston.

“Kingston has such a rich history of producing top-level musical talent and a reputation as one of the best live-music destinations in Canada,” says MacDonald, “Blues has been a key part of that. Creating a new event is an exciting opportunity to build on that culture, and celebrate live music with an even broader audience.”

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