Ottawa Bluesfest 2016

General FAQs

How do I sign up to be a volunteer?

We love our volunteers and couldn’t run the festival without them! Visit the new volunteer website at for all your volunteering-related questions and needs. Online volunteer registration will open May 11th at 7PM. For returning volunteers in good standing, Early Bird Registration runs from May 4th at 7PM to May 8th at midnight.

What’s the festival like beyond the music?

It’s awesome. We have multicultural foods (ranging from snacks to full meals), several beverage options, VIP upgrade areas, merch and posters for sale, autograph signings, raffles, silent auctions, multiple promotions and contests, greening initiatives, AND the Canadian War Museum is in the middle of our site.

When do the festival gates open?

We try as hard as we can to have the gates open at 5PM on weeknights and 12:30PM on weekends. If there is a delay beyond our control, we will spread the word as quickly as we can.

What happens if it rains?

We all get wet. For the most part, the show goes on rain or shine. We will inform patrons of significant weather-related delays through onsite, media and social media announcements.

Is the festival site accessible?

We’ve done everything we can to make sure the venue is wheelchair-accessible. However, due to the ground’s natural terrain and size, it can be difficult to manoeuvre a wheelchair. The festival does not provide personal care or golf cart rides, but RBC Bluesfest’s volunteer A-Team does offer push service and light support. A-Team volunteers will be roaming the site to offer support, and stationed in the A-Team Tent (near the Info Booth) to offer guidance and light support as needed. As well, support persons can access the festival site without additional cost above the admission price for the patron with a disability (one support person per person with a disability). There is an elevated platform in the main bowl designated for patrons using wheelchairs with view of the Main Stage, in addition to priority access at The Grand Club VIP areas at each stage.

Collapsible lawn chairs are permitted throughout the site and we encourage those who may have difficulty standing for long periods to bring them.

Ottawa Bluesfest Accessibility Policy

What can I bring? What should I leave at home?

Aren’t you smart to plan ahead! See below:

What to bring:

  • YES Cell phones (we have charging stations!)
  • YES Soft-sided coolers; snacks
  • YES Sealed water bottles or empty reusable water bottles (we have filling stations!)
  • YES Small backpacks, bags, and purses. Small = not massive camping gear
  • YES Blankets and beach towels, sunscreen, hoodies or rain ponchos
  • YES Personal cameras without removable lenses. See Camera Policy for details
  • YES Small collapsible lawn chairs
  • YES Medication in its original packaging with matching photo ID
  • YES Umbrellas (small handheld ones – no patio, golf, or beach umbrellas please)
  • YES Baby strollers (for kids)

Don’t bring these:

Items on the list below WILL be confiscated.

  • NO Weapons, colours, or contraband
  • NO Bicycles inside festival grounds. Valet bike parking is available
  • NO Professional photography equipment, video equipment, or audio recording devices without a media/photo pass. Including but not limited to: any detachable zoon lenses, stands, monopods, tripods. (See Camera Policy for details)
  • NO GoPro’s
  • NO Laser pointers or lighting devices
  • NO Drones or any other remote flying devices
  • NO Musical instruments, horns or noise makers
  • NO Walkie-talkies or radio equipment
  • NO Skateboards, roller blades, scooters, carts or personalized motorized vehicles (except wheelchairs)
  • NO Illegal substances or drug paraphernalia
  • NO Alcohol. Beer, wine, spirits, and non-alcoholic beverages will be sold inside the festival gates
  • NO Pets. Service dogs are permitted
  • NO Hard-sided coolers
  • NO Glass containers
  • NO Unauthorized vending is permitted on festival property
  • NO Flyers, handbills, posters, stickers
  • NO Fireworks or explosives
  • NO Beach balls, soccer balls, baseballs, footballs, etc
  • NO Squirt guns or water toys
  • NO paint or permanent markers
  • NO Tents
  • NO Megaphones
  • NO Non-collapsible chairs


Will the festival have a lost and found?

The Festival lost and found has now been closed. Items of significant value have been given to Ottawa Police Services. Miscellaneous items have been donated to St. Vincent de Paul.

Is smoking allowed at the festival?

RBC Bluesfest is a non-smoking event. Patrons are asked to refrain from smoking at the festival for the duration of the event. Smoking policies off the grounds fall under the respective jurisdictions of the City of Ottawa or the National Capital Commission.