*Exclusive* JACK JOHNSON *Exclusive*
*Exclusive* BEN HARPER & THE INNOCENT CRIMINALS *Exclusive*
*FINAL SHOWS* GEORGE CLINTON & PARLIAMENT FUNKADELIC *FINAL SHOWS*
*Exclusive* ST PAUL & THE BROKEN BONES *Exclusive*
NAHKO AND MEDICINE FOR THE PEOPLE
TOMMY EMMANUEL • COLIN HAY
ARLO GUTHRIE • KEB’ MO’
TEX PERKINS • ALLEN STONE
RICHARD CLAPTON • RUSSELL MORRIS
KURT VILE & THE VIOLATORS
VINTAGE TROUBLE • THE BLACK SORROWS
THE CALIFORNIA HONEYDROPS
I’M WITH HER • LARKIN POE
IRISH MYTHEN • ELEPHANT SESSIONS
There’s only one way to kick off our 30th anniversary celebrations – and that’s with a kick-ass first artist announcement. So here we go: legends, returning favourites, Bluesfest newbies… and some extra special exclusive performances, there’s something for everyone … and this is just the start.
Leading our first announcement: an *Exclusive* Bluesfest ONLY show by Hawaiian singer-songwriter Jack Johnson, Bluesfest’s prodigal son. Jack Johnson is making a long-awaited return to Bluesfest; having first played in 2001 – and most recently at our 25th birthday bash back in 2014.
There’ll also be *Exclusive* Bluesfest-only shows from Ben Harper & The Innocent Criminals and St. Paul & The Broken Bones.
Ray Lamontagne, Kurt Vile & The Violators, Greensky Bluegrass and the folk supergroup I’m With Her are Bluesfest newbies – while Bluesfest favourite Kasey Chambers will celebrate the 20th Anniversary of her ground-breaking album ‘The Captain’, with a very special first-time performance of her debut album, track by track, alongside a celebration of songs from the Kasey Chambers greatest hits songbook.
Kasey heads up a strong Australian contingent in this announcement including Bluesfest faves Colin Hay, Tommy Emmanuel, Russell Morris, Richard Clapton, Tex Perkins and The Black Sorrows all returning to help with the celebrations.
Other returnees and total crowd pleasers and favourites, Keb’ Mo’, Vintage Trouble, Snarky Puppy, Elephant Sessions, Irish Mythen and The California Honeydrops will all be back and so will the powerful and conscious Nahko and Medicine For The People and Trevor Hall.
A note of poignancy this year. George Clinton will retire from live performance in May 2019 so this is the VERY LAST TIME the “awe-funk-some” groove of GEORGE CLINTON & PARLIAMENT FUNKADELIC will play Bluesfest.
And this is just the tip of the iceberg! Well… OK… it’s a sizeable tip… but there’s so many more artists to be announced.
And, finally, it’s a joy to welcome back… ROCKWIZ LIVE. It’s been 5 years, but the rock n roll quiz is as hilarious as ever and Brian Nankervis, Julia Zemiro and the Rockwiz Orkestra will bring their mayhem of mirth to the Jambalaya stage on Easter Saturday and Sunday. Who knows who they will bring and who they will entice on to their stage this year. The only way to find out is, of course, to be front and centre!!!
Music lovers from across Australia will visit the beautiful Tyagarah Tea Tree Farm, just outside Byron Bay over the Easter long weekend (Thursday 18th April to Monday 22nd of April 2019) for the 30th Annual Bluesfest. During the Festival they will enjoy up to 12 hours of music each day on multiple stages, incredible food and market stalls and on-site camping in a range of accommodation options.
With tickets selling faster than at any other time in Bluesfest history we are heading for a bumper celebration and sell-out next Easter… So without delay… here’s our festival Director, Peter Noble OAM.
Bluesfest is proud to make its first artist announcement for Easter 2019 (April 18th – 22nd), our 30th Anniversary Festival.
And, what an announcement it is!
“Our 30th Anniversary Bluesfest will be a MAJOR event in a long line of great festivals. We will only turn 30 once,” said director Peter Noble, “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 & The Innocent Criminals, 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 & Roots Music festival, even creating the genre. The artists inspired by Ben Harper in Australia include John Butler, Xavier Rudd and many, many more: his influence on music is profound.
Jack Johnson first played Bluesfest five years later in 2001, and once again Bluesfest has never been the same. Jack’s roots-based, surf lifestyle, environmentally aware music instantly struck a chord with our audience.
