By Deb Kloeden, Rock At Night Adelaide correspondent
Excitement is building in Australia as the 29th Byron Bay Bluesfest draws closer. Recently Bluesfest won Best Major Festival & Event at the NSW Tourism Awards for the third year in a row. They have also, once again, been recognised by music industry giant Pollstar with a nomination for ‘International Music Festival of the Year’ for their 2017 festival. Bluesfest 2017 was a huge success with over 105,000 attendees who enjoyed artists including Patti Smith, Santana, Buddy Guy, Mavis Staples, Mary J. Blige, NAS, Neil Finn, St Paul and the Broken Bones and The Doobie Brothers. This is the 6th year in a row Bluesfest has been nominated and the 8th time in total.
Headlining the 2018 Festival will be none other than Led Zeppelin’s ROBERT PLANT and LIONEL RICHIE. I missed Robert Plant last time he appeared at Bluesfest, so I am very excited to see him and his band The Sensational Space Shifters at next year’s festival. Their new album ‘Carry Fire’ is due to be released in December, marking the 50-year milestone since Led Zeppelin’s first album was released.
For the first time in Bluesfest history, a full arena spectacular is coming to the festival with one of the world’s most beloved artists – Lionel Richie. Richie has a discography of albums and singles second to none and is part of the fabric of American pop music.
Other major attractions include Bluesfest regular and much loved MICHAEL FRANTI & SPEARHEAD, reggae legend JIMMY CLIFF, multiplatinum singer-songwriter SEAL, Bob Marley’s THE WAILERS, boogie ‘n blues legends CANNED HEAT, the awesome JACKSON BROWN, THE ORIGINAL BLUES BROTHERS BAND, versatile songwriter and powerhouse singer RAG’N’BONE MAN and Sweden’s sweethearts FIRST AID KIT. Returning from last year’s line-up, I’m excited to see again the CALIFORNIA HONEYDROPS, DUMPSTAPHUNK and ERIC GALES.
A stellar line-up of Australian artists will delight fans, including JOHN BUTLER TRIO and first timers TASH SULTANA and THE TESKEY BROTHERS. John Butler Trio will take the stage at Bluesfest for an incredible 13th time in 2018! I recently saw them perform in Adelaide at a beachside festival. Their success has become worldwide including sold out headline performances at the iconic Red Rocks Amphitheatre in Colorado and main stage performances at Glastonbury and Coachella.
TASH SULTANA is one of Australia’s most talented up and coming artists. This young, one-woman powerhouse has sold out every headline show booked across multiple countries and played dozens of high profile Australian festivals. She’s one to look out for. Like-wise, Victoria’s blues/soul band THE TESKEY BROTHERS caught my attention last year when they released their debut album ‘Half Mile Harvest’ and I’ve been seeking them out ever since. After a string of sold out shows across Australia, USA and UK in 2017 the future is looking very bright for these four talented musicians.
These are just some of the acts that will be performing at next year’s Festival. There are still more announcements to come. To keep up with the latest news, visit the website or follow Bluesfest on Facebook or Instagram. Don’t miss this outstanding Australian Festival, Easter Long Weekend, 29th March – 2nd April 2018. Tickets are selling fast so get yours now. See you there!
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