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ANGEL FORREST – THIS SATURDAY! AWARD-WINNING BLUES SINGER PERFORMS AT TORONTO’S OPERA HOUSE

Make sure you have your tickets for this Saturday’s special concert starring 4-time Maple Blues Award-winning singer ANGEL FORREST at The Opera House, 735 Queen St East in Toronto, with special guest roots/blues singer/songwriter Rob Lutes who will be joined by longtime accompanist, acclaimed Quebec guitarist Rob MacDonald.2015-08-07 14.46.01With a career spanning 3 decades and recipient of the Maple Blues Award for Female Vocalist of the Year four consecutive years (2013- 2016), the Quebec-based blues belter will perform songs from her 2016 album, Angel’s 11, and other original award-winning tunes.10653983_786074004790703_1594050487_nI’ve been singing all kinds of music – folk, rock, country – but the blues fits me well. I love the freedom of the blues, you know no rules – you feel it…you sing it… you share it.  – Angel Forrest

Combining masterful song writing with her partner and on-stage collaborator, Denis Coulombe, Angel has also proven her worth as a tunesmith with songs ranging from blues to rock to jazz.  There is no question that Angel Forrest is one of the most powerful singers on the contemporary blues scene today. The strength of her performances, her distinctive voice and fiery personality has allowed her to conquer the hearts of thousands of fans around the world.live
ANGEL FORREST – with special guest Rob Lutes
Saturday June 10 @ 9pm (doors open 8pm)
THE OPERA HOUSE, 735 Queen St. E., Toronto
Tkts: $27.00  Available at the door or in advance from www.TicketFly.com

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HANGING PAINTINGS WITH JOHNY DELUNA

25+ large paintings were hung at the Art Square Gallery last night – Toronto contemporary artist JOHNY DELUNA is getting ready for his Thursday (June 8, 6-9pm) opening reception of his solo show “Spontaneous Levitation” so I spent some time with him as he measured and moved, then measured again all his spectacular works. I snapped a few pics of close-up details (see below) from several of his paintings which illustrate the textural quality of his work with raised dots of paint with multiple colours – very hard to achieve and extremely time-consuming.20170605_190559 20170605_190611 20170605_182852And I love some of the mythical creatures and people who dance across the canvases….20170605_183058 20170605_183111 20170605_192137And who doesn’t love galloping giraffes (below) in a windswept land and seascape?20170605_182830As Johny was busy up the ladder, a young man came in obviously intrigued with what was going on…he was soon chatting with Johny about the paintings and the stories behind each one.20170605_191657 20170605_192400Hopefully you are also intrigued and will join Johny at Art Square Gallery, 334 Dundas St West, Toronto (opp. the Art Gallery of Ontario) this Thursday Jun.8th 6-9pm. Spontaneous Levitation runs until June 19th so if you can’t make it this week, you have another week to catch these wild and provocative paintings.

Here are some of the comments from Johny’s previous solo art show….come add your own observations and kudos.20170605_192001 20170605_192032_001 20170605_192048

 

John painting closeup

TORONTO ARTIST JOHNY DELUNA READY TO LAUNCH SOLO SHOW “SPONTANEOUS LEVITATION” THIS THURSDAY

With a final few brushstrokes left and the selection of which painting goes where on the gallery walls, Toronto contemporary artist JOHNY DELUNA is just a few days away from launching his exciting new solo show, “Spontaneous Levitation”, at the Art Square Gallery, 334 Dundas St West (opp. the AGO).

I caught up with Johny over the weekend and asked him to share some last-minute thoughts on his new show….