Ben Harper and Jack Johnson remain year after year amongst the two most requested artists for a return play, and we have listened to our audience and bought them back for this special occasion.
There are quite a few other favourites from over the years coming back, including George Clinton & Parliament Funkadelic playing on his final Australian tour, before retiring. The influence of George and his incredible funk band on music is monumental. These shows are not to be missed.
Kasey Chambers will perform ‘The Captain’ album in its entirety, as well as her other hits, on the 20-year anniversary of first playing it at her main stage festival debut at Bluesfest.
Amongst the many other favourites returning will be Rockwiz Live, Aussie legends Tommy Emmanuel, Colin Hay, Richard Clapton, Russell Morris, The Black Sorrows and Tex Perkins, plus internationals St Paul & The Broken Bones, Vintage Trouble, Nahko and Medicine for the People, Arlo Guthrie, Snarky Puppy, Keb’ Mo’, Elephant Sessions, The California Honeydrops and Trevor Hall, some of whom have not played on our stages in many, many years.
First timers include the incredible I’m With Her, Larkin Poe, Kurt Vile, Greensky Bluegrass, AND in saving some of the Best for last, the long-awaited return to Australia for his first performances since 2005, as well as his Bluesfest debut, an artist who truly has achieved greatness, Ray LaMontagne. He has been called a Singer’s Singer, and his albums contain an astonishing brilliance. His performance at Bluesfest 2019 will be highly anticipated.
The preceding artists are only our first in a number of highly anticipated announcements of artists coming for our 30th, which will include Headliners, Blues and Roots and Indigenous artists playing across our stages AND at our Boomerang Festival within a festival, plus so much more.
Simply the best way to see Bluesfest is to camp on site for the whole five days, whether in your own tent or camper van, or at our Tent Motel, Rainbow Tipi or Flashcamp sites.
We have broken all ticket sales records and anticipate a SELL OUT for Bluesfest 2019 already, so don’t delay …. Get your tickets now!
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.
Here we go!!
Festival Director, Bluesfest
Jack Johnson – Hawaiian singer-songwriter Jack Johnson, Bluesfest’s prodigal son, is making a long-awaited return to Bluesfest; having first played in 2001 – and most recently at our 25th birthday bash back in 2014
Since that visit Jack has released his 7th studio album, ‘All The Light Above It Too’ which peaked at #13 on the Billboard charts. Jack, with his wife Kim, founded the Kokua Hawaii Foundation to support environmental education in Hawaii’s schools and communities, as well as the Johnson Ohana Foundation to support environmental, art and music education worldwide. Jack Johnson’s album, tour profits, and personal philanthropic activities have resulted in over $30 million donated to charity since 2001. He last played at the 25th Bluesfest in 2014 – although he did sneak in a couple of guest appearances in 2015 with his buddies G. Love & Special Sauce, Donavon Frankenreiter and Jake Shimabukuro! So – who knows what special treat Jack Johnson has in store for us next Easter.
Ben Harper & The Innocent Criminals are coming back to Bluesfest for a very special Bluesfest-only exclusive performance. Ben Harper is one of Bluesfest’s favourite sons whose first appearance at Bluesfest was 23 Bluesfest’s ago way back in 1996. Will return with his legendary band The Innocent Criminals. Ben Harper & The Innocent Criminals who last appeared back in 2015 when Ben put the Innocent Criminals back together for a special Bluesfest appearance – and he is doing it again for our 30th Birthday. This promises to be a powerful performance that is not to be missed by any true fan.
Ray Lamontagne, the Grammy-winning folksinger who just released his seventh studio album, will bring his ‘Just Passing Through’ acoustic tour to Bluesfest for the very first time. Lamontagne will highlight songs from his vast and varying body of work, including ‘Trouble’, ‘Till The Sun Turns Black’, ‘Gossip In The Grain’, God Willin’ & The Creek Don’t Rise’, ‘Supernova’, ‘Ouroboros’ and ‘Part Of The Light’. Joining Ray will be Wilco‘s John Stirratt on bass. Ray Lamontagne will debut at Bluesfest on Easter Monday.
It’s going to be a sad but glorious cosmic farewell funk-a-thon as George Clinton & Parliament Funkadelic perform at Bluesfest for the very last time. George Clinton will retire in May 2019 – making his Bluesfest appearance one of the last of his 60+ year career. This man has single-funkedly changed the face of modern music… and he is still a major influencer and inspiration for today’s Hip-Hop and R’n’B artists. Be sure not to miss his p-funk marathon farewell sets next Easter Sunday and Monday. He is sure to “Tear The Roof Off” and ‘Shake The Gate”!!
