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

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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Bluesfest turns 30 with Jack Johnson, Ben Harper exclusives

Jack Johnson, Ben Harper and the Innocent Criminals and US soul act St Paul and the Broken Bones have been announced as festival exclusives for the 30th Byron Bay Bluesfest, set for 18–22 April 2019.

“Our 30th anniversary Bluesfest will be a major event in a long line of great festivals,” says festival director Peter Noble. “We will only turn 30 once, and we intend to make this edition truly memorable.

“We have two of our most highly requested, as well as favourite artists ever, headlining, and both coming for exclusive performances. Jack Johnson will return for his first performance since 2014 – except for when he is in the area surfing and sitting in with friends – and Ben Harper and the Innocent Criminals [for their first] since 2015, when they reformed after a seven-year hiatus, and played their premier festival performance at Bluesfest.

“Ben Harper’s first performance at Bluesfest 1996 remains one of the most important in the history of our event, and actually gave us the inspiration to move out of being a purely blues festival and evolving into being Australia’s first blues and roots music festival…”

“We will only turn 30 once, and we intend to make this edition truly memorable”

Also on the bill for Bluesfest 30 are Ray LaMontagne, George Clinton and Parliament-Funkadelic, Snarky Puppy, Arlo Guthrie, I’m With her and Kurt Vile, with more to be announced in the coming months.

Bluesfest has averaged an attendance of around 105,000 over the past few years, and Noble says the festival is on course for its best event ever in year 30.

“We have broken all ticket sales records and anticipate a sell-out for Bluesfest 2019 already, so don’t delay: get your tickets now,” he says. “And thank you for coming with us on this incredible journey. Whether this is your first Bluesfest, or 30th, we promise you, the talent on our stages will always be the best we can present.”

Bluesfest 2019 takes place from Thursday 18 to Monday 22 April at Tyagarah Tea Tree Farm in Byron Bay, New South Wales, Australia.


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