Bluesfest reveals 50 acts for 2021 in biggest first lineup announcement ever

Bluesfest reveals 50 acts for 2021 in biggest first lineup announcement ever

Words by Kate Streader

Bluesfest will make up for this year’s cancelled event with a whopping 2021 festival.

Bluesfest has just released the biggest first lineup announcement in the festival’s 32-year history, unveiling 50 artists locked in for next year’s event.

After being forced to cancel this year’s festival due to COVID-19 restrictions, Bluesfest has invited many of the artists originally billed for 2020 to perform at the Byron Bay festival next year, including headliners Patti Smith and Her Band, George Benson, Kool & The Gang and more.

The Bluesfest 2021 lineup also features a whole batch of newly-added acts, such as Bon Iver, Jimmy Barnes, Michael Franti & Spearhead, The Teskey Brothers, The Black Sorrows and Melbourne Ska Orchestra, as well as an exclusive performance by Weddings Parties Anything, marking their first live performance in almost a decade.

“When Bluesfest 2020 was ordered by the government to shut-down 2020 we immediately put our noses to the grindstone within days of the cancellation and got on with 2021. This artist announce is a testament to that fortitude. As this country’s most highly-awarded music festival, we are working with government to find the best possible outcomes for Bluesfest 2021,” said Festival Director Peter Noble OAM.

“We want to present another great event, one that is safe and with best-practise protocols implemented on every level. We need it, the music industry needs it and the greater community needs it. Together we will find the most prudent pathway to revive the live music industry, an industry that is aching to get back to work ASAP.”

A second artist announcement is due to drop this spring.

See the full first lineup announcement below. 

Bon Iver
Patti Smith and Her Band
Jimmy Barnes
George Benson
The Teskey Brothers
Xavier Rudd
The Cat Empire
Kool & The Gang
The Gipsy Kings
Kasey Chambers
The Waifs
Troy Cassar-Daley
Michael Franti & Spearhead
The Wailers
The Black Sorrows
Trombone Short & Orleans Avenue
Tori Kelly
Buffy Sainte-Marie
The Marcus King Band
Christone “Kingfish” Ingram
Jimmie Vaughan
John Mayall
Melbourne Ska Orchestra
Larkin Poe
Weddings Parties Anything
Ash Grunwald
The War & Treaty
Cory Henry & The Funk Apostles
Walter Trout
The Bamboos
Mick Thomas’ Roving Commission
Dami Im
Pierce Brothers
Emily Wurramara
Ray Beadle
Henry Wagons
Hussy Hicks
Pacey, King & Doley
Daniel Champagne
Nathan Cavaleri
Little Georgia
Bluesfest Busking Competition and winners
The Australian American Music Honours

Bluesfest is set to make its return from April 1 to April 5, 2021. Tickets are on sale now. 

Never miss a story. Sign up to Beat’s newsletter and you’ll be served fresh music, arts, food and culture stories five times a week.