It’s time to welcome back one of the great bands of Bluesfest – Snarky Puppy. Back in 2017 they blew the tent away with their almost jam band, almost jazz, almost country, almost R’n’B fusion of styles that results in something extraordinarily unique and mesmerizing. Grab this Snarky Puppy by the tail and hang on for a brilliant musical ride!!
Kasey Chambers is without doubt Bluesfest’s favourite daughter, and, 20 years after her first solo appearance at Bluesfest, it is somehow both fitting and prophetic that Kasey Chambers returns to Bluesfest to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the release of her ground-breaking ‘The Captain’ with a very special first-time performance of her debut album, track by track, alongside a celebration of songs from the Kasey Chambers ‘best of’ setlist.
The big soulful voice of Paul Janeway will once more lead crowd favourites St. Paul & The Broken Bones on another series of ‘Exclusive to Bluesfest’ performances. Since their roof-raising debut at Bluesfest in 2016 and their even more tent-shaking return in 2017, they have taken their Alabama gospel-blues and R’n’B sound round the world, selling out concerts everywhere and opening for the likes of The Rolling Stones in Europe. Back with a new album, Young Sick Camelia’, and a new sound, St. Paul & The Broken Bones will play Good Friday, Easter Saturday and Easter Monday.
Nahko and Medicine For The People are no strangers to Bluesfest – their conscious tribal anthems have raised the roof of the Bluesfest tent, and grown their global tribe of like-minded fans as they spread their powerful, musical message promoting social change. Known for his exciting, high-energy powerful performances Nahko Bear and his Medicine For The People is a performance not to be missed. Catch them Thursday and Friday at Bluesfest.
How cool to welcome back Tommy Emmanuel to Bluesfest. A master entertainer, multi-instrumentalist and most in-demand session guitarist Tommy Emmanuel went on to take on the world as a solo performer– and continues to do so with a packed annual touring schedule that sees him play not just solo concerts, but also hosting Tommy Emmanuel Bandcamps and Guitar Retreats where he passes on his skills to a new breed of players.
Best known as the front man for Australian hit makers, Men At Work, Colin Hay has re-introduced himself to new generations of fans with his troubadour-style solo career. His latest album,?’Fierce Mercy’, his 13th solo album, finds him at the top of his game. Alongside the thoughtful storytelling in his songs, Colin Hay’s shows are peppered with hilarious anecdotes from his, often surreal, experiences in the world of rock music. He comes to Bluesfest (the first time since 2010) and brings his US band and is sure to delight with latin-infused rhythms and sweet harmonies bringing a whole new dimension to the MAW and Colin Hay songs.
Arlo Guthrie, son of folk pioneer, Woody Guthrie, is a prolific songwriter, social commentator, master storyteller, actor and activist. His anthemic songs: “The Alice’s Restaurant Massacree”, “Coming Into Los Angeles” and “The City Of New Orleans” and his appearance in the film of legendary festival, Woodstock, made him both a star and an icon of counterculture. Arlo Guthrie plays Bluesfest for the first time since 1998. Tick that box – Don’t miss!!
Over the past twenty-five years, Keb‘ Mo’ has cultivated a reputation as a modern master of American roots music through the understated excellence of his live and studio performances: time and time again proving that he is a musical force that defies typical genre labels. His list of collaborations reads like a music industry ‘who’s who’ and last year’s album ‘Tajmo’ and tour with the legendary Taj Mahal won them botha Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Blues Album.
Tex Perkins has played a key role in Australian music. Forever the musical chameleon and demanding new challenges, Tex has moved effortlessly between Thug, The Beasts Of Bourbon, The Cruel Sea, Tex, Don & Charlie, The Dark Horses, TNT – and more recently, the theatre production of The Man In Black, starring as Johnny Cash. Be prepared to be surprised when Tex Perkins and The Fat Rubber Band grace our stages next Easter.
This will be Allen Stone’s fourth appearance at Bluesfest. Every time he visits he grows his audience and popularity. Now that he’s sort of half an aussie (tying the knot with his Melbourne fiancée in September) it’s like he’s coming back to his spiritual home – and with a suitcase full of songs new and old to raise the roof with his high energy sets.
