‘It’s wonderful’: International artists set to return for 2023 Bluesfest

Bonnie Raitt, Elvis Costello, Buddy Guy and Jackson Browne are among the international stars set to play at Bluesfest in 2023 – the first time since 2019 the popular Byron Bay festival has featured overseas artists.

After two years of cancelled events due to COVID-19, audiences at this year’s Bluesfest saw Australian and New Zealand artists across four days in April. Next year’s festival, the 34th, will welcome a globetrotting mix of artists, spanning soul music to blues, rock and hip hop.

Elvis Costello is among the international stars returning to Bluesfest in 2023.Credit:James O’Mara

Veteran blues and gospel singer Mavis Staples, country music star Steve Earle, Jason Isbell, Joe Bonamassa and Lucinda Williams will be joined by Australian acts Gang of Youths, the Black Sorrows and Tash Sultana.

“Bluesfest is presenting a fully international festival experience like the legendary ones we did before the COVID era,” festival director Peter Noble said.

Lucinda Williams.Credit:Danny Clinch.

Bluesfest will take place from April 6 to April 10 at the event’s dedicated festival site in Tyagarah.

“While there are still plenty of Aussie artists [in the line-up] … it’s wonderful to once again in 2023, after four long years, be able to bring back some of the greatest blues, roots, soul, rock, hip hop, R&B, world and Americana artists back to our shores,” Noble said.

“We have our largest number of artists ever listed in our first Bluesfest artist announcement … there’s more than 40 of them.”

More artists will be added to the line-up in coming months.

Festival favourites King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard, veteran rockers Chain and multi-instrumentalist Xavier Rudd will be joined by Icelandic blues band Kaleo in an exclusive Bluesfest performance, along with five-time Grammy Award winner Keb’ Mo’ and guitarist Marcus King from South Carolina.

This year’s festival – hit by flash floods just two weeks before it began – featured headliners Midnight Oil, Crowded House and Paul Kelly.

Keb’ Mo’ is to perform at next year’s Bluesfest.Credit:Getty Images

“The challenges have been incredible,” Noble said in April.

“But our attitude is whatever it is, we’re gonna do it – you deal with the challenges.”

Among the other artists confirmed for 2023, Georgia’s Larkin Poe will make a much anticipated Bluesfest appearance, while Beth Hart will perform exclusively.

The Soul Rebels and Friends, with special guests Talib Kweli, GZA and Big Freedia, will also play.

“More good news is we’ve made the call to not increase our ticket prices,” Noble said.

“As always, there’s a large allocation of tickets, so everyone can experience the whole musical enchilada we are proud to be bringing to our shores.”

Tickets for next year’s Bluesfest are now available.

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