Bluesfest Byron Bay 2017 – 1st Artist Lineup Announced

The 28th Annual Bluesfest to be held over the Easter long weekend in Byron Bay, Thursday 13th to Monday 17th April 2017, is officially ringing in its new season with the first release of awe-inspiring artists. The first artist announcement features Bluesfest debuts from iconic artists that have been many years in the making, Bluesfest exclusive performances, and the return of some of the festivals most requested artists.

Known to many festival fans for presenting its audience with multiple spectacular artist releases over several months, the five day Easter extravaganza will be held once again at its lush 120 hectare home, just outside Byron Bay. Bluesfest delivers up to 12 hours of music daily across multiple undercover stages, as well as offering an abundance of food and market stalls, several bars, parking and camping on site.

The multiple award-winning Bluesfest has already reported record pre-sales for 2017 and now with only one artist announcement down, is already shaping up to be another extraordinary festival and the only place to be on the 2017 Easter long weekend.

The first 2017 Bluesfest artist announcement includes:


….with many more to be announced!

Peter Noble OAM, Festival Director of Bluesfest, comments on the Bluesfest 2017 Artist Launch:

Here it is my fellow Bluesfest friends – it’s finally arrived – the very first 2017 artist announcement for our 28th season and it’s hot off the press.

We are pleased and honoured to be announcing absolute legends, some of whom are ONLY playing at Bluesfest. In addition we are presenting some of the most leading edge contemporary artists of today, and of course, the return of much admired favourites, including ones from Bluesfest 2016.

It must be hard to believe, but it is very true, that months, and in a few cases, years of work have gone into this artist announcement.

It has taken over three years to get the very in demand Patti Smith confirmed, a similar time also for Billy Bragg. Patti will perform her acclaimed album Horses in its entirety.

We will pay homage to the current King of the Blues, Buddy Guy who at 80 years old is still delivering incredible live performances. His two exclusive plays at Bluesfest will be the only opportunity to see him in Australia.

Same for Mavis Staples, who we are paying our huge respect to, over four exclusive performances. We love Mavis and so does her adoring audience.

The much requested Beth Hart will return for exclusive plays, plus one of the audience favourites from Bluesfest 2016, St. Paul & The Broken Bones are returning, playing three times at Bluesfest and gosh, we wish they were performing every one of our five days and nights.

Even in a year between tours of Australia, Paul and the guys have gone to another level. They are selling out theatres everywhere, and played one of the main stages at Glastonbury 2016. If you haven’t yet seen them, you are missing the rise of what will surely be one of the world’s biggest bands. Paul is simply a great singer. Think Van Morrison in his youth….I exaggerate not.

There is so much more in this announcement, as well as the coming ones, which will be occurring on a regular basis.

To have the Zac Brown Band, The Lumineers, Laura Mvula, Andrew Bird, Turin Brakes, St. Paul & The Broken Bones and Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue within one announcement, would be enough for many contemporary music festivals and would comprise their entire event.

For us, we are only getting started. With all the legendary artists on top, and Blues, Soul, Roots specialists right up there, this 25 artist announcement – our biggest first ever – is one we are very proud of.

I could ramble on for days.

But simple, check it all out and you will find Bluesfest 2017 is going to go down as one of our great ones…and you ain’t seen nothing yet.

And I mean it.

Peter Noble OAM
Byron Bay Bluesfest

Three-time Grammy winners and multi-platinum artists Zac Brown Band are returning to the festival after making a momentous impression at Bluesfest 2015. Their latest platinum-certified album JEKYLL + HYDE, marks the band’s third consecutive #1 debut on the Billboard 200 chart.

Zac Brown Band have become one of music’s most heralded acts, together with their four platinum-selling albums, JEKYLL + HYDE, Uncaged, You Get What You Give, and The Foundation, and their 2013 project The Grohl Sessions Vol. 1, they have sold over eight million albums to date.

The band has also earned a historic series of fifteen #1 hit radio singles and became only the second artist to top both the country and active rock formats. Bluesfest is honoured to welcome back the mighty Zac Brown Band.

It is a dream come true for Bluesfest to announce Patti Smith and her band for their first ever Bluesfest performance. It has been eight years since Patti Smith last came to Australia, and nearly 41 years since the release of her first and most celebrated recording Horses. A perfect time for her to return.