As your solo show, Spontaneous Levitation, draws closer, how many new works of art will be represented at the show?  I will be showing about 10 new works from this year and about 15 works from prior years.img442From where have you drawn inspiration for these new canvases?  The genesis of most paintings starts with one small event or observation My inspirations come from observations of the human condition.  I try to depict the fragility of our lives, the unusual effects of random events, the consequences of our behavior.  It seems that issues rarely disappear they simply re-emerge in a modified form. I want to articulate these ideas in a new and fresh way, so I let the work express itself intuitively. Sometimes I don’t recognize the finished piece as mine. (No Free Lunch, below).No Free Lunch 36x48Can you share the story behind one or two of these new masterworks? The piece titled Eating Spaghetti With Scissors (below) is based on our need to add unnecessary complexity to our lives. Perhaps this complexity gives us comfort, the feeling that our life is richer and better.  I think we mistake motion with progress and quantity with quality.  When we can’t answer an important question with a straight answer, we fake it with circuitous logic. We vigorously defend this opinion with a mind numbing jumble of half baked ‘truths’, opinions, rumors and petty biases. We end up ‘going to the wall’ defending these opinions; opinions that that we don’t fully understand ourselves.Eating Spaghetti With Scissors acrylic on canvas 34 x 48What would you like gallery visitors to come away with after viewing your work?  I hope people will find the show to be very fresh, humorous and thought-provoking.  I hope the works will speak to each person in their own way. I hope visitors will encourage their friends to visit the show as well.art squCome meet Johny at his opening reception and view his provocative large-format paintings (acrylic on canvas) this Thursday June 8th (6-9pm) at Art Square Gallery, 334 Dundas St West, Toronto. Show runs until June 19th.

 

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I VISIT THE ANNUAL RIVERDALE ARTWALK IN TORONTO

So nice to catch up with old artist friends and check out their new works when I dropped by the annual RIVERDALE ARTWALK at Jimmy Simpson Park along Queen St East today. I was also pleased to discover some exciting new painters I’d never seen before, several of whom came in from Mississauga – is there a secret arts community out there we don’t know about? Boy, are they ever talented out west!! For instance, Neerja Trehan (below) whose bright canvases drew me in to the first booth I encountered upon arriving.  www.NeerjaTrehan.com20170603_122048 20170603_122213I then turned the corner and wandered down the second aisle and who did I find? The amazing Mark J. Gleberzon www.mjggallery.com who was happy to pose with his customized skateboard. Always a joy to see Mark and his work…one day I hope to acquire a piece for my own modest art collection.20170603_122406(0)Here’s Kate Taylor who just got back from various art shows around the world.  www.katetaylorstudio.com  She brought some of her well-traveled art pieces to the show today…again, another artist I hope to include in my personal collection one day!20170603_122540 20170603_122549Dear Rea Kelly…she always greets me with open arms and a warm hug! Love her big, bold and bright florals (below) www.reakelly.com20170603_122752Another exciting new discovery for me was Josee Duranleau (below) who uses found images and photographs from bygone eras then applies her own paint and vision to them. www.joseeduranleau.com   Her stunning “Queen of the Catwalk” (3rd pic below) glittered and shimmered in today’s sunlight.20170603_123114(0)20170603_123325 20170603_123420And I found Laird McMurray‘s exquisite tiny fishing flies with illustrations charming and innovative (below) and perfect for Dad’s Day gifting. He was busy greeting clients and art fans (bottom pic, left) so hopefully he won’t have too much to pack up and take home on Sunday! Just wish he had a dedicated website to share more of his work.20170603_123708 20170603_123729Julia McNeely posed proudly with her wee beasties (below) …don’t you just love the big chicken? You can find more of her work on her Facebook page: www.facebook.com/julia.mcneely20170603_123943Christopher Masoure is another of the Mississauga contingent – here he is with potential buyers (below).  His stark large-format paintings are stunning in close-up. Check out his work for yourself at www.studiomasoure.com 20170603_124209 20170603_124513Margaret Horvat‘s paintings of beautiful blooms were such a lovely surprise…and she also hails from out west, too…..well, Burlington, at least! www.margarethorvat.com  Here she is (below) in her garden of art!20170603_124343And here’s the always-smiling Morgan Jones who offered such a lovely warm welcome to his booth. He has a number of new “travelling gnomes” pieces…so cute! You can view his gnomes and many other images on his website: www.morganjonesart.com20170603_124552(0)Cape-Cod-150x150Ian Busher always surprises me and here he is (below) with a whole new series of colourful geometric paintings. I’m a proud owner of one of his woodland creature artworks so I’m a little biased about this artist – I think he’s fab! www.studiobusher.com20170603_124640W. Stephen Cooper (below) is always makes me feel so welcome at his booth. His photographic artwork of abandoned old junkers always pleases the eye. His work inspired me to snap the various old trucks down at the Distillery District. www.wstephencooper.com20170603_125051Jamie MacLean was busy with customers so I didn’t disturb him, but I did check out his latest works. I first met him earlier this year at The Artist Project. Next week, he’ll be up at the Rosedale Art Fair so you can see his stunning tree paintings in person. jamiemacleanfineart.bigcartel.com 20170603_12524920170603_125342I just love young Robert Strickland‘s bold florals (below).  Big peonies, delicate roses and other glorious buds and blooms painted in the old-school tradition but with a definite edge. Keep an eye on this artist… www.robertstricklandart.com 20170603_125909 20170603_125918Sheila Thompson (below, in white) is another artist whose work intrigues me…she works in felt & fibre and adds special touches to each piece, like a porcupine quill. As her business cards say…”warm your walls”!  www.sheilathompson.ca 20170603_13013320170603_13021620170603_130251Elena Balkos showed off her large format photography of exotic beaches, and of course I headed straight for the one behind her to the right – it’s of the Algarve region of Portugal which I consider my “spiritual home”. Bravo, Elena – they’re all gorgeous, esp. those of your own home, Greece.  www.elenabalkos.com20170603_131141(0)So here she is….the one and only Nancy Bennett! Nancy and I worked together waaaay back in the late 70’s and it’s been so nice to reconnect and see what each of us has been up to since then. Nancy’s created quite the wonderful artistic life for herself and here she is (below) entertaining more old friends from her school days!  www.nancybennett.ca  20170603_131649(0) 20170603_131744Another new artist for me, Nadia Lassman (below) showed off her cool, calming impressionist-inspired works inside the park’s adjoining community centre. A former lawyer, Nadia is now a full-time artist showcasing her work here, in Miami, Scottsdale and New York. Bravo, Nadia, I love your work!  www.nadialassmanart.com20170603_132114(0)Also inside the community centre, I found Rob Croxford and his humourous Toronto-centric critter posters, as well as lots of fun word-play smalls, robots and vintage pin-up girl pieces. Rob was making lots of sales so I had to wait several minutes to grab him for this quick pic….congrats on another successful show, Rob!  www.robcroxford.com20170603_132813 20170603_132933 20170603_132534 20170603_132926

