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“Our 30th was just wonderful”: Bluesfest round-up

Organisers hail the success of Byron Bay Bluesfest’s 30th anniversary edition, with artist collaborations from the likes of Ben Harper, Kasey Chambers and Jack Johnson

By Anna Grace on 23 Apr 2019

Bluesfest 30 round-up

Kasey Chambers and Ben Harper

image © Bluesfest

The 30th edition of Byron Bay Bluesfest wrapped up on Monday 22 April, following a weekend full of artist collaborations from Jack Johnson, Ben Harper, Mavis Staples, Kasey Chambers and more.

Australia’s most highly awarded music festival welcomed 88 artists and over 105,000 attendees to its anniversary event, with headline performances from festival favourites Jack Johnson and Ben Harper.

“Our 30th was just wonderful”, says festival director Peter Noble. “We tried some new things and it seems they really worked. Jack White’s the Saboteurs were absolutely brilliant. There were more great Australian artists such as Tommy Emmanuel, Paul Kelly, Julia Stone, Russell Morris, Kasey Chambers and more.

“The headliners were loved and the return of both Ben Harper and Jack Johnson were major moments. The list is never ending,” comments Noble, giving a special mention to Chicago’s Melody Angel, “who is emerging as a bonafide star at Bluesfest”.

“Our audience is telling us what a great time they are having, and the truth is, we just want to do it all over again,” adds the festival’s owner and director.

Noble recently spoke out against strict new licensing laws that have swept across New South Wales, imposing many additional costs on festivals and placing extra responsibility on organisers to ensure the safety of patrons.

“Our audience is telling us what a great time they are having, and the truth is, we just want to do it all over again”

Collaborations across the weekend saw Ben Harper join Mavis Staples for a Saturday afternoon performance. Kasey Chambers brought Ben Harper, the War and Treaty, Tommy Emmanuel and the Veronicas on stage during her performance and Jack Johnson was joined by Lukas Nelson, Gary Clark Jr. and Paula Fuga for his Sunday night headline slot.

A closing ceremony taking place at the Boomerang festival precinct on Sunday afternoon saw artists from across the festival come together to perform dances, chants and traditional calls to celebrate the First Nations peoples of Australia.

“Boomerang had a spirit this year that resonated across the Bluesfest site, from the eclectic line up of First Nations music, to the dance, story and workshops. There truly was something for everyone,” says festival director Rhoda Roberts.

Tickets for Bluesfest 2020 are available online exclusively for 2019 ticketholders from AU$430 for a five-day ticket. Tickets will be available to the general public from 29 April 2019. More information can be found here.


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