Author, artist, performer, 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. We are truly excited that she and her band, co-founder Lenny Kaye, Jay Dee Daugherty, Tony Shanahan and Jack Petruzzelli will perform Horses in its entirety at Bluesfest, as well as several time-honoured favourites.

In November of 1975, Patti Smith and her band recorded her debut album Horses at the famous Electric Lady Studios in New York City. An album that has come to be regarded as a seminal and landmark recording, that continues to have resonance and relevance for succeeding generations of musicians and artists. Smith will honour the longevity and lasting influence of Horses with a special Bluesfest show centered around the album.

Patti Smith is no doubt an iconic influence, an ever commanding presence in our creative world. It will be a privilege and a pleasure to have her perform at the 2017 Bluesfest.

Another tremendous addition to the line-up for 2017 is The Lumineers, the band from Denver, Colorado that the Bluesfest audience fell in love with back in 2013. After exploding onto the scene with their monster single, ‘Ho Hey’ (which spent a staggering 62 weeks on the Billboard Hot 100, peaking at #3) and its follow-up, ‘Stubborn Love’ (recently featured on President Barack Obama’s Spotify playlist), The Lumineers spent a solid three years touring six of the seven continents.

During that time, The Lumineers, whose original members Wesley Schultz and Jeremiah Fraites founded the band in Ramsey, New Jersey back in 2002, earned a pair of Grammy nominations (Best New Artist, Best Americana Album) and sold an impressive 1.7 million albums in the U.S., and 3 million worldwide.

It took four years for The Lumineers to follow up their platinum-plus, multi-Grammy-nominated, self-titled debut -which spent 46 weeks on the Billboard 200 and peaked at #2 and now The Lumineers will be returning to Bluesfest with their eagerly anticipated sophomore album Cleopatra.

Cleopatra proves Schultz and Fraites, along with cellist/vocalist Neyla Pekarek are neither taking their good fortune for granted, nor sitting back on their laurels. It has seen the band undertake a massive world tour, selling out multiple dates and playing arena and amphitheatre shows.

Buddy Guy, THE KING OF THE BLUES, will be coming to Australia next Easter to perform exclusively at Bluesfest. The iconic blues guitarist and singer, who is now 80 years old has been a pivotal force in music history. Buddy Guy has influenced titans like Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, Jimmy Page, Jeff Beck and Stevie Ray Vaughan, is a pioneer of Chicago’s fabled West Side sound, and a living link to that city’s halcyon days of electric blues.

A Bluesfest favourite, Buddy Guy was inducted into the Musicians Hall of Fame in 2014 and has received seven Grammy Awards, 34 Blues Music Awards (the most any artist has received), a 2015 Lifetime Achievement Grammy Award, a Kennedy Center Honor, the Billboard magazine Century Award for distinguished artistic achievement, and the Presidential National Medal of Arts. Rolling Stone rank him at # 23 in its “100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time.”

The legendary Buddy Guy released his latest studio album Born To Play Guitar in 2015, which debuted at #1 on Billboard’s Top Blues Albums chart, featuring guest appearances by Van Morrison, Joss Stone, Kim Wilson and Billy Gibbons.

Bluesfest is proud to announce another Rock and Roll Hall of Famer on the Bluesfest line-up, the inimitable Bonnie Raitt. Bonnie Raitt is more than a best-selling artist, respected guitarist, expressive singer and accomplished songwriter….Bonnie Raitt has become an institution in American Music.

Last performing at Bluesfest in 2013, the ten-time Grammy winner is returning with her twentieth album Dig In Deep (2016), the follow up to her critically acclaimed Slipstream (2012). Bonnie Raitt will be joined by her long time touring band: James “Hutch” Hutchinson (bass), Ricky Fataar (drums), and George Marinelli (guitar), along with Mike Finnigan (keyboards).

Mavis Staples, one of the greatest gospel, soul and blues singers of all time, is returning in 2017 for four exclusive Bluesfest performances. Mavis Staples has managed to remain a leading voice in a career that has spanned over 60 years, she recently toured with Bob Dylan on his U.S. Summer tour and released her latest album Livin’ on a High Note in 2016.

