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Ottawa Bluesfest plans to go forward with tonight’s concerts despite heavy rain, organizers say

The show is set to go on at Ottawa Bluesfest tonight and the rest of the week, despite the heavy rain in the forecast.

Environment Canada has issued a special weather statement for Ottawa, calling for 25 to 50 mm of rain today through Thursday as the remnants of Hurricane Beryl move through the area. As of 2 p.m., Ottawa has seen 10-15 mm of rain.

“Weather is always a variable for anybody running any outdoor events.  We keep an eye on the weather and we’re always very aware of it,” Joe Reilly, spokesperson for Ottawa Bluesfest, told Newstalk 580 CFRA’s Ottawa at Work with Patricia Boal.

The lineup for Ottawa Bluesfest on Wednesday includes Zac Brown Band, Charley Crockett, Matthew Good and Texas King. Thursday’s lineup features Josh Ross, Alexa Goldie, The Offspring and Silverstein.

Bluesfest announced Wednesday afternoon it was delaying the opening of the gates until 6 p.m.

“All performers scheduled for this evening will perform,” Bluesfest said in a social media post.

Reilly says Bluesfest has its own weather service, “that we talk to constantly throughout the day.”

“We’ve got our service; they’re watching a square kilometre of ground down at LeBreton Flats for us and giving us very precise measurements of what’s happening or what’s about to happen based on air flow,” Reilly said.

Bluesfest has an emergency preparedness plan, which includes details for an evacuation of the site if necessary.

Reilly admits it’s tough to know what the weather will be like eight hours in advance, but the show is set to go on.

“Our full intention is all production is going forward for everything tonight and for the rest of the week,” Reilly said. “We play it by conversation with our weather service.”

Ottawa Bluesfest has had to deal with wet weather already this week, with rain on the opening night and last Saturday.

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