Bluesfest’s first line-up announcement for 2020!
Get ready festivalgoers – here’s our BEST EVER first artist announcement !!
DAVE MATTHEWS BAND, CROWDED HOUSE, PATTI SMITH AND HER BAND and many more will ensure our 31st Bluesfest Byron Bay rocks next Easter! The 31st annual Byron Bay Bluesfest is taking place from 9th – 13th April 2020 and is set to be the best festival yet! The first of many line up announcements also includes the legend GEORGE BENSON and BRANDI CARLILE, both making their Bluesfest debuts.
The Bluesfest 2020 First Artist Lineup:
DAVE MATTHEWS BAND
PATTI SMITH AND HER BAND
THE CAT EMPIRE
THE MARCUS KING BAND
CHRISTONE “KINGFISH” INGRAM
THE WAR & TREATY
Commenting on the announcement, Festival Director Peter Noble OAM said:
“I was so pleased to hear all the positive feedback from our 30th Anniversary in 2019 and hope to take that to the next level in 2020. …..
Peter Noble, Festival Director
There is only one type of Dave Matthews Band (DMB) fan and that is a hardcore one!
Bluesfest is incredibly excited to have the industry powerhouse play at the 2020 Bluesfest and we know the masses of fans who have been requesting the jam-loving rockers presence at the festival year on year will be too. This will be Dave Matthews Band’s third visit to Bluesfest and if the two earlier visits are anything to go by… it’s going to be more of the same…. A tent full of happy, dancing Bluesfesters. As Peter Noble, Bluesfest Festival Director puts it: “Dave Matthews Band are one of the top grossing, most in demand bands in the world – and finally they are coming back to Bluesfest. This is going to be magical and UNMISSABLE.”
Crowded House return to headline Bluesfest with an EXCLUSIVE AUSTRALIAN PERFORMANCE. Multi – APRA and ARIA award-winners, BRIT award winners and MTV Video Music Award winners their albums and songs have been cornerstones of most of our collections…. and their anthems such as “Don’t Dream It’s Over’, ‘Weather With You’ and ‘Better Be Home Soon’ still resonate with a global audience of all ages. Crowded House is a long standing and much-loved vehicle for the song writing talents of Neil Finn. Formed in Melbourne Australia in 1985 out the ashes of New Zealand’s Split Enz by Neil, Paul Hester and Nick Seymour, and now, 30 + years later, Neil and Nick have been energized and inspired to begin a new chapter in the Crowded House story. The new chapter begins with this exclusive headline appearance at Bluesfest next Easter and there’s only one place to be – front and centre !
Patti Smith and her Band conquered Bluesfest in 2017 … and went on to win the Helpmann Award that year for Best International Contemporary Concert ! Best-selling author, performance poet & visual artist Patti Smith’s list of artistic accomplishments doesn’t end there. She is a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee, recipient of the Polar Music Prize, a human rights activist and also holds the honour of “Commandeur des Arts et des Lettres” from the French Ministry of Culture. And , just when we thought it was all over… the legend that is Patti Smith calls and says: “I’d like to do it all over again…. I’m ready if you are !” How could we refuse !!! So, with open arms, we welcome back the Godmother of Punk, Patti Smith and her Band, to Bluesfest 2020.
We are so excited to welcome the legend that is George Benson.to Bluesfest. Since 1977, George Benson, who is recognised as one of the world’s greatest guitarists, has won 10 Grammy Awards – and has been nominated for an additional 15. His wins include Record of the Year for “This Masquerade” (1977), Best Pop Instrumental Performance for “Breezin'” (1977) and “Mornin'” (2007), Best Male R&B Vocal Performance for “On Broadway” (1979) and “Give Me the Night” (1981), and Best R&B Instrumental Performance for “Theme From Good King Bad” (1977) and “Off Broadway” (1981). Following the success of his Quincy Jones-produced pop album Give Me the Night in 1980, George Benson’s string of pop hits includes “Love All the Hurt Away,” “Turn Your Love Around,” “Inside Love,” “Lady Love Me (One More Time),” and “20/20.” In 1990, George Benson was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Music from the Berklee College of Music. And in 2009 the National Endowment of the Arts recognized him as a Jazz Master, the nation’s highest honour in jazz.