Richard Clapton is one of Australia’s foremost singer/songwriters and paved the way for three generations of songwriters to write about the experience of being Australian. In a career that has spanned over 40 years Richard Clapton has remained omnipresent on Australian radio having penned so many of Australia’s anthems: “Girls On The Avenue”, “Goodbye Tiger”, “Deep Water”, “Capricorn Dancer” and of course, “The Best Years Of Our Lives”. If there is one performance you must see at Bluesfest – this is it!
Russell Morris is an ARIA Hall Of Fame Inductee and an Australian icon. From his early hits – “Hush”, “Baby Blue”, “Wings Of An Eagle” and “The Real Thing” – through to his most recent Blues album trilogy, ‘Sharkmouth’, ‘Van Diemen’s Land’ and ‘Red Dirt – Red Heart’ Russell Morris has grown to be a true aussie music legend, constantly in demand both here and internationally. It’s a thrill to have him return to the Bluesfest stage.
Bluesfest is stoked to welcome Kurt Vile & The Violators to Bluesfest for the very first time.
The former The War On Drugs lead guitarist has forged a heady solo career and released his sixth studio album ‘b’lieve I’m going down’ in 2015. His latest release in 2017, ‘Lotta Sea Lice’, is a collaboration with our own Courtney Barnett. One of the most exciting artists around … make sure you are down front for the two shows on Thursday and Saturday at Bluesfest next Easter.
Vintage Trouble came, saw and conquered Bluesfest two years in a row in 2016 and 2017. Their performances were nothing short of exceptional and extraordinary. Since their formation, Vintage Trouble, the self-branded “Trouble Makers” have built an immense, fervent fan base with their brand of live-wired, straight-shootin, dirty-mouth’d, pelvis-pushing juke music – don’t miss out as they take Bluesfest by storm again in 2019.
The Black Sorrows have earned the reputation as a dynamic live act. The fusion of solid grooves, well-crafted songs across differing genres – Blues, R&B, Soul, Gospel and even Country has made them one of Australia’s most enduring touring bands and a festival favourite. The Black Sorrows have won the ARIA for Best Band, played sell-out shows across Europe and sold more than two million albums worldwide. No two performances are ever the same
…. Watch these guys ROCK at Bluesfest!
It’s Party Time! The California Honeydrops, return to Bluesfest for the third year in a row, bringing their unique blend of Bay Area R&B, Southern Soul, Delta Blues, and New Orleans Second-line. Their vibrant energy and dance-party vibes are unstoppable and totally loveable…. and not to be missed.
Trevor Hall made his Bluesfest debut in 2017, and instantly won himself a legion of fans. His music – an eclectic mix of acoustic rock, reggae and Sanskrit chanting – echo with the names and teachings of divinities, while maintaining an incredibly and refreshingly universal message. While on the road, Trevor Hall sees the stage as his moving temple, a place where he can share in the experience of his spiritual journey with his audience. Uplifting and inspirational – he takes the audience on an emotional journey, moving fans to both tears and laughter.
Multi-Grammy-Award winners I’m With Her are Sara Watkins, Sarah Jarosz and Aoife O’Donovan, who between them have released nine solo efforts, co-founded two seminal bands (Nickel Creek and Crooked Still) and released their debut album ‘See You Around’ earlier this year. They have sold out shows across the USA and Europe with their instrumental interplay and indelible harmonies and were nominated for Duo/Group of the year by the Americana Music Association. First time at Bluesfest – gotta tick that ‘Must See’ box !!
Sisters Rebecca and Megan Lovell of Larkin Poe are carrying on the American roots tradition with their own innovative blend of blues, Americana and rock on their latest album “Peach”. “Peach” is comprised of half blues covers and half original material, that harkens towards Megan and Rebecca’s southern gothic heritage.
Irish Mythen was born in Ireland and now resides in Charlottetown Prince Edward Island Canada. Her latest release, the self-titled ‘Irish Mythen’, gained her recognition around the globe and have helped plant Irish Mythenfirmly on the map of ‘Must See Artists’. Returning to Bluesfest for the third time, get ready to hear one of the greatest voices in full flight!
In 2018, Bluesfest witnessed the award-winning power house that is Elephant Sessions. With their weapons grade grooves and guitar attack with quicksilver fiddle/mandolin melodies, the group fuses rich folk and trad influences with funk, rock and electronica in an instantly captivating, progressive, visceral blend. Coming straight to Bluesfest from shows in New York, Elephant Sessions will perform their only Australian dates at Blues Fest!
