The Highlands Buckslide Blues Society (HBBS) is searching for young stars to share the stage with veterans of the genre and learn from the greats.

The society will introduce its “Road to the Kitchener Bluesfest Youth Camp Contest” at a concert for high schoolers at the Northern Lights Performing Arts Pavillion at Haliburton Highlands Secondary School at 1 p.m April 28. 

To enter the contest, students between 12-18 can submit a video clip up to five minutes in length of them covering a blues song to qualify for a final round of the contest May 25. 

Applicants can upload an audition tape (less the 5minutes) to YouTube. Send the youtube audition link and application to by May 18 2022. 

Two winning teens will get an all-expenses-paid trip to the 2022 Grand River Blues Youth Camp in Kitchener and a chance to play with the B&B Blues Band on an upcoming album and as well as at a concert at Head Lake Park in August. 


They’ll also be awarded the 2022 Patrick Monaghan Blues Cruise award, named after the society’s founder, appear on Monaghan’s Blues show, the Buckslide Blues Cruise on CanoeFM. “It’s a great event for the youth in the area,” said Monaghan. He’s been a blues fan for decades, often travelling across Canada and the U.S. for blues conventions and contests. 

He said a spot at the Youth Camp in Kitchener can “open doors” for County youth who love the blues. For teens submitting performances to the HBBS, Monaghan suggests focusing on stage presence, blues inspiration, vocal skill and instrumental precision. “Originality will score them some points too,” he said.

 Monaghan said he’s excited that COVID-19 restrictions have eased to allow concerts and in-person gatherings again. “It really limited what we could do,” he said. The event is organized by Monaghan and HBBS marketing and education coordinator Rusty Rustenburg.

The HBBS is also inviting Highlanders of all ages to apply for membership, to help the society “keep the blues alive” in the Highlands. For more information visit or contact Monaghan at 705-306-0181 or Rustenburg at 705-464-1719

Get The Highlander in your inbox every Thursday