Southside Shuffle and Ribfest Coming to Mississauga

If you're a big blues lover -- or just excited that Port Credit is about to experience the much-anticipated annual festival that's exclusive to Mississauga -- you are in luck! The Tim Hortons Southside Shuffle Annual Blues and BBQ Festival is set to kick off tomorrow (well, kind of today, but more on that in a bit).

The event, now in its 18th year, is a three-day outdoor music festival held in Port Credit. Although it's known for attracting acclaimed blues acts from around the world, it's kicking things up a notch this year with a brand new Ribfest element (hence the name change to “Annual Blues and BBQ Festival”).

The festival, which will begin on Friday, Sept. 9 and run until Sunday, Sept. 11, will feature over 140 Canadian and international blues musicians, including The Community Soul Project, the Joel Johnston Band, Johnny Rawls and more. You can actually see a full schedule of performances here.

As for the festival's newest element, meat-loving musical aficionados might be pleased to know that event will, for the very first time, offer attendees a small-scale Ribfest. The two BBQ joints participating in the event are Bad Wolf Barbecue and Tennessee Fatbacks. The award-winning, Ontario-based Bad Wolf Barbecue originally hails from Kansas City (so its got some clout as far as red meat is concerned) and has been working the Northern U.S. and Canadian Ribfest circuit for 16 years.

Tennessee Fatbacks hails from Tennessee (naturally!) and boasts "houndog hushpuppies" that are inspired by Elvis (who, don't forget, also called Tennessee home) and feature two secret Elvis ingredients.

Although the festival officially kicks off on Friday, there is an event (tickets are still available) happening at the Royal Canadian Legion Branch 82 tonight (Sept. 8) at 7:00 p.m. So, if you want your blues fix this evening, you can check out the Beggars Blues Banquet. Hosted by The Hogtown Allstars, the event will feature performances by Maple Blues and Juno-award winning musicians and appearances by David Vest, Joe Murphy and Chris Gill. There will also be a southern-style buffet. Tickets for tonight's event cost $70 (cash only) and can be purchased at Impressionable Gifts at 74 Lakeshore Rd.E.

Attendees can also visit the Mississauga Blues & Roots Jamstage on Friday, Sept 9 and Saturday, Sept. 10. That event, hosted by the Gary Kendall Band, will run from 10:00 p.m. to 2:30 a.m. on both nights and will also take place at the Legion. Admission will be $5 at the door.

As for the rest of the event, most major performances will take place at Port Credit Memorial Park at the festival's four mainstages. The stages include the Sab Memorial Stage, the Mississippi/Dawg FM stage, the Enersource Fresh Baked Blues Stage and the Investors Group First Nations/Acoustic Stage. The first two stages are ticketed and close to fully licensed Mill Street Beer Gardens and wine bars. If you're visiting a ticketed mainstage, you'll pay $5 on Friday and $10 on Saturday and Sunday. You can also get a weekend pass for $20.

If you're willing to pay a little extra, you can purchase a Bourbon Street VIP Weekend Pass for $65. The VIP pass includes access to preferred and covered seating on a first come, first serve basis and a dedicated bar and washrooms.

People looking for complimentary events can visit the Fonia Mobile Free Zone (which features the two non-ticketed stages). If you want to experience some blues beyond the stage, you can check out the Rabba Fine Foods Street Shuffle (also free to attend) on Saturday, Sept. 10 on Lakeshore Rd. from 2:00-6:00 p.m.

You can also hit up local bars, cafes and restaurants for events all weekend long. Some restos hosting live blues performances include Door FiftyFive, The Crooked Cue, El Jefe, Fired Up! and more. You can see a full schedule of off-site events here.

This year, the festival is also hosting the Southside Shuffle Scavenger Hunt in partnership with @YelpGTA. To play, register at the Yelp! booth on Saturday and complete tasks to win. Prizes include goods from The Works, Raptors tickets, a $100 gift certificate for Spice Restaurant, a $100 gift certificate for a By The Lake massage and more.

Also, since it's officially TIFF time, remember that you just might see a celebrity! According to Ron Duquette, the chair of the Shuffle, some A-listers have crossed the border into our neck of the woods in the past.

“Brad Pitt and Johnny Depp are lovers of the blues and they were both here for TIFF on two separate occasions,” says Duquette. “They came over here with their entourages and got into the music. That happens. People who like that kind of music will come down here. The fact that they were there got a buzz going in the audience.”

As for other housekeeping details, remember to bring your own lawn chairs (seating is not provided). Tickets are non-refundable (even if you’re rained out); the venue is wheelchair accessible and no pets other than service animals are permitted.

For more information, check out the website.

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