OTTAWA — A landmark Ottawa summer festival is set to get underway Friday, with a different look.

Preparations were underway Thursday at Place des Festivals at the Zibi site in Gatineau for #Canadaperforms at the RBC Bluesfest Drive-in.

Ottawa Bluesfest has teamed up with the National Arts Centre to present a drive-in version of the popular summer music festival.

“Even though we’re used to putting on concerts, it’s very different, and it took a lot of innovative ideas and a lot of initiative of our team to pull this off,” said Mike Rouleau, director of operations for Bluesfest.

This year’s event is not only taking on a new look, but also a new venue. The concerts will take place at Place des Festivals at Zibi in Gatineau.

“You’re gonna expect a line to get in, we’re going to scan your ticket and we’re going to move you through the park, hopefully in an efficient manor, park you in a designated spot, where you can see the stage and the screens, and then the music’s gonna start,” said Rouleau.

As participants watch the show from their cars, they’ll be asked to stay inside, unless they’re heading to the washroom or getting a snack.

Organizers are also encouraging people to bring their own food to minimize contact due to COVID-19.

Getting involved in the show

While participants will be staying in their cars, artists say they should still be prepared to get involved in the show.

“We did talk about crowd interaction for this type of thing, and we’re like instead of hand claps, we’re going to get people to beep horns and slam their doors, stuff like that,” said Frank Kadillac and Adrian Morris from Neon Dreams.

The Canadian alt-pop duo is set to hit the stage for opening night Friday and said they’re exciting to play in front of a crowd again.

“I think this is a time where we all need to be uplifting, and that’s kind of a big message behind our music, and we hope we can translate that live during something like this,” the duo said.

Organizers said the concerts will be taking place on two stages alternating back and forth to allow for cleaning and a quick turnaround.

“As soon as one band is over, maybe a minute or two minutes later, the next band is gonna kick-up and go,” said Rouleau.

Anyone looking to head to Bluesfest this weekend is being asked to purchase tickets ahead of time.

Tickets are available online at OttawaBluesfest.ca