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Blues and Jazz Festival line-up unveiled for 2019

The entertainment line-up has been announced for the 2019 Orangeville Blues and Jazz Festival set for May 31 to June 2.

President of the Festival Board of Directors Josh Leitch and Artistic Director Larry Kurtz made the announcement at the annual festival launch at Mill Creek Pub.

"The festival has become a signature event for Orangeville and the Dufferin region, and we would like to thank our partners, sponsors and funders for their support, particularly the Orangeville Business Improvement Association,” Mr. Leitch said. He further acknowledged support from Heritage Canada, the Ontario Trillium Foundation, Central Counties Tourism, the County of Dufferin, and the Town of Orangeville.

Mayor Sandy Brown proclaimed May 31 to June 2 as the Orangeville Blues & Jazz Festival Weekend. He congratulated the festival on its continuing legacy of providing an exciting weekend and fostering the love of music. "The festival is at the heart of the cultural soul of our Town -- a place where music, theatre and art are revered and supported," Mayor Brown said. "Our Town Council and residents give our heartfelt thanks to the hundreds of volunteers who collaborate with Town staff, our Town departments, and the generous sponsors to make this one of the greatest festivals in Ontario."

This year's festival will feature more than 90 acts on four stages and in local pubs, restaurants and event venues with several pop-up bands to perform on Broadway. The festival kicks off on May 31 at 5 p.m. with the popular Blues cruise, featuring more than 300 classic cars and 10 bands. The main stage will feature Larry Kurtz & The Lawbreakers with special guest Heather Katz going on stage at 8 p.m. followed by an 11-piece soul band (The Commotions) from Ottawa.

On Saturday, starting with the Farmers' Market, the “Broadway Ramble” will be closed to vehicle traffic and will provide a pedestrian-friendly festival environment with more than 10 bands performing in various outdoor locations on the street. There will also be a Kid Zone, featuring workshops and programs such as harmonica lessons, a photo booth, music art activities, a drum circle, colouring station, and more.

The festival features great local talent performing in the TD Local Stars tent on Saturday and Sunday, such as the ODSS Jazz Band, Stan Chang, Campfire Poets, Orangeville Chorus, Travelling Wannabes, Jazz Society Band, and Soul Collective.

Special workshops will be offered in the Orangeville Public Library featuring songwriting, saxophone and boogie woogie piano.

The main stage in Alexandra Park will boast a line-up of award-winning artists starting at 2 p.m. including rising star Angelique Francis, Juno Award winners Digging Roots, vocal; powerhouse Erin McCallum, Maple Blues Award nominated Jon Knight & Soulstack, the electrifying Miss Emily, and award-winning Australian harmonica and didgeridoo player Harper & Midwest Kind.

On Sunday, the main stage schedule will begin at noon until 6 p.m. with performances by Maple Blues Award winners Murray Kinsley & Wicked Grin, Toronto Blues Society new talent search winners the Byward Blues Band, two-time Juno winner Steve Strongman and multi Maple Blues award winner Sue Foley will close the festival.

The Opera House series will begin at noon on Saturday and the line-up will include Cobalt Prize winner Joe Nolan, two-time Juno nominee Jason Wilson, a rare appearance by Halifax's Garrett Mason, and will be headlined by 2019 June Winner for Vocal Jazz Album of the year Laila Biali. Sunday in the Opera House will feature Orangeville's own Leisa Way & The Wayward Wind Band and Memphis Blues Challenge winner Little G. Weevil, and headlined by the award-winning Cuban pianist and composer Hilario Duran.

The popular Blues & Bikes event on Broadway is set for Sunday from 1-5 p.m. and will be accommodated in an expanded area to facilitate more motorcycle enthusiasts. Pop-up music performances will take place on the street.

This marks the eighth year that the festival has been recognized as one of the top 100 festivals and events in Ontario. For more information about the festival visit www.orangevillebluesandjazz.ca.

Blues and Jazz festival supporters at launch for 2019 festival