Riverdale Artwalk is open again tomorrow (Sunday June 4) but it looks like rain so take your umbrellas. The artists will all be there so come out and support them and take home a little framed memory, too. 20170603_130918For more information about this show and other upcoming events, visit www.artistsnetwork.ca20170603_130746

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URBAN SOURCE CATERING DELIVERS ANOTHER GREAT MENU FOR INSIDE OUT FILM FEST PARTY-GOERS

As the annual Inside Out LGBT Film Festival winds down, the parties are still going strong and last night, URBAN SOURCE CATERING made sure everyone was well-fed at the “Behind the Curtain: Todrick Hall Pink Carpet” soiree held at the Artscape Sandbox venue in downtown Toronto.  There were lots of tasty Moroccan beef sirloin hors d’oeuvres (above), veggie samosas and smoked salmon on wild rice cakes(below) …..20170602_185208 20170602_19052720170602_191810 20170602_191215…and Jerk Prawns and Chicken Rendang skewers (above), all of which were gobbled up by appreciative guests.  The deelish gourmet mac-n-cheese (below)were a big hit with the guests.20170602_191206…and the guests had fun at the wacky photo booth – wonder what digital background was being added..hmmm?20170602_190135Meet our Executive Chef Lyndon Wiebe (below L) with his trusty kitchen staff who kept the food coming!20170602_192724I also had fun over at the bar where I found these upside down glasses reflecting all the colours of the event space lights and people’s outfits.20170602_190315If you would like to have your party or corporate event catered by Urban Source Catering, please visit their website for menu ideas:  www.urbancatering.comUS-LOGO

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URBAN SOURCE CATERING DELIVERS THE YUM @ INSIDE OUT FILM FEST GALA EVENT