Bluesfest newbies, Greensky Bluegrass is Anders Beck (dobro), Michael Arlen Bont (banjo), Dave Bruzza (guitar), Mike Devol (upright bass) and Paul Hoffman (mandolin). For more than a decade and a half, the members of Greensky Bluegrass have created their own version of bluegrass music, mixing the acoustic stomp of a stringband with the rule-breaking spirit of rock & roll. They redefine that sound once again with their sixth album, ‘Shouted, Written Down & Quoted’.
Let the mayhem of mirth commence! ROCKWIZ LIVE returns to Bluesfest after too long a hiatus and we are rapt to have the whole crew back. Once more, Julia Zemiro, Brian Nankervis, Dugald and the mighty RocKwiz Orkestra, with a host of Special Guests, will be up to their old tricks featuring Kwizzing, comedy, crowd karaoke and of course, sublime music. Make sure you come early to Bluesfest on Easter Saturday and Sunday – and who knows who you are likely to catch up there on the ROCKWIZ LIVE stage…. It might be you!
Full artist bios
Jack Johnson grew up surfing and playing guitar in Hawaii. Since 2001, he has released 7 studio albums and 2 live albums that have sold over 25 million copies worldwide. Jack’s latest album, All The Light Above it Too, released in September 2017 debuted #4 on the Billboard Top 200 Albums chart. His Brushfire Records label and touring crew have been leaders in the greening of the music industry and his All At Once social action network connects fans with local non-profits at each tour stop. Jack, with his wife Kim, founded the Kokua Hawaii Foundation to support environmental education in Hawaii’s schools and communities, as well as the Johnson Ohana Foundation to support environmental, art and music education worldwide. Jack Johnson’s album, tour profits, and personal philanthropic activities have resulted in over $30 million donated to charity since 2001. For the first time since 2014, Jack Johnson hit the road for his All The Light Above it Too tour, stopping at scenic venues across North America, South America, Australia and New Zealand.
Ben Harper & The Innocent Criminals
Beginning with his 1994 debut, Welcome To The Cruel World, Ben Harper began his career by releasing a string of eight studio albums over a decade and a half. This extraordinary run, featuring the Innocent Criminals, established him as a singularly powerful songwriter and performer with range across multiple genres and an unmatched ability to blend the personal and political. The accolades poured in – Rolling Stone hailed his “jewels of unique and exquisitely tender rock & roll,” while Entertainment Weekly praised his “casual profundity,” and Billboard said his music “reminds us of the power and beauty of simplicity.” Massive, international sold-out tours, Top 10 debuts in the US, Gold and Platinum certifications worldwide, and a slew of TV appearances cemented Harper and the band’s status as genuine global stars.
Ben Harper’s history with Bluesfest is very special – This will be his sixth appearance with the Innocent Criminals and twelfth appearance overall. Since his first appearance back in 1996 he has grown to be one of Bluesfest’s favourite sons. There’s always a special place at the Bluesfest for Ben Harper – and without fail – Ben Harper always delivers a something special for Bluesfest. Welcome home Ben Harper & The Innocent Criminals.
After more than 10 years, Grammy Award winning singer/songwriter Ray LaMontagne returns to Australia – and will make his first ever performance at Bluesfest, highlighting songs from his vast and varying body of work. Joining Ray at this Bluesfest performance will be Wilco’s John Stirratt on bass. The two will be playing songs spanning across Ray’s albums including ‘Trouble’, ‘Till The Sun Turns Black’, ‘Gossip in the Grain’, ‘God Willin’ & The Creek Don’t Rise’, ‘Supernova’, ‘Ouroboros’, and ‘Part Of The Light’.
Critics across the US have been raving about his acoustic performances:
“Hearing Ray LaMontagne perform live is a poignant and magical experience,” – Consequence of Sound
“LaMontagne’s voice remains a marvel, quiet and reflective one minute and forceful and impassioned the next. It really is an amazing instrument.” – The Boston Herald
Ray LaMontagne has released 7 studio albums, 5 of which have reached Top 10 on Billboard’s Top Rock Albums chart and Billboard’s Digital Albums chart. Additionally, Ray’s 2010 album God Willin’ & the Creek Don’t Rise won the Grammy for Best Folk Album and was nominated in the coveted Song of The Year category for “Beg Steal or Borrow.” Each release from his catalogue over the last 13 years carries its own character and feel. Having worked with producers Ethan Johns, Dan Auerbach of the Black Keys and Jim James of My Morning Jacket, Ray’s vast sonic catalogue has been called everything from “a perfect throwback to the lost art of the album-length format,” from Entertainment Weekly to “epic and magical,” from Rolling Stone and “gorgeous and ambitious,” from Esquire