Three-time GRAMMY Award-winning singer, songwriter, performer and producer Brandi Carlile is currently in the midst of a landmark year following the release of her Grammy Award-winning album, ‘By The Way’, I Forgive You. Produced by Dave Cobb and Shooter Jennings and recorded at Nashville’s historic RCA Studio A, the album includes ten new songs written by Carlile and longtime collaborators and bandmates Tim and Phil Hanseroth, including “The Joke.” Of her breakthrough performance of the song on the 2019 live GRAMMY broadcast, The New York Times proclaimed, “Carlile’s vocals were robust, ragged, full of sneer and hope. On a night curiously light on impressive singing, it was an uncomplicated, genuine, cleansing thrill,” while the Los Angeles Times called it, “triumphant” and Rolling Stone described it as, “breathtaking.”
John Butler, singer-songwriter, producer and activist has been a member of the Bluesfest family for nearly 20 years… his songs speak of love, activism, wellness and inspiration – a message to us all of the more beautiful world that is possible.. This time around, John Butler will be performing solo .. and will be featuring his 2018 album, ‘Home’ as well as classic songs from his timeless repertoire.
Xavier Rudd has captivated audiences for two decades. Nothing compares to experiencing Xavier Rudd in concert. Every show is a unique and exciting experience, His socially conscious indie-folk has been a vessel for his spirit. narrating the journey of a composer with a gift for channelling life into song. Over the course of nine studio albums and eight live records his beloved songs of spirituality, humanity, environmentalism and human rights have resonated with the Bluesfest audience and he’ll for sure get a warm, loving reception when he takes the stage next Easter.
Formed in Melbourne, Australia and an absolute favourite at Bluesfest The Cat Empire make a welcome return to Bluesfest. Bound together by a love of music since their teens, The Cat Empire have made their name crafting infectious, genre-embracing anthems, releasing them on chart-topping, multi-platinum selling, and playing hundreds of world class, awe-inspiring shows a year. It seems The Cat Empire brand of feel good, high-energy, smile-inducing, euphoric roots pop has a global address when it comes to the winning of hearts. Back with a swag of favourites – and some new songs … get ready to dance yourself crazy.
Such was the joy and bliss of Morcheeba’s visit to Bluesfest in 2018 .. that we wanted to bring them back as soon as possible. With a music career spanning 22 years and millions of albums sold worldwide, Morcheeba are pioneers of British trip-hop and soul. Morcheeba define the ‘chill out’ genre and are the perfect antidote to a big night, songs like “Rome Wasn’t Built In A Day”, “The Sea”, “Even Though” and “Otherwise” have been played in café’s, lounge rooms and at Sunday sessions around the world. It’s always special when Morcheeba take to the Bluesfest stage.
After nearly 50 years on the road, hotel rooms are a familiar enough sight for John Prine. The singer-songwriter’s first record is famously known to be full of protest songs, written during the Vietnam War when there was heightened political unrest in the White House. The animating spirit of that early music is threaded throughout John Prine’s new work too. Since day one, John Prine has been a storyteller, not just between songs in a concert but within the songs themselves, and that’s what gives them such power. His primary mode of persuasion is the story, just as the primary mode of persuasion for the biblical Jesus is the parable.
Jenny Lewis has confirmed her highly anticipated return with her fourth solo album – On The Line – out mid-2019 on Warner Bros. Records. Since releasing 2014’s critically acclaimed The Voyager— which NPR likened to “California sunshine glinting off the Pacific Ocean, steeped in the West Coast pop sounds of the 1970s”— Jenny Lewis has been plotting her highly anticipated return. Between headlining dates around the globe and stealing the show at Newport Folk Festival 2018, not to mention captivating audiences as special guest of Beck at Madison Square Garden, Jenny has been fastidious in recording brand new material. Featuring a who’s who of supporting players including Beck, Benmont Tench, Don Was, Jim Keltner, Ringo Starr, and Ryan Adams among others, and recorded at the distinguished Capitol Studios, ‘On The Line’ will no doubt be a triumphant and irresistible highlight of 2019.
“Frank Turner writes folk songs that harness the fury of punk and the majesty of Springsteenian rock ‘n’ roll. But more than anything else, his music is playful.” – NPR
Last seen at Bluesfest back in 2014.. punk-folk poet Frank Turner brings songs from his latest album ‘No Man’s Land’ and the bawdy rowdiness of songs such as “Recovery”, “If Ever I Stray”, “I Still Believe” and the incisive ‘The Way I Tend To Be’ back to Bluesfest next Easter.
Don’t miss Frank Turner … you will regret it !
