A new venue, more free shows, more vendors and a star-studded lineup have added up to a successful first weekend at Cisco Ottawa Bluesfest.

In spite of Saturday’s downpour, festivalgoers continued to pack LeBreton Flats and for the first time, the ByWard Market for concerts over the weekend.

“The show goes on rain or shine,” said Bluesfest spokesman AJ Sauve.

The Bluesfest in the Market series, which features dozens of free shows, has been “a big success,” said Sauve.

“The new venue has been great,” he said.

“All the shows have been well-attended. We’ve done free shows in the past and we’ve worked with the (National Capital Commission with Noon on the Bridge) but nothing to this extent. This is a major investment in creating a good tourist destination.”

The series wraps up tonight with Serena Ryder.

As for the crowds at LeBreton Flats, attendance numbers aren’t available yet, but Sauve said that the number of people is “meeting expectations.”

As for stages, the Barney Danson Theatre has been very popular this year, as well as the LeBreton Gallery, which opened as a venue for the first time, said director of operations Mike Rouleau.

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