Last night (Tues. May 30), my culinary friends at URBAN SOURCE CREATIVE CATERING tickled the tastebuds of some 150 guests at the Inside Out/Toronto LGBT Film Festival Centrepiece Gala Reception presented at the Artscape Sandbox in downtown Toronto. And oh boy, did they ever deliver some delicious treats ….20170530_183845 20170530_183837 20170530_183849The cheerful and efficient Inside Out volunteer waiters were barely out of the kitchen door before guests reached out for the trays of hors d’oeuvres…and yes, the wild blue and pink lighting created some pretty funky effects!20170530_184045 20170530_18510820170530_190950(0) 20170530_184932…so I ambushed the serving crew as they exited the kitchen to get more “normal” lighting…LOL!20170530_194842 20170530_192542 20170530_192556The shrimp were a big hit, especially with this excited guest (below)20170530_185133 20170530_185248The fabulous well-stocked bar was provided by Stud Vodka and Inside Out, offering wine, beer and smart cocktails served by bartenders who were always on the lookout for thirsty party-goers….20170530_184147Lots of fun, food and photo opps for all….20170530_191904 20170530_185138 20170530_19321720170530_184034Wayne from Urban Catering posed at the photo wall with colleague Cybele (below) in between schmoozing with guests and Festival organizers …..20170530_185434Inside Out/Toronto LGBT Film Festival runs to June 4th in downtown Toronto and you can learn more about the films, filmmakers and social activities at www.insideout.ca 20170530_194343Congratulations on a job well done, Urban Source Catering…your food and kitchen staff were terrific. For more details on Urban’s menus and special events catering, please visit: www.urbancatering.com 

All gone….no more….go home!

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I VISIT MY NEXT DOOR NEIGHBOUR – ST PAUL’S on BLOOR STREET FOR “DOORS OPEN TORONTO”

Each year, Toronto hosts a special weekend called “Doors Open” where we can visit beautiful buildings around the city that are normally closed to the public such as offices, law courts, architectural treasures and places of worship. I’m fortunate to live next door to one very special building: St Paul’s Anglican church which is one of the largest parish churches in N. America. When I entered, the organist was practicing – take a listen here…

During today’s special tour, visitors got to see some of the most gorgeous stained glass windows in Canada, many depicting heroic WWI stories and in fact, one of the windows was made from the glass fragments found around some 70 destroyed churches and buildings in Belgium, France and Italy.20170527_112002 20170527_11304620170527_112224Around the walls of the massive interior were many plaques and memorials dedicated to past parishioners who had lost their lives fighting in Europe….20170527_112444 20170527_113244…and the incredible wooden carvings of angels were breathtaking…20170527_112612Not a lot of people ever look up when they visit such venues but I always do (you never know what cool things you can spy up above) and I’m so glad I did…check out these awesome state-of-the-art fans in this video. They look old-school to fit in but are actually brand new….

20170527_111902 20170527_113058 20170527_112542 20170527_112647The marble altar (above) shows the Last Supper – it’s so beautiful and is flanked on either side by historic figures from the first World War. There is just one female depicted in the carvings and statuary…Florence Nightingale!  I found another beautiful window behind the altar screen (below). I could have stood there for an hour enjoying all the intricacies in this little window and the marble carvings in front….20170527_112954Next month marks the 175th anniversary of the founding of St Paul’s and to commemorate the occasion, a special craft lager has been created, the St Paul’s CLXXV, which will be available in 6-packs for a limited time only following their June 11th anniversary service. Considering the church’s reputation for warm hospitality and sharing food and drink, I can’t think of a better way to celebrate!

If you’d like to learn more about this fine church and the wonderful work they do, please visit: www.stpaulsbloor.orgSt Pauls

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PETER HARRIS UNVEILS NEW PAINTINGS IN “EVENING WITH HOPPER” SOLO SHOW @ MIRA GODARD GALLERY IN YORKVILLE

