Ottawa Bluesfest 2017

Ticket FAQs

Box Office and Will Call Hours:

The festival box office opens at 3 PM on festival weekdays, 12 PM on weekends. Will Call opens on July 6 from 12-5 PM, then is open from 12 PM-close on all festival days.
Both areas are located beside the main gate. Both locations will be closed on July 11 and July 12. After 12 PM same-day tickets are not available online. You must head to the festival or an outlet to purchase tickets for that night. Day of show pricing at the box office may differ from online/advance pricing at outlets.

Will Call pick-up:

You can pick up online orders – Will Call – in advance at the outlets at:

  • Bayshore Shopping Centre
  • CF Rideau Centre
  • St. Laurent Shopping Centre

Please bring your order confirmation number (in the email you received) and a piece of ID. You can also pick up onsite at the Will Call tent, located next to main gates. We can’t guarantee there won’t be long wait times for pick up onsite.

I ordered my tickets in advance, can you tell me about the mailout?

The mailout for all passes has started and we expect all passes to be in the hands of Canada Post by June 15. It may take up to 2 weeks for passes to arrive, so we ask for your patience and that you do not contact us about your passes not arriving until June 30.Orders returned to sender (moved/address unknown) will be held at will call, where the original purchaser must present ID to claim. When you receive your pass, please DO NOT CUT OPEN THE ENVELOPE, as contents may have shifted during delivery. Gently remove the adhesive flap to retrieve your passes. For Youth Wristbands, we remind you to NOT tighten the wristband until you are ready to wear it until the end of the festival. Once tightened, the clasp will lock and cannot be loosened. The deadline to place mail orders is June 25. After that, you may choose courier delivery ($15 fee) or to pick up passes at a ticket outlet or festival will call.

What’s the difference between regular and courier delivery?

Mail delivery occurs via Canada Post. Once you receive your email notification, please allow 5-10 business days for your purchase to arrive. Courier will be available closer to the festival date. More details in May 2016.

I don’t have a Canadian mailing address, how do I get my tickets?

International orders will be held for pickup at will-call. BRING ID. If your Ottawa travel plans aren’t firm yet, you can also purchase at an outlet or the box office when you arrive here.


What types of passes can I get this year?

  • Full Festival pass (not available as of July 12)
  • Youth Full Festival pass (not available as of February)
  • Pick-5 Pass (not available as of July 12)
  • Pick-3 Pass
  • Day Pass
  • VIP Passes:
    • Metropolitain VIP Zone (Reserved seating OR Party Zone)
    • The Grand Club VIP (Full Festival) (not available as of May)

See below for descriptions of each type of pass

Where, when and how do I buy my passes?

Tickets are available online and at outlet locations throughout the city:

  • Both Compact Music stores
    • 206 Bank Street
    • 785 1/2 Bank Street
  • Bayshore Shopping Centre, second floor
  • Rideau Centre
  • St. Laurent Shopping Centre (coming soon!)

Outlets have general admission Day passes, Pick-3, Pick-5, Adult Full Festival, and Metropolitain VIP Zone passes. Outlets do not take cash sales, so please have your debit/credit cards ready. Drop by to check out RBC Bluesfest music and get your tickets before the rush!

What’s a Full Festival Pass?

Every day, every act, we’ve got you covered.
Update (July 12): Full Festival passes are no longer available to purchase.

What’s a Youth Festival Wristband?

This full festival pass is for youths aged 10-21. If you turn 22 before the festival begins (your birthdate is prior to July 7, 1994), congratulations! We hereby officially deem you an adult.
GROUND RULES: We ID Youth Wristband holders and reserve the right to verify age by any means available. Youth wristbands are non-removable. Please read the description on the ticketing site before you buy and follow the instructions when putting them on. If the youth cannot wear a wristband for the duration of the festival, please choose another ticket-type, such as a Pick-5 or Full Festival Pass.
Update (February 26): Youth wristbands are sold out.

What’s a Pick-3 Pass?

You can pick any 3 days to load onto 1 pass. Dates must be chosen during purchase.
Update (July 12): July 15th is no longer available as a part of the Pick-3 Pass package.

What’s a Pick-5 Pass?

You can pick any 5 days to load onto 1 pass. Dates must be chosen during purchase.
Update (July 12): Pick-5 Passes are no longer available to purchase.

