Birch Trees & V.I.P!

Hey Folk’s! I’m going to be taking a bit of a Blogcation! Need to do some recharging and just some chill is needed as well! Fret not though I will be back in a few weeks and just to get the hype machine pumping I will be doing a few double posts of a couple of albums with a fellow blogger when I return!  Who knows I may redo or well clean up a few posts from a ways back and repost em….dunno, kinda like a Greatest Hits Blog Post! Watch yer inbox….

Dateline…..July 2013!

Ok so the price of  the three-day   Thunder Bay Blues Festival ran for two VIP packages about $330 bucks  back in 2013 when myself and my wife Suzi decided to go all three days!

Some of the acts over three days were Great Big Sea/Collective Soul/Kim Mitchell/Steepwater Band/Los Lobos/Los Lonely Boys/Family Stone and the band of the weekend that wins coolest name Too Slim & The Taildraggers.

Nothing wrong with the lineup that’s for sure as on my bucket list I always wanted to see Los Lobos and here they be… Now I am no where the big Lobos fan but these dudes have been around for a ton of years so they deserve respect and Steve Berlin produced a couple of Tragically Hip albums so there’s the CanCon…..

The Lineup was fine but it’s everything else that is associated with this Festival is wrong. Is it all fixed? Who knows as I haven’t attended since 2013 but this year I’m giving it  another GO so I will report back…well I’m not doing the VIP Package that’s for sure!

Let’s break this down into a few parts… Here’s what was promised from their page….

Limited Quantaties available! VIP Packages include: VIP Laminate pass with schedule and lanyard, Access to VIP Tent Complimentary Snacks, Food Vendor located right inside the VIP Area, Private Washroom Area, Private Bar. *

By the way my spelling is atrocious  on this site but I love the fact that they can’t spell Quantities and there an actual  professional website!

Yeah all that is true but it’s kinda funny as this was the 12th year running for this Festival(back in 2013) so everything should flow.

Lets start with the Friday Night shall we?

I basically rushed home after work that day as the Festival was starting at 5pm. The organisers did allow us since we bought a weekend pass to ride the Transit System Free which is a great idea so we could drink some Adult Pops.

So by the time we arrived we shot right into the VIP area which was fenced off at which time we decided to find a spot to sit! In the VIP area was two Huge ass Birch trees obstructing the view to the stage. For the record these Birch Trees would become pretty good company as the weekend rolled on…

The pic posted above is the stage that the Blues Festival is used! Low to the ground is my issue with this stage. On the left side of the picture those are indeed the Birch Trees that I got fairly acquainted with back in 2013 and Yup,the trees  are still there!

Since it was nice out on the Friday. Suzi and moi decided to watch he show from the front of the stage. Back in 2013 the VIP section was on the left side of the stage. Anyhoo we watched this band from Chicago called The Steepwater Band which basically blew off Headliners Collective Soul by a mile. Collective Soul phoned it in.

At 11pm show was over and we hoped the Transit Home….

DAY 2/Saturday….

Rain or should I say a ton of it was in the forecast for this day and the Weather Gods delivered upon their promise as by the time Los Lonely boys played it was a crazy steady downpour and the field became a huge muck pit. We hunkered down in the VIP tent so we were dry our feet were soaked but no biggie its July for Gods sake! By the time the  headliners Los Lobos hit the stage it was a straight downpour of rain as many in the general audience had split as getting pounded with rain for 3 straight hours at that point can wear on ya….Lobos were cool to see and even local boy Paul Schaffer jammed with them at the beginning of the show…

DAY 3/Sunday…

Rain was still in the forecast and here’s where my bitchin soars, So we get there and well Hello again Birch Trees. For this day we decided to make a straight go of it in the VIP section. Here’s my list of squabbles…

1- The volunteers were hung out to dry as there was no snacks! None! The story I was given was the Chip Truck no showed. This was brutal how the Organizers handled this as they weren’t around and the snacks were just little chip bags….Joke!

2- The Birch Tree blocked our view all weekend. It was a running joke between me and Suzi. Now your may be thinking to yourself “Deke’s why didn’t you just move !” Sure I could but out of respect to people already there I would block there view….

3- We were in the VIP when a bunch of hot meals showed up and someone asked “Is this for the VIPs?” Nope came the reply it’s for the Local business that was the main sponsor!” Wrong on all accounts… Do the greasing of the palms somewhere else!

