The Tim Hortons Southside Shuffle Blues & Jazz Festival is always a cause for celebration amongst music lovers around the world. It was recognized as such at the 2018 Mississauga Arts Council’s Awards Gala in May, receiving the MARTY award for “Mississauga’s Best Festival”.
This year’s edition of the Shuffle, September 7-9 promises to be extra special, marking its 20th anniversary. “We’re bringing back some of our favourite artists from over the years,” says festival founder and artistic director Chuck Jackson.
Those lighting up the two Main Stages will include: acclaimed contemporary American Blues/Rock guitarist and vocalist Coco Montoya; Austin-based, Juno award winner Sue Foley (playing her trademark pink paisley Fender Telecaster); British Blues/Rock pioneers Savoy Brown (led by guitarist Kim Simmonds); and the Legendary Downchild Blues Band who will close out the weekend, as per tradition.
Over the past two decades, the Southside Shuffle has presented such legends as Buddy Guy, Mavis Staples, The Funk Brothers, David Clayton-Thomas, Ronnie Hawkins, The Fabulous Thunderbirds, and Johnny Winter, while evolving into an international calibre Blues and Jazz festival drawing approximately 75,000 people to Port Credit Memorial Park and the neighbouring Lakeshore Road mecca of clubs, restaurants, and shops.
“I’ve had the chance to bring in people who really inspired me as a young Blues artist – Buddy Guy, Charlie Musselwhite, and the Funk Brothers,” says Jackson, a singer, Blues harp player, and holder of the Maple Blues’ Lifetime Achievement Award.
“We’ve tried to bring in some of the top Blues players from around the world. We also like to show off the great Canadian talent, and young and new talent.”
Other Main Stage performers this year will include U.S. Bluesman Duke Robillard (a two-time W.C. Handy Award winner), and Toronto icons Cameo Blues Band, and Mike McKenna. The promising “Lady Sings The Blues” showcase will feature such sirens as Cheryl Lescom, Rita Chiarelli, Angel Forrest, Maria Aurigema, and Port Credit’s Krista Blondin (doing her “Piece Of My Heart” Janis Joplin tribute).
Entertainment on the free stages run the gamut from Mississippi’s D’Mar & Gill, and Stan “Dead-End” Street and Reverend Robert, to Toronto Rock roots revisionist Paul James, to modern jazz-meisters Manteca, to domestic blues stars Steve Strongman, and Harrison Kennedy.
A weekend pass is just $30 to see 50 bands, or it’s $10 in for Friday night, or $15 for Saturday and Sunday at the gate. And now that the entire park is licensed you can walk through the park and enjoy a cold beverage or glass of wine.
Always a festival highlight, the Rabba Fine Foods Street Shuffle presents approximately 20 free outdoor performances along the Lakeshore, exposing 35,000- plus people to Blues, Jazz, Dixieland, Big Band, Country, Bluegrass, Zydeco, Rock, and more.
The starting time for this year’s Street Shuffle has been moved up, running from noon to 4 pm.