What’s a Day Pass?

Pretty straight forward… one day, one pass. Date must be chosen during purchase.

What will you be using as the pass this year?

We’re sticking with the RFID-enabled card for most of our passes this year. For those that want to “wear” their pass to keep it safe and easy to grab to use to pay for things onsite, we’ll also be selling the commemorative lanyard/pass-holder as an add-on to your ticket order. Youth Passes will once again be loaded onto a NON-removable wristband.

Can we still share a Pick-3, Pick-5, The Grand Club VIP, or Adult Full Festival Pass if we’re not attending every night?

Yup. But only one person at a time.
Remember: if your friend loses your pass, only the original purchaser can get it replaced. If the pass is confiscated due to violation of House Policies, we can’t replace it, even if your friend was the one who was misbehaving.

Can we share a Youth Festival Wristband?

Nope. This is a non-transferrable pass. One person must wear this wristband continuously from the first time they visit until they leave the festival for the last time in 2016.

Can we leave and come back?

General admission Day Passes are in-only. Once you have entered the festival gates, you cannot leave and re-enter with the same pass. VIP and multi-day passes have in/out privileges, and can scan out of the festival gates to re-enter at a later date or time. Please see a gates attendant PRIOR to exiting the venue.

What if I lose my pass? Or if it breaks?

Our passes are guaranteed weatherproof. That said, if you’ve registered your pass online, and did not have it confiscated due to violation of house policies, we can deactivate and replace it. Registered passes can be replaced in-person at the box office (during festival hours). Please have proof of purchase (email or the credit card used) along with ID, to complete the replacement. Replacement fee is $10. If you think you might lose your pass, consider picking up a festival lanyard.

When can I register my pass?

Now. Register here! What are you waiting for? Go now!

What information is stored on my pass? Who has access to this information?

Similar to a barcode, each RFID tag is programmed with a serial key that links to account information, then encrypted to prevent unauthorized access. Your admission level (e.g., GA, Volunteer, etc.) timeframe (day pass, full festival), cashless profile, and/or social media information is stored securely in your online account. The wristbands themselves do not hold any personal information, but are rather a ‘key’ to unlock that specific profile on the system when accessed by our technology. The tags are passive and do not broadcast unless they are within near proximity of the readers onsite. Similarly, social media/cashless integration is encrypted and transmitted over a secure connection. As always, our ticketing agents can look up your purchase by reference number, name, etc. to answer various questions. This information is stored securely and never shared without your permission.
RBC Bluesfest Ticket Purchase Terms and Conditions

Do you have special rates for kids/groups/support workers?

Conveniently, we do! Thanks for asking.
CHILDREN: Children 9 and under can attend the festival for free, when supervised by adults who have passes. We adore kids, but please remember that this is a large music festival, and that headline acts typically perform after dark. We strongly recommend designating a family meeting space if you become separated or cannot communicate by phone. Not all acts are suitable for all audiences. Certain events and times (like our Blues in the Schools showcase) are more kid-friendly. If you have more questions about this, contact us and we’ll chat!
Shameless plugCityFolk is terrific for kids of all ages. GROUP PURCHASES: Group rates are no longer available for the 2016 year. ACCESSIBILITY: People with disabilities are welcome to attend our event. One support person can accompany the patron with a disability at no extra cost. Please see our Accessibility Policy for details.


Can passes sell out? Do prices change?

Yes. Buy as early as you can to get the best rate. Obligatory legal-speak: Prices are subject to change at any time without notice.

What methods of payment do you accept?

What have you got? But seriously, we accept Visa, MasterCard and American Express online. Outlets accept all major credit cards and debit cards. Cash sales will only be available at the festival box office.

Can you provide more information on the service charges and fees applied to my order

Quick lowdown:
HST All purchases are subject to Harmonized Sales Tax – 13% provincial and federal goods and services tax.
Service Charge This per-ticket charge covers costs such as:

  • website development, maintenance, design, and support
  • merchant processing fees
  • customer support staffing and resources
  • gates architecture, networking, equipment, and staffing at the festival

Festival House Community Fund (Handling Charge) Festival House is Bluesfest’s year-round home, where we do so much more than plan each year’s festival. Here, Bluesfest School of Music & Art, Blues in the Schools and Be In The Band programs allow students of all ages to discover and explore a lifelong relationship with the arts. In addition, Ottawa’s festival community is strengthened with regular mentorship, networking, and professional development within these walls. Five dollars from each online order goes toward sustaining these community programs. Thank you for helping us do good things! NEW THIS YEAR: OC Transpo service is included in the cost of every festival admission pass. Ride the bus to and from the festival. Visit to plan your trip.
Shipping Turns out mailboxes aren’t just for bills! We will lovingly label, package, and mail your tickets this spring. This year we’re excited to email you confirmation once your personal order has shipped!

