It’s hard to believe that The Southside Shuffle is turning 18 this year. Next year it’ll be old enough to head off to the beer tent.
It’s equally hard to believe that the inaugural 1999 Shuffle took place on an open field on the south west corner of Lakeshore Rd. E. and Hurontario St. An open field that now houses everything from Ten Restaurant on the east to Pita Pit on the west — not to mention two condominium buildings along the east and south edges. For the curious, the main (and only) stage was right about where the bar in Ten is today.
Since then the Southside Shuffle has grown by leaps and bounds. One stage has doubled to two, it’s taken over Port Credit Memorial Park and spilled out onto the street with the Saturday ‘Street Shuffle.’
Along the way the Shuffle has become one of North America’s preeminent blues festivals hosting some of the world’s best bluesmen.
Legends Buddy Guy and Rompin’ Ronnie Hawkins have both graced the main stage.
How The Week Unfolds
The Southside Shuffle takes place each year from Friday until Sunday. For those fortunate enough to land tickets, it actually kicks off on Thursday with The Beggars Blues Banquet — which is taking place this year at the PC Legion on Front St. N. (Learn where the Legion is because even if you don’t score tickets to the banquet there’s much, much more going on there over the weekend.)
Friday is the official launch of the Shuffle at Port Credit Memorial Park with the music kicking off at 5pm and running until 11:30 ‘ish. Friday’s headliners are The Last Waltz who will be hitting the main stage at 10pm.
Saturday the music inside Memorial Park starts at noon with the perennial crowd favourite ‘Street Shuffle‘ closing down Lakeshore Rd. in Port Credit from 2:00 until 6:00pm. This year there are 25 bands playing along the stretch of Lakeshore from Stavebank to Hurontario.
Headlining the main stage inside the park Saturday night is Tom Lavin and the legendary Powder Blues Band who take the stage at 10pm.
The music starts up again Sunday at noon and runs until 7:30 ‘ish with Downchild hitting the main stage at 6pm.
(Please note: all finish times are in the ‘ish time zone)
In The Clubs
The ‘Street Shuffle’ isn’t the only music along Lakeshore. Each year it seems more and more restos, pubs and clubs join in the fun by hosting live music during the weekend. Those piano keyboard markings at the corner of Lakeshore and Hurontario? The intersection earned those stripes.
This year is certainly no exception and you’ll find live blues (for the most part) music in a number of Port Credit venues.
You Mentioned The Legion?
First and foremost, the Legion (upstairs in the Riverview Room) is where you’re going to find The Blues and Roots Jamstage on Friday and Saturday night. The music starts at 10:30pm and runs until 3 ‘ish. Costs a couple of bucks to get in but if you’re not busy in the morning it’s money well spent. You never know who is going to show up and play.
The Legion also hosts live music downstairs both Friday (9pm) and Saturday (3pm and 9pm).
Friday night admission is $5 and both Saturday and Sunday is $10 or a weekend pass is available for only $20. All tickets are available online.