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Bon Iver, Patti Smith, and Jimmy Barnes Lead 2021 Bluesfest Lineup

Forced to cancel their 2020 event, Bluesfest organisers have gone all-out in delivering one of their biggest lineups to date.

2 panel image of Patti Smith and Bon Iver, two artists performing at Bluesfest 2021

Bluesfest have unveiled their massive 2021 lineup after being forced to cancel their 2020 event due to COVID-19.

Steven Sebring*; Press

UPDATE: Since the writing of this article the lineup for Bluesfest 2021 has changed due to international travel restrictions.  To see the current lineup see this article.

Bluesfest have more than exceeded expectations for next year’s event, announcing what they’ve described as a “historical” lineup for their 2021 festival.

The festival’s lineup reveal comes following a few months of heartbreak, with organisers forced to cancel the 2020 event back in April due to restrictions relating to the COVID-19 pandemic. Though a number of 2021 headline dates were announced for artists who had been scheduled to play this year’s festival, organisers kept quiet regarding who would feature on the bill for their next event, revealing the full list would arrive on July 8th.

Now, the full lineup has been revealed this morning, with the festival sharing one of its biggest bills to date, with many artists from the 2020 event signing on to appear next year instead.

Having been forced to cancel their own tour of Australia earlier this year, US folk outfit Bon Iver leads the bill, with Patti Smith and Her Band following closely behind. Meanwhile, Australian rock icon Jimmy Barnes rounds out the top line, appearing for the first time since Cold Chisel appeared at the 2012 event.

The likes of of George Benson, Kool & the Gang, The Gipsy Kings, Michael Franti & Spearhead, The Wailers, and John Mayall serve as high-profile international visitors, while John Butler, Xavier Rudd, The Cat Empire, Kasey Chambers, The Waifs, and more hold down the local representation.

Notably, the festival lineup includes an exclusive set from Weddings, Parties, Anything, who are set to play live for the first time since 2012, when Mick Thomas stated it would be the last time the band ever perform. Thomas himself is set to pull a double-shift, with his other outfit, Roving Commission, also joining the bill.

“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,” Festival Director, Peter Noble OAM explained. “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. 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.”

Noble also expressed his gratitude at the number of international artists who have signed onto the 2021 Bluesfest lineup, noting that in the event that international travel restrictions have not yet lifted by April of next year, a strong lineup of local talent will help deliver a world-class festival.

“I am so grateful to all the international artists who want to return and be a part of 2021 Bluesfest, to all the Australian artists and to everyone in our industry supporting us in leading the way back to live music,” Noble explains.

“Many of 2020s line up want to return, so we fulfilled that and included some surprises like Bon Iver, Michael Franti & Spearhead, Jimmy Barnes and The Teskey Brothers to name a few. It’s a long way to next Easter and by that time travel restrictions are sure to be different.

“In the case of no international travel I’ve programmed a damn good line up of locals and a vibrant festival experience so people can come out and play. Last week’s Early Bird ticket sales proved to me that people are keen for next year’s Bluesfest.

“Yes the future is uncertain for everyone, but humans need enjoyment, a place they can feel comfortable and trust they are in good hands, and Bluesfest is, and has always been that.”

While a second lineup announcement is expected to arrive in spring, all tickets to Bluesfest 2021 are on sale now through the festival’s official website.

Bluesfest 2021 Lineup

Bon Iver
Patti Smith and Her Band
Jimmy Barnes
George Benson
The Teskey Brothers
John Butler
Xavier Rudd
The Cat Empire
Kool & the Gang
The Gipsy Kings
Kasey Chambers
The Waifs
Troy Cassar-Daley
Michael Franti & Spearhead
The Wailers Perform Songs from Legend
The Black Sorrows
Trombone Shorty & 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 – Exclusive Show
Harts Plays Hendrix
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 & Winners
The Australian Americana Music Honours

Thursday, April 1st – Monday, April 5th, 2021
Tyagarah Tea Tree Farm, Byron Bay, NSW
More info: Bluesfest