4-Obstructed Stage View! Ok,so we pay for the VIP and not only are the birch trees blocking my view but now there’s stage gear as well blocking it. Put it this way. When Kim Mitchell was playing if I moved my chair to the left I could see Kim but not see the drummer. If I moved to the right I could see the drummer but not Kim! Make sense? But if I was out in front I could see the whole band but I’m in the Fuckin VIP and I can only see half the show…EPIC FAIL! By the way Kim’s voice was shot and he did not sing anything as Bassist Peter Fredette sang all the songs as Akimbo wailed on his 6 string…

Fast Forward to 2014 and when the Tix go on sale I send an email to the Organizers and one fellow who shall go nameless responded and man I wish I would have kept them as he blew so much smoke up my ass it made me cough!

All those points above that  I had mentioned how disappointed I was in how they handled the VIP…

Here’s what MR Nameless told me…along with my responses in about 4 or 5 emails that were sent between us…

1-They had no idea they ran out of chips(yeah ok!) and that would not be an issue moving forward.

2-The city cemented the stage(which it is) and basically the Birch Trees are staying. HAHAHA….

3- Hot Meals were indeed provided for the sponsors which I retorted with a do it somewhere else. No need to flaunt in front of everyone. Do it somewhere else on site! Do your schmoozing elsewhere!

4- Mr Nameless also told me that it was the bands that played that had more gear added and blah blah blah…Ok Pal….Figure this stuff out beforehand!

5-THIS FOLKS IS MY FAVOURITE ONE….I asked how come VIP seats usually mean at the front of the stage not on the side? I told him he should loosen his tie along with the other stooges and take a drive down to the States and see how a real VIP Section is run!

Mr Nameless totally ignored that last sentence but he did tell me that “People prefer to show up early wait in line and get the best seat possible!”

This has to be the dumbest comment I had ever read or heard..seriously show up 4 hours early when you have VIP and wait with everyone?? Not happening I’ll take my chances with the Birch Tree thanks….

6-Told me that since I’m a music fan that I would probably enjoy the show out in the General Audience. In other words he was politely telling me to Fuck Off! HAHAHAHA….

So this year I’m going back for the first time since 2013! I really don’t want to but I like the acts this year like Kim Mitchell/Big Sugar/Sam Roberts/Alan Doyle/BNL/Randy Bachman.

I’m going with an open mind and I may ask a few people who did pay for the VIP is it worth it? Investigative Reporting here friends!

I know with this show being down by the Waterfront it draws huge business to the local bars/pubs and clubs like Frank who owns/operates Crocks! (see Frank another plug for ya!)



Good luck to those this year that are paying for it!

Technically the Organisers of this event are having the last laugh as I’m handing over $ to go and see this festival. Even when we went to get my tickets Suzi Q said “Are you still sure you want to do this?!” Haha…

The real organised cool run Fort Fest is a no go which is a shame as The Cult/Tom Keifer and others were a real score for this town last year. Fort Fest is run like a professional Show! Great view/Cheap Tickets/Cheap Beers/Ton of Shitters and a Huge Bar! Fort Fest is the reason I hadn’t gone to any Blues Fest’s in this town but now I’m Left with no choice! Fort Fest will be missed and I’ve had a few of my Readers here in TBay ask me about Fort Fest….

I did hear that the VIP at Bluesfest has fenced off seating in the front of the stage now….HAHAHAHA……

I shall report with followup Post!

Stay Tuned!


12 thoughts on “Birch Trees & V.I.P!”

    1. Thanks dude…
      Yeah Akimbo said his throat was shot from a cold so Pete did all the singing that day….
      Akimbo just shredded Rock Guitar like only he can….

      Liked by 1 person

    1. YES SIR….i shall enjoy those R.C Mags….they look amazing..going to review them as well…So good. Love those old Kerrang Rock Writers. Best in the business….


  1. I kinda had a preview of this story, but reading it again now I get that same sense of indignation and “what a bunch of loonies” out of it. Seriously, you were right to complain.

    Blogcation is a good idea. I like that a lot! Enjoy your time off!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Or maybe you could say that from your PERCH, the BIRCH left you in the LURCH, prompting you to BESMIRCH the festival! They should have done their RESEARCH. You didn’t even buy a t-shirt… nope, no MERCH for you! Not exactly a religious, CHURCH-like experience.

    And now I wish they had been LARCH trees (thank you, Monty Python). 🙂

    I need more coffeeeee wooooo!


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