This festival has grown some much through the years. It started off playing in just a few small areas around the downtown core and it was solely a blues festival.
However as it started to get bigger, they realized that they couldn't hold a multi-day festival with just blues, unfortunately there just isn't enough draw for it. When they moved venues onto the front of city hall that's when they started bringing in more mainstream bands to attract the higher numbers. They've taken some flack through the years too about the "lack of blues" but Im sorry, you need to have the big bands now-a-days to get that draw. Where its set up now, they've had 5 stages set up and it has been great!
There have been many great bands have come through because of it. Ive seen Maiden here twice, Soundgarden, Mastodon (met them afterwards
), A Perfect Circle, Primus and Les Claypool and the Holy Mackerels, Dream Theater, Cancer Bats, Dropkick Murphys, KISS, ZZ Top, George Thorougood, Flaming Lips, Stompin Tom
. Those were all for me really but Ive also seen (for my wife) the Hip several times, Snoop has been here twice already too, Great Big Sea, Black Eyed Peas. All of this and not to mention many of the smaller unknown acts that have come through as well. Some have been very entertaining and just add to the atmosphere.
QOTSA is not necessarily billed higher than Journey or Snoop, they are just headlining 1 day of the 10 day fest. Lady Gaga and Journey headline other days, Snoop is 2nd to last I believe on another. Foreigner and Styx are the same day as QOTSA as well. Collective Soul are the last headliner day of the fest.