The Nanaimo Summertime Blues Festival returns to the harbour city each year highlighting a long list of top musicians from across Vancouver Island – many of whom are international stars in their own right – this incredible event will showcase some of the very best in Blues.

To learn more about this rockin’ festival, we contacted Gerold Haukenfrers from the Nanaimo Blues Society to ask some questions. Here is what we found out:

About the Blues

We asked Gerold, “what about the blues is so awesome?”
This is what he had to say:

“Blues music is the foundation of Rock & Roll. It has been around since the late 1800’s and has a remarkable history.”

Ultimately, Gerold believes that the “blues comes from the heart.”

He says that there is “always a story to tell,” and in his opinion song can be one of the best ways to do this.

The Nanaimo Blues Scene

What about the Nanaimo Blues?

“Nanaimo has long been a hotbed for music,” says Gerold. And although this is a fast-growing festival, the Nanaimo Blues Festival remains unique and intimate.

What’s it like to attend the festival?

“All you need to enjoy a fantastic lineup of bands is to bring your lawn chairs, sunscreen, blankets, perhaps a picnic basket of goodies, and kick back and listen to more than 18 acts on the open-air stage in Maffeo Sutton Park.”

We suggest hitting up Mclean’s Specialty Foods in the Old City Quarter for a great selection of sandwich meats, cheeses, and more.
Pick up a funky beach blanket at Lucid or Island-ish.

Because of the nature of a boutique festival like this, there is ample opportunity to “get up close and personal with the performers. Dancing is a highlight for blues fans, and there will be lots of dancing room directly in front of the stage.”

Looking for something groovy to wear? Check out Funk Your Fashion on Commercial Street, in Downtown Nanaimo.

Looking for something flowy to show off your moves and style, look to Quintessential, Cayo, or the previously mentioned Lucid and Island-ish for some awesome apparel.

Alcohol is also permitted to be consumed throughout the entire venue, rather than being restricted to a ‘Beer Garden’. “This makes for a very relaxed time,” says Gerold

Before & After The Festival

Gerold said that the best way to get the most out of the Summertime Blues Festival is to “come early & stay late.”

With a soft opening on Thursday night and three nights of late night jams, there is always something happening.

The soft opening and the kick off to the festival will take place on Thursday evening at Maffeo Sutton Park; the gates will open at 7:00 pm.

One thing to note is that the opening night is “a fundraiser for the local Loaves & Fishes Food Bank; suggested admission is $10 or the equivalent in non-perishable food items.”

This night will feature the ‘Queens Shuffle’ which showcases the musicians that will later grace the stage at the Sunday Afternoon Blues Jams. On Friday, Saturday, and Sunday nights head over to The Queens, for a late night jam session. Feel free to ask the bartenders about some local brews.

Note: The Queens regularly hosts a Blues Jam on Sunday nights. So, if you can’t make the festival you can still experience some great tunes on your own time.

For More Info…

For more information, check out the festival website at

— Written by Curtis Havekotte