I would like to purchase in-person. When and how can I do this?

Tickets are available at outlet locations throughout the city:

  • Both Compact Music stores
    • 206 Bank Street
    • 785 1/2 Bank Street
  • Bayshore Shopping Centre, second floor
  • Rideau Centre
  • St. Laurent Shopping Centre (coming soon!)

Outlets have general admission Day passes, Pick-3, Pick-5, Adult Full Festival, and Metropolitain VIP Zone passes. Outlets do not take cash sales, so please have your debit/credit cards ready.

Will tickets be available at the festival?

Any remaining tickets for each day will be available at the onsite box office until it closes that night. However, we cannot predict wait times on busy nights, nor can we guarantee that your preferred night/section won’t sell out. We recommend you purchase in advance.

Will you be doing student rush day tickets at the box office again?

Yes! These will be available at the festival box office ONLY at 3PM (weekdays) or 12PM (weekends) while quantities last. Pricing is between $35-$50 inclusive (based on that day’s headlining act). Here’s the scoop: Eligibility – can be purchased by any current student who can present a valid student ID or ISIC card issued in the 2016 academic school year from an educational institution. Quantity – students can purchase up to two (2) tickets each at the discounted price. Availability – “Student Rush” tickets must be purchased on the date for which they are valid – no advance purchases. So if you want July 10 tickets, please show up on July 10, not July 8 or July 11. “Student Rush” tickets are only available at the festival box office at the times listed above AND while quantities last. They cannot be purchased online or at outlets. Once student rush is sold out only regular priced tickets will be available. It is first-come, first-served and sometimes demand exceeds supply. We reserve the right to limit sale or request additional identification from individuals whose eligibility is in doubt. Show us your dorky school ID pic, we promise not to judge. Expert tips: Try to arrive at the box office BEFORE RUSH BEGINS Wear sunscreen, bring some friends and stay hydrated! Bring your school ID. We strongly recommend you bring cash to purchase your tickets. The box office also accepts credit and debit. No entrance to the festival until the gates open that day – after you’ve got your tickets, feel free to take a walk by the river or go home and crash until it’s party time. THE NOT-SO-SMALL PRINT:

  • Prices include HST and are subject to change without prior notice.
  • “Student Rush” tickets may not be available every day of the festival. We reserve the right to cancel or suspend the sale of “Student Rush” tickets at any time, with or without notice.
  • All purchases are non-exchangeable and non-refundable.

What happens if an artist’s show is cancelled or changed to another day? Can I get a refund or exchange my pass for the new date?

For reasons beyond our control, the lineup is always subject to change. All announced acts have confirmed their appearance, but sometimes cancellations happen. All RBC Bluesfest passes are sold for the day(s) chosen at purchase, not for specific artist(s). Your ticket will not necessarily be exchanged or refunded due to a lineup change. We will do our best to provide an amazing festival experience, keep buyers informed, and ensure the show goes on.

I bought a pass, but I can’t go to the festival anymore. What do I do?

All tickets are non-exchangeable and non-refundable. This is standard policy for pretty much all festivals and events of our calibre. But you can share it with a friend instead!

Can I upgrade to a Pick-3 or Pick-5 Pass from a day pass?

Sorry, but purchases are not exchangeable, upgradeable, or refundable. Plan ahead and save big!

I’m going with my friend to one night of the festival. Can we both use the same pass?

Nope. We cannot load multiple tickets for the same date on one pass, nor can two people use the same pass to enter the festival together. And this way, you both get your own souvenir!

I bought a pass off Kijiji/Stubhub/that guy on the street; how do I know if it’s valid?

Purchase your passes directly from Front Gate Tickets or RBC Bluesfest outlets to avoid this perplexing issue.