OTTAWA—Tearing a page from the book of Ottawa Bluesfest festival director Mark Monahan, the organizers of Jazzfest have made a last-minute announcement that geriatric heavy metal act Iron Maiden will be this year’s headline finale.
Executive Director Catherine O’Grady was direct about the abrupt turn from tried and true. “There are no giants in the modern jazz landscape. If you ask people today who John Coltrane is, they think it’s that actor who played Hagrid in the Harry Potter movies.The biggest of the ‘big’ names we had this year were a white bluesman, an ancient funk R&B group, and a comedian with a banjo,” she said, referring to Colin James, Earth Wind & Fire, and Steve Martin, respectively. “What can I say? I cracked.”
Uncharacteristically long bouts of rain have drowned out attendance this year, so it’s conceivable that few will notice the genre shakeup, but survivors of Tuesday’s torrential downpour seemed heartened by O’Grady’s announcement.
“At least the pyrotechnics will keep us warm and dry,” one said.
Photo: adels, flickr