While the rest of the city appeared to have “taken off” for the long Victoria Day weekend, I spent Saturday afternoon dropping in on some of the art galleries in the Yorkville neighbourhood. So nice to have such beauty and talent on my doorstep and the MIRA GODARD GALLERY at 22 Hazelton Avenue did not disappoint – I was lucky to find their current exhibiting artist PETER HARRIS at the gallery for a meet-n-greet. 20170520_134500Peter (pictured above) proudly showed off his intimate views of building entrances and night windows inspired by Edward Hopper’s iconic 1942 “Nighthawks” painting of a New York diner late at night. Many of the images are recognizable Toronto views but I really liked this one (below) which is based on a New York City art deco era building – if you look thru the lobby you can even see another Hopper-inspired painting represented in the reception area.Lobby_Entrance-NY_Office_w

As a landscape painter, I strive to create images that connect viewers to their immediate surroundings. While my work is situated in the present, it often invokes artists from the past whose paintings linger in our collective memory and influence how we think about the landscape. Edward Hopper and Lawren Harris are two such artists whose iconic imagery still resonates, and whose reputation casts a long shadow over all artists working within the genre. In the exhibition Evening with Hopper I began by meticulously recreating their historical paintings in miniature and framing them within current urban architecture. I wanted their historical depictions to be subsumed by the modern, acknowledging the power of their legacy while challenging their continued relevancy to a contemporary audience. – Peter Harris, 2017Entrance_at_668-Mtn_Landscape_sRedVestibule-ChopSuey_sAnother fave of mine is this interior of an elevator (below) – who would think that this interior space would make such a great painting subject? Just look at the metallic finishes and the light reflections…wow!Level_3_(Icebergs)_sMany of the paintings already have little red dots attached to their labels – the sign of a sale! The show continues until Sat. May 27th so I recommend you visit the gallery a.s.a.p. to see these exquisite works of art for yourself.  Visit the gallery’s website for hours & directions and you can see more of Peter’s work online – but much better to see them in person to experience the overwhelming effect of each canvas. Thank you for supporting Canadian artists!miragodardgalleryfront

Mira Godard Gallery, 22 Hazelton Ave, Toronto      www.godardgallery.com

(with exception of 1st two photos, all images courtesy of Mira Godard Gallery)

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TORONTO’S INSIDE OUT FILM FESTIVAL SPONSOR PARTY HOSTED @ URBAN SOURCE CATERING & URBAN GALLERY

My friends at URBAN SOURCE CATERING did themselves proud last night when they treated the sponsors and corporate partners of the Inside Out Film Festival to a medley of tasty treats and refreshing party cocktails and wines.20170517_184957Below, Urban Source Catering’s co-owner Wayne Abell welcomed the Festival’s newly appointed Exec. Director, Andria Wilson, to URBAN GALLERY… 
20170517_174316…and Andria, in turn, welcomed Inside Out’s special guests to the pre-Festival launch party such as Kelly from RBC (below R with Brad Campbell, Dir. of Corp. Sales for the fest).20170517_174449Andria got busy with social media postings along with colleagues Clayton and Andrew (LtoR, below)20170517_174713Delicious bite-sized treats were served along with wine, cocktails and non-alcoholic bevvies by the catering staff below)20170517_175001 20170517_174119Andria enjoyed a few nibblies with the guests…20170517_175103(0)…and enjoyed the festivities with colleagues Winnie Luk (below L), the Dir. of Operations & Events, and Andrew Murphy (below R) Dir. of Programming.20170517_180533Then it was time for the presentation and teaser trailer of upcoming festival films20170517_181059 20170517_181136 20170517_181347Congrats to Marketing & Outreach Mgr, Clayton Lee (below R) and tech assistant CJ (L) for helping present the video.20170517_182738Brad’s assistant, Nick (below R) posed for a quick snapshot with Festival Coordinator Jayne Schneider (L) in front of photographic art being featured in this year’s CONTACT show at Urban Gallery…20170517_184027…and below, gallery owner Calvin Hambrook lined up the guests for even more photo opps.20170517_185644As many guests observed, the table decorations were elegant and colourful…20170517_185057 20170517_185113If you’d like to learn more about the Inside Out Film Festival and see this year’s line-up of LGBTQ-focused films, please visit their website: www.insideout.ca

And if you’d like to learn more about the fabulous catering offered by Urban Source Catering and the exquisite adjoining venue available for corporate & private rentals, Urban Gallery, please visit their websites:  www.urbancatering.comwww.urbangallery.ca

