By Deb Kloeden, Rock At Night Adelaide correspondent
The Byron Bay Bluesfest is one of Australia’s biggest and most popular festivals, attracting over 100,000 people. Held every Easter, over 5 days, the festival is now located on the 120 hectare, Tyagarah Tea Tree Farm site, just north of Byron Bay, NSW. Although called a Blues Fest, the festival caters for a variety of musical tastes from Indie, Reggae, Roots, Soul, Rock and much more. This festival attracts a huge number of stellar International acts, as well as supporting up-coming musicians with the busking tent and local bands.
The Byron Bay Bluesfest caters for every need, with 6,000 camping sites available including teepee hire. Many food and merchandise stalls offer a large range of gastronomical delights and shopping opportunities. Seven stages are erected, guaranteeing constant musical entertainment, all undercover in marquees of varying sizes. For those who wish to splash out, a VIP lounge offers a very pleasant place to retreat for a drink in a well-presented environment, with potted plants, water features and comfy chairs. Overall, The Byron Bay Bluesfest has definitely got the festival recipe right.
Next year’s festival will be my fourth and in the past I have been lucky enough to see Bob Dylan, Gary Clarke Jr, Hozier, Soja, Crosby Stills & Nash and BB King, just to name a few. This year’s line-up is already looking amazing with the first artist announcements including Patti Smith, Barry Gibb, Neil Young, Nahko and Medicine for the People, Buddy Guy, Jethro Tull, The Doobie Bros, Mavis Staples, Rickie Lee Jones and Santana.
Patti Smith, Billy Bragg, Neil Young and Rickie Lee Jones will be making debut Bluesfest appearances, while veterans Mavis Staples and Trombone Shorty are popular regulars.
It has been eight years since Patti Smith last came to Australia, and nearly 41 years since the release of her first and most celebrated recording Horses. Patti Smith and her band will perform Horses in its entirety at Bluesfest, as well as several old favourites.
Described by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as “one of Rock and Roll’s greatest songwriters and performers”, Neil Young will make his first and long awaited appearance at the Bluesfest. Young’s profound lyrics and charismatic live performance is sure to thrill.
One band I am particularly keen to see is Nahko & Medicine for the People who will be performing their third full-length album HOKA. They have performed twice before at the Bluesfest, but sadly I missed them.
Buddy Guy, ‘THE KING OF THE BLUES’, will be performing exclusively at the Bluesfest. The iconic blues guitarist and singer, who is now 80 years old, has influenced legends like Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, Jimmy Page, Jeff Beck and Stevie Ray Vaughan.
Age-defying favourites The Doobie Brothers, will return with their rugged and authentic approach to rock and roll. Their ability to evolve in a constantly changing industry, connecting with generations of listeners, is a testament to their skill.
Mavis Staples is one of the greatest gospel, soul and blues singers of all time. She has managed to remain a leading voice in a career that has spanned over 60 years, and recently toured with Bob Dylan on his U.S. Summer tour. She recently released her latest album, Livin’ on a High Note.
Long-time favourites Santana, are returning with their Afro-Latin-blues-rock fusion. After 4 decades, the legendary music of Santana continues to soothe the soul and bring joy to the heart.
These are just some of the acts that will be performing at next year’s Bluesfest. There are many more announcements to come and many artists I have not mentioned. To keep up with the latest news, visit the website or follow the Bluesfest on Facebook or Instagram.
I’ve booked my ticket, flights and accommodation. I suggest you should too. Don’t miss this premier Australian Festival, 13th – 17th April 2017. See you there!
From Darkroom to Lightroom in 4 decades.
Deb is aPhotographer, Music Lover, Ex teacher, and traveller.