On a hot Sunday in July, crowds gravitate towards a main stage, a few feet away from Blues on Whyte, on a section of Whyte Avenue that’s shut down for the day. Once known as Takin’ it to the Streets, this is the Blues on Whyte Block Party. On stage, a range of sounds from Scottish bagpipes, to electric guitars and drums, to powerful vocals can be heard, like that of Canadian bagpipe-rock band, Johnny Mccuaig.
Unexpected blends of sounds are part of the melodious surprise of not only the blues, but the blends of music, from folk and rockabilly to rock, that pass through Blues on Whyte. “We don’t only play blues music; we play a mix of everything,” says Denton Morrell, general manager.
Freedom of sound is connected to a belief in artistic integrity. “We let the artists play what they want, because we don’t want to restrict them,” says Denton. “We don’t want to restrict their art.”