Urban Gallery is located at 400 Queen St East, Toronto (just 1 block E of Parliament) with street and lot parking close by.IMG_5575

 

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CANADIAN BLUES DIVA ANGEL FORREST TO PERFORM JUNE 10 @ TORONTO’S OPERA HOUSE

Four-time Maple Blues Award-winning singer ANGEL FORREST (below) is bringing her band to town next month, along with special guest roots/blues singer/songwriter Rob Lutes who will be joined by longtime accompanist, acclaimed Quebec guitarist Rob MacDonald.liveThe concert is scheduled for Saturday June 10th (9pm) at Toronto’s Opera House located at 735 Queen St. East with tickets available from www.TicketFly.com ($27).

With a career spanning 3 decades and recipient of the Maple Blues Award for Female Vocalist of the Year four consecutive years (2013- 2016), the Quebec blues belter will perform songs from her 2016 album, Angel’s 11, and other original award-winning tunes.FOR ROLL UP 5Well known in the Canadian blues scene, Angel has performed at major Canadian & int’l festivals including the Int’l Jazz Festival of Montreal, Tremblant Blues Festival, Blues sur Seine, and many others. She has also shared the stage with renowned artists such as Jarvis Church, Burton Cummings, Thornetta Davis, Larry McCray, and legendary Brit Blues singer & frontman of The Animals – Eric Burdon. 418538_312621102135998_46713693_nI’ve been singing all kinds of music – folk, rock, country – but the blues fits me well. I love the freedom of the blues, you know no rules – you feel it…you sing it… you share it. – Angel Forrest2015-08-07 14.46.01Combining masterful song writing with her partner and on-stage collaborator, Denis Coulombe, Angel has also proven her worth as a tunesmith with songs ranging from blues to rock to jazz.  There is no question that Angel Forrest is one of the most powerful singers on the contemporary blues scene today. The strength of her performances, her distinctive voice and fiery personality has allowed her to conquer the hearts of thousands of fans around the world.12525604_10201430403679985_6715752695770821177_oI recently chatted with Angel, asking her about her love of the blues, her inspirations and her upcoming projects:

Which artists have inspired you throughout your life, and why?  Robert Plant, Mavis Staples, Bonnie Raitt…and Janis Joplin, of course.  It’s all about emotion and honesty, and delivering the goods in a way that you and the audience walk away moved in one way or another.

What was the inspiration for your recent album, Angel’s 11?  The number 11 is very big in my life – I wanted to document the last 30 years by showcasing some of the amazing guitarists (my favorite instrument) with whom I’ve have worked and who have inspired me to become the singer I am today.wing logo good32WITH NAMES-What’s next for Angel Forrest? Another big tour, another album, any collaborations?  Touring all summer – I just got a new tour bus “Maggie” and will be riding in her most of the summer across the States and Canada. But I’m also going out west and then to France (by plane, not Maggie!). I’m also writing a new album with Denis my husband, this time a country duo record – amongst everything else he does, he also sings like an angel!poster maybe2

Get your tickets now as Angel’s show is sure to sell out fast.
ANGEL FORREST
with special guest Rob Lutes
June 10 @ 9pm
THE OPERA HOUSE
735 Queen St. E., Toronto
Tkts: $27.00
Available in advance from TicketFly.com16195031_997338157068244_7632607387835110087_n

WHAT THE MUSIC INDUSTRY & MEDIA SAYS ABOUT ANGEL FORREST

“A Canadian blues-belting national treasure….”  Midwest Record

“Forrest pulls the perfect vocal treatment out of the bag every time….”   100 Percent Rock Magazine

“…she has a fine set of pipes…”  ZeitgeistMagazine UK

“One of the more powerful singers on the Blues Rock scene today”  – John Vermilyea, Blues Underground Network

“Forrest has captivated audiences with her charismatic stage presence & powerful voice…” –  Montreal Jazz Festival

“Angel Forrest’s fiery red hair and whisky-smoked voice has made her instantly recognizable throughout her career. One of the most powerful singers on the contemporary blues scene…”  – Arts Commons

“Angel’s blues-drenched and soulful performances have made her a fan favourite at the Festival….”  –  Tremblant Blues Festival