John Mayall first came to Bluesfest in 1991 for the second Bluesfest. The man whose name is synonymous with the Blues, and especially the UK Blues Scene, is finally returning after an absence of 5 years. Credited with some of the greatest blues line-ups his band The Bluesbreakers included the likes of Jeff Beck, Eric Clapton, John McVie, Peter Green , Jack Bruce, Ginger Baker, Mick Fleetwood, Mick Taylor, Harvey Mandel, Larry Taylor, Jon Hiseman, and Keef Hartley. Now, a staggering 62 albums down and in his 80’s, this self-professed ‘road dog’, who hates a day off and carries his own gear at gigs, is working harder than ever and touring at a level someone half his age would find daunting ….and we are stoked he could find time to once again hit the Bluesfest stage and deliver his own Blues Masterclass.
Buffy Sainte-Marie is the world’s foremost First Nations Artist. This Academy Award-winning songwriter and performer is touring constantly, but is also renowned as a trail-blazer, an educator, an innovative artist, a pacifist, a tireless activist focussing on the indigenous peoples of the Americas
and disruptor of the status quo.
Her timeless and award-wining anthems include million sellers ‘Universal Soldier’, ‘Up Where We Belong’, ‘Bury My Heart At Wounded Knee’ and ‘Until It’s Time For You To Go’
Buffy Sainte-Marie shows no sign of slowing down and on her latest album ‘Medicine Songs’ – fires up both new songs and old that she puts to work dealing with war, oppression, inequity, violence, bullying, racketeering and systemic greed, and balanced by some that come from the other side of that: positivity, common sense, romance, equity and enthusiasm for life.
DO NOT MISS Buffy Sainte Marie – She is legend.
Who wouldn’t welcome back the incredible The Marcus King Band after a sell-out Australian tour and packed out performances at Bluesfest’s 30th Anniversary? This young musical phenomenon delivers soulful Americana inspired by Rock’n’Roll and, together with his band, creates a blistering unit that has honed their synergy through endless touring.
Having been described as a ‘stellar performer’ by numerous media publications after his 2018 performance, American Blues guitarist, singer and songwriter, Walter Trout is making a welcome return to Bluesfest Byron Bay. For over five decades, Walter Trout has performed to adoring fans around the globe and is now often called the beating heart of the modern Blues/Rock scene. The list of icons that have inspired Walter’s work include BB King, John Mayall, Joe Bonamassa, Chuck Berry and countless others. Renowned as an icon in Blues music circles, this performance is not to be missed.
With both eyes on the future and the blues in his blood, 20-year-old guitarist, vocalist and songwriter Christone “Kingfish” Ingram is set to take the music world by storm. His debut album, ‘Kingfish’, showcases Ingram’s blistering, raw and inspired guitar playing, soulful, deep vocals and songwriting. He tells stories with his solos, channelling the spirits of all the past masters while the music he makes is his own. Bluesfest is lucky to lock in this amazing new talent whose re-telling of the Blues, whilst still proudly holding the torch of his predecessors, is shaking the genre to its core.
We are delighted to announce that Greensky Bluegrass will be coming down under to party with us in 2020! After an unexpected cancellation for 2019, we’re thrilled, as I’m sure many fans are, that they can join us. With a name like Greensky Bluegrass, it’s clear what kind of music this five-piece jam band plays. Their versatility is clearly portrayed in their electrifying live shows which are known for their ample solos showing off each member’s technical excellence. After over 18 years together, it’s nice to hear Greensky Bluegrass still working to keep things interesting for themselves and the fans. Putting real, extended improvisations on a studio album is a choice that pays off for them, but I still think the best material here is probably among their shorter songs.
Larkin Poe left Bluesfesters breathless after each dark, dynamic performance so it’s no wonder we are rapt to have the dynamic sister duo of Rebecca and Megan Lovell return in 2020. Larkin Poe has opened the door to a dark, portentous Blues that has an enjoyable yet sinister and threatening tone, not unlike their ancestor, Edgar Allan Poe ….. Often referred to as ‘The Little Sisters of The Allman Brothers’ make no mistake – these girls ROCK !!! Don’t miss Larkin Poe and their beguiling mix of Gothic soul and outlaw country.
The War and Treaty were absolutely one of THE discovery artists of last year’s Bluesfest. So it was a ‘no-brainer’ to ask lovebirds Michael and Tanya Trotter to return next Easter. The War and Treaty deliver live shows and records that make the hairs on the back of necks stand up. Their music and stories bring tears and goosebumps, but ultimately, more is at work. Facades melt away. Walls are torn down. The War and Treaty are a MUST SEE !!