Australian music festival Byron Bay Bluesfest, winner of numerous awards, will return in 2023 during the Easter long weekend (Thursday 6 to Monday 10 Aprill).
More than 200 of the top blues, roots, folk, soul, and world performers play over the course of the Byron Bay Blues Festival, often known as Bluesfest. In addition to several stages that may be used in every weather, there are also bars, food courts, and vendor booths that are all legally open for business.
The event, which began in 1990 at the Arts Factory on Skinners Shoot Road in Byron Bay, quickly outgrew its original location. Red Devil Park and Belongil Fields, both within a few minutes’ drive of the town centre, have hosted the festival in recent years, among others. After relocating to the former Tyagarah Ti Tree farm around 15 minutes north west of Byron Bay in 2010, the festival has had a more stable location.
Over the years, the Bluesfest’s popularity has skyrocketed, and currently the 5-day event sells over 100,000 tickets every year. For the first time ever, an Australian festival, Bluesfest, was nominated for International Music Festival of the Year at the 2004 USA Pollstar Awards, alongside Glastonbury in the United Kingdom and the Montreaux Jazz Festival in Switzerland.
Beginning on Thursday, April 6, 2023 and continuing through Monday, April 10, 2023, Bluesfest 2023 will take place over the course of five days during the Easter long weekend. In the latter part of this year, the lineup will be revealed.
Bluesfest 2023 – First Artist Annoucement
Elvis Costello & The Imposters return to the festival for the first time since 2014, while Americana legend Lucinda Williams hasn’t appeared in almost a decade. When it comes to Americana, few do it better than Jason Isbell & the 400 Unit, who will also perform at the event in 2023.
The Soul Rebels, a New Orleans brass band, return to Bluesfest with hip hop royalty in tow. We’re not kidding when we say royalty. Talib Kweli and GZA will perform alongside the band (! ), as will Big Freedia, who will return to Australia just months after previously confirmed November gigs.
On the local front, the highly prolific King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard and Sydney’s legendary Gang Of Youths will perform for the first time at Bluesfest, bringing their very distinct but equally epic live acts. Tash Sultana is no stranger to the festival, and their performance in 2023 will be the next chapter in an already illustrious career with the event.
Buddy Guy, the blues guitar legend, is still going strong at 86 years old. It wouldn’t be proper if Bluesfest wasn’t part of his victory lap around the world before putting the Strat down for good.
In the spirit of victory laps, Jackson Browne’s farewell Australian tour will now include a performance at the Easter celebration.
Bonnie Raitt has 12 Grammys, including the Lifetime Achievement Award this year, but she has many more wonderful songs. LP has a massive global fanbase for good reason, and the fact that she’s finally making it to Bluesfest after some COVID-related setbacks will make her Aussie fans relieved.
Steve Earle & the Dukes are such Bluesfest staples that it’s hard to think he’ll be back in 2023 after a seven-year absence. Mavis Staples is unable to avoid the event, and we are all the better for it. She’s returning in 2023 and should not be missed under any circumstances.
The Cat Empire has a new lineup, and Xavier Rudd has returned after his stunning performance in 2022.
Femi Kuti & The Positive Force will provide powerful words and explosive energy, Michael Franti & Spearhead will show why they’re one of the festival’s most beloved performers of all time, and the incomparable Robert Glasper will give a lesson in jazz and neo soul that you won’t forget.
Joe Bonamassa, one of the world’s most respected blues guitarists, returns to the festival, as does the equally outstanding Beth Hart, who blew everyone away on her previous visit. The same can be said about Marcus King, who returns with his fiery southern rock, and Christone ‘Kingfish’ Ingram.
Not to mention genuinely classic favourites like Keb Mo, Chain, and The Black Sorrows, who will keep the blues running all five days of the event.
The festival promises to finalise the itinerary as soon as possible so that individuals who acquire three-day or single-day tickets may make an informed decision about who they’ll be able to watch.
Full artist list on first announcement:
Elvis Costello & The Imposters, Gang Of Youths, King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard, Xavier Rudd, Tash Sultana, Bonnie Raitt, Lucinda Williams, Mavis Staples, LP, Buddy Guy, Steve Earle & The Dukes, Michael Franti & Spearhead, Jackson Browne, Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit, The Soul Rebels & Friends with special guests Talib Kweli, GZA, Big Freedia, The Cat Empire, Femi Kuti & The Positive Force, Marcus King, Robert Glasper, Joe Bonamassa, Beth Hart, Keb’ Mo’, Rockwiz Live, The Black Sorrows, Chain, Christone ‘Kingfish’ Ingram, Larkin Poe, Nikki Hill, Southern Avenue, Eric Gales, Spinifex Gum ft. Marliya, 19-TWENTY, The Barnestormers, Greensky Bluegrass, Joe Camilleri Presents A Star-Studded Tribute To The Greats Of The Blues, Jon Stevens, Kaleo, Lachy Doley And The Horns Of Conviction