Fashion tips for Bluesfest: dress to impress, but bring comfy shoes

Two of the RBC Bluesfest shirts designed by Kania, photo courtesy of Julie Beun

It’s that time of year again for Bluesfest, one of Ottawa’s most-anticipated festivals. With the summer weather in full swing, everyone seems to come out of the woodwork to enjoy good company, great music and our city (without having to bundle up in multiple layers and parkas). I’m a true fashionista and gain all kinds of inspiration, and sometimes chuckles, as I browse through Instagram and Facebook photos of various bloggers, celebrities and assorted hip people. This year, Bluesfest is upping its coolness factor and giving us all another reason to get out and get well dressed as the festival has added a prominent focus on the fashion side of things.

In the fashion world, “festival wear” has become a new category all on its own. It usually starts close to the Coachella Festival and carries on right through to Osheaga. But now Bluesfest is included in the roster. Amazing spectator outfit recognition is becoming almost as popular as celebrity autographs. Being tagged and mentioned on a popular social media brand or event handle holds bragging rights like you wouldn’t believe.  One of my lifetime bucket list items is to be noticed by someone like The Man Repeller  or The Coveteur for my own style. Bluesfest will be making sure that fashionably-dressed fans are not overlooked.

What’s in Store for This Year?

Creative Director Mark Monahan and Fashion Director Julie Beun have teamed up with local and international brands to bring the fans of Ottawa an interactive fashion experience.  Look for:

  • Backstage video and photo footage of the artists before they hit the stage – you be the judge if they were a fashion hit or had a fashion mistake
  • Exclusive curated unisex collection of Bluesfest shirts by Ottawa brand Kania
  • A Backstage Street Style Crew who will be out and about scouring the festival for fans with great style and recognizing them on Bluesfest’s Instagram, YouTube, and Facebook pages as well as in the Ottawa Citizen Style section
  • A “RBC Bluesfest House of Fashion” area for makeup touch ups  (done by and Klara Zykova of Burberry) and some free swag
  • Special festival hashtags to tag your own pictures
    • #RBCBluesfest
    • #FollowMeBackstage


Classic Festival Wear

Even if you’re not trying to to impress the Bluesfest fashionistas, there are still some tried and true items of clothing that can never put you in the wrong for festival wear. Classic denim cut off shorts, fedoras, and good old Chucks were probably worn by some of our parents at the original Woodstock festival back in 1969, but some things never go out of style! A great pair of sunglasses can add the final touch to your outfit, and also serve an important purpose if the sun is beaming on the day you attend. If you dare wear cream or white, keep your fingers crossed that nobody runs into you with a poutine or a mountain of fries and ketchup.

 Other Festival Tips to Consider

  • You’ll need lots of water to keep your body hydrated and going all day, night, and festival long.
  • Wear sunscreen, because ending up like a lobster is never a good look.
  • Please leave your GoPro and selfie sticks at home. Disneyworld has recently banned them, and Bluesfest should too. There is nothing more annoying than having your view blocked unnecessarily when space and prime viewing spots are already at a premium!
  • Do your feet a favour and wear comfortable shoes. There really is nowhere to sit without getting trampled, so standing in high heels or unsupportive footwear for an extended period of time is never fun.
  • Best of all, don’t forget to have an outstanding time, dress to impress, and use the hashtags #RBCBluesfestFashion and #FollowMeBackStage