After much speculation Billy Bragg will be joining the Bluesfest bill, today the festival officially announces he will be making his Bluesfest debut in 2017. Billy Bragg has been a fearless recording artist, tireless live performer and peerless political campaigner for over 30 years. Billy Bragg has collaborated with Wilco, Natalie Merchant and more recently Joe Henry on their new album Shine a Light.

Ian Anderson, known throughout the world of rock music as the flute and voice behind the legendary Jethro Tull, is bringing Jethro Tull back to Bluesfest in 2017. Jethro Tull were, by the mid-seventies, one of the most successful live performing acts on the world stage, rivalling Zeppelin, Elton John and even the Rolling Stones. After a lengthy career, Ian Anderson and Jethro Tull have released 30 studio and live albums, selling more than 60 million copies since the band first performed at London’s famous Marquee Club in February 1968.

Another Bluesfest favourite making a return in 2017 is the incredible Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue who will be back and bigger than ever. The bigger version of the band will once again be led by New Orleans born Troy Andrews, who began his career as a bandleader at the young age of six, toured internationally at age 12, and spent his teens playing with various brass bands throughout New Orleans and touring worldwide with Lenny Kravitz.

Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue are set for another non-stop party of an improvisational mix of hard-edge funk, hip hop, rock and Jazz, fuelled by a blistering horn section and Andrews’ on-stage charm and trombone and trumpet mastery.

Gregory Porter, the Grammy winning Jazz, soul, and gospel singer, will return to Australia for his Bluesfest debut after performing his first ever Australian shows this September celebrating Take Me To The Alley (2016), the much-anticipated follow-up to his sensational 2013 Blue Note debut Liquid Spirit.

The charismatic Californian will be here to breathe life, vitality, fun, and excitement into the musical genres he has loved from boyhood, ever since Nat “King” Cole entered his heart. It is this passion and dedication that has led Gregory Porter to signing with Blue Note Records, collaborating with renowned musicians including Van Morrison, Stevie Wonder, and fellow Bluesfest 2017 performer Laura Mvula and building and broadening his audience of music lovers internationally.

Bluesfest welcomes Snarky Puppy, this once Texan, now New York based quasi-collective in their Bluesfest debut. Snarky Puppy has gone from the best kept secret to one of the most respected names in instrumental music. Snarky Puppy seamlessly fuses a deep knowledge and respect for musical tradition with sonic and conceptual innovation in a way that is able to reach the most critical or most carefree audience. This convergence of musicians from white and black America have performed regularly with artists like Erykah Badu, Snoop Dogg, Kirk Franklin, Justin Timberlake, Roy Hargrove, and Marcus Miller among others.

Snarky Puppy is led by bassist/guitarist/composer/arranger Michael League, whose creative grass roots approach to a tougher than ever industry has created a new model for independent artists.

After St. Paul & The Broken Bones tore the house down at their phenomenal Bluesfest debut in 2016, a campaign followed to bring them back in 2017. It is with great pleasure that Bluesfest announces the return of the recently expanded Alabama soul eight-piece led by the charismatic Paul Janeway, whose vocals have been compared to the likes of Otis Redding.

Since they made their roof-raising debut at Bluesfest this year, St. Paul & The Broken Bones have been selling out theatres across the globe, performed on one of the main stages at Glastonbury Festival and will be releasing their sophomore album Sea of Noise this September. Sea of Noise is a successor to their 2013 debut album Half the City. Influences like Sly Stone, David Bowie and Prince spill from both albums amongst their infectious ‘60s soul fire grooves. The countdown begins to see this incredible band back at Bluesfest.

Vocal powerhouse Beth Hart gained a reputation as one of the ‘buzz artists’ at Bluesfest in 2014 and 2015, and will be returning in 2017 for Bluesfest exclusive performances. Beth Hart is on fire. Right now, the Grammy nominated singer-songwriter is riding a creative tidal wave, firing out acclaimed albums, hooking up with the biggest names in music and rocking the house each night with that celebrated burnt‐honey voice.

Beth Hart, will be returning to Bluesfest with her new album Fire On The Floor (2016) set for release in Australia this October. Fire On The Floor is the follow up to Beth’s 2015 release Better Than Home, a critical and commercial smash that topped the iTunes Blues Chart and was crowned #4 Best Blues Album Of The Year by Mojo magazine. Fire On The Floor is sure to build on her breakneck momentum and has seen Beth Hart go on an extensive tour that will pack houses all over the world and perform exclusively for Bluesfest next Easter.

One of the most exciting musical talents to come out of the UK, soul singer-songwriter Laura Mvula is bound to win over many hearts next Easter. The classically trained vocalist has been compared to the likes of Nina Simone and will no doubt own the stage at Bluesfest. Having caught the attention of her musical heroes Jill Scott, Erykah Badu and Prince whilst performing at the Pyramid Stage at Glastonbury, Laura has gone on to travel the world, selling out shows and captivating crowds.

Laura Mvula’s debut album Sing to the Moon (2013) earned her a swag of prestigious award nominations and wins and her sophomore album The Dreaming Room (2016) has been nominated for a 2016 Mercury Prize for Album of the Year.

It will be 12 years since American funk, soul and jazz composer and vibraphone player Roy Ayers last graced the Bluesfest stage. Born in Los Angeles in 1940, Roy began to demonstrate his musical aptitude by the tender age of five, by which time he was playing boogie woogie tunes on the piano. He turned to the steel guitar by the age of nine, had stints during his teens playing flute, trumpet and drums before embracing the vibes as his instrument of choice.

Roy Ayers, who has been hailed as the Godfather of Neo Soul, is a key figure in the acid jazz movement, the number one vibraphone player and one of the most sampled artists in history, including his songs ‘Everybody Loves The Sunshine’, ‘Searchin’, and ‘Running Away’.
Another exciting addition to the first artist announcement is the iconic Booker T. presenting the Stax Records Revue. It will be a rare opportunity to see the classic Stax Records repertoire, performed by the man who wrote so many of the songs and played on the original recordings.

Booker T. will be honouring some of the greatest soul classics from the legendary Stax Records label with his band, a horn section and singers. Booker T.’s Stax Revue will be performing the classic Stax repertoire including; ‘Green Onions’ (Booker T. & the MG’s), ‘Try A Little Tenderness’ (Otis Redding), ‘Mr Big Stuff’ (Jean Knight), ‘Gee Whiz’ (Carla Thomas), ‘Respect’ (Otis Redding/ Aretha Franklin), ‘Born Under A Bad Sign’ (Albert King), ‘Time Is Tight’ (Booker T. & the MG’s), ‘Hold On I’m Comin’ (Sam & Dave) and ‘When Something Is Wrong With My Baby’(Sam & Dave).

After premiering this special show in the U.S, Booker T., a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee, Musician Hall of Fame inductee, Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award recipient and winner of four Grammy Awards is excited to be presenting this journey through soul, blues and R&B in Australia for the very first time at Bluesfest.

Music innovator Andrew Bird is coming to Bluesfest for the first time in 2017, he began to play the violin at age four, learning to play Bach and Mozart by ear as if they were folk tunes. The singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist will be coming to Bluesfest off the back of his most recent release Are You Serious (2016) featuring contributions from Fiona Apple and Blake Mills. Classically trained, Andrew Bird is known to attract adoring fans who connect with his personal and relatable lyrics, expect to hear a mass whistle-along at his Bluesfest debut.

Two-time Grammy winner Rickie Lee Jones will be making her Bluesfest debut in 2017. Rickie Lee Jones exploded onto the pop scene in 1979 and has made a career of fearlessly experimenting with her sound and persona over 15 critically acclaimed albums. Rickie is both a character in the songs and the songwriter singing, defying convention with her sometimes brazen sexuality and the mixed bag of jazz, rock and what has come to be known as ‘confessional’ songwriter performances. Her latest album The Other Side of Desire (2015) was written, recorded and rooted in the city of New Orleans, where Jones lives.

Joan Osborne has rightfully earned a reputation as one of the great voices of her generation, her 1995 single ‘One of Us’ went to #1 on the Australian Aria Chart. A multi-platinum selling recording artist and seven-time Grammy Award nominee, the soulful vocalist and noted song interpreter is a highly sought after collaborator and guest performer who has performed alongside many notable artists, including Stevie Wonder, Bob Dylan and fellow Bluesfest 2017 performer Patti Smith to name a few.

Counting such legendary artists as Etta James and Ray Charles as influences, Osborne is firmly rooted in R&B and soul, as evidenced by the soul covers she has recorded on her albums How Sweet It Is, Breakfast In Bed and Bring It On Home, which garnered a Best Blues Album nomination at the 2013 Grammy Awards. Osborne’s latest solo recording, Love and Hate, is one of the most personally charged, creatively ambitious efforts of her two decades plus recording career.

Turin Brakes will celebrate their Bluesfest debut in 2017, showcasing the band’s latest work from their seventh studio album Lost Property, which was released in January 2016. This collection of dispatches from the elusive side of reality – trademark West-Coast acoustic guitar and widescreen harmony textures wrap themselves around the enigmatic explorations of normality at the heart of front man Olly Knight’s lyrics.

Sixteen years of touring across continents have sealed Turin Brakes reputation as a fearsome live act, able to hold any size crowd with the sheer chutzpah of their no-hidden-tricks raw and direct onstage presence.

Juno Award winning Canadian band The Strumbellas are also making their Bluesfest debut in 2017. Their hit Spirits (2016) went to #1 on the Billboard Alternative Songs Chart and worldwide has been streamed 43+ million times on Spotify. The Strumbellas got their start in 2009 with their eponymous EP release, in 2012 the band released their debut album My Father and The Hunter, the album offered a beautiful, harmonious dichotomy between melancholy heartbreak and blow-the-barn-doors-off spunk, a sound that would become synonymous with their music. In 2014 the six-piece folk rockers laid claim to the SiriusXM Indies award for Folk Group of the Year, the Ottawa Folk Festival’s Supernova Rising Star Award and nabbed the Canadian Folk Music Award for Contemporary Album of the Year. In their latest album Hope (2016), the band has harnessed a vivid alternative rock sound that was itchin’ to get out of them.

Another Bluesfest favourite, Hawaiian ukulele master Jake Shimabukuro is returning in 2017, his music has redefined the ukulele for the 21st century, and has led to collaborations with the likes of Jimmy Buffett, Bela Fleck & The Flecktones, Bette Midler, Cyndi Lauper, Ziggy Marley and more. Jake Shimabukuro will be bringing material from his latest album Nashville Sessions, set for release in September.

Dumpstaphunk are coming to Bluesfest in 2017, the group stand out among New Orleans’ best as one of the funkiest bands to ever arise from the Crescent City. In Big Easy tradition, the former band members of Keith Richards band, The X-Pensive Winos, Ivan and Ian Neville send the groove into overdrive with the Hammond B3 keys and funky guitar riffs, while they are duelling baselines from Tony Hall and Nick Daniels III, the dirtiest rhythm section on the planet.

This original late night band recently welcomed their newest member, Alvin Ford Jr. to the quintet, a New Orleans born and raised powerhouse drummer. They will be releasing a live album in 2016 featuring special guests Mike Gordon, John Popper, Art “Poppa Funk” Neville, John Oates, Lukas Nelson, Angelo Moore, Nicki Bluhm, Natalie Cressman, Brandon “TAZ” Niederauer, Big Chief, Mojo Hanna, Jon Cleary and The SteelTown Horns. The Bluesfest audience will get on the funk, watching Dumpstaphunk toss around lead vocal and four-part harmonies ignited with a deep, gritty groove, that dares listeners not to move.

Nikki Hill, the queen of soul, who can also rock out with the best of them is coming back by popular demand, you just cannot miss Nikki’s take on AC/DC’s ‘Whole Lotta Rosie’ it’s a classic. Hailing from North Carolina, and influenced mostly by Little Richard, Nikki comes by her Deep South soul honestly. This blues shouter and growler is a bona-fide rock’n’roll diva that has audiences wrapped around her finger. After wowing the crowds at Bluesfest in 2015, Nikki Hill and her band have been touring extensively following the independent Heavy Hearts, Hard Fists(October 2015).

Raised in the church choir and steeped in R&B and garage rock rumble, Nikki Hill is a spitfire with the soul-drenched voice of Etta James and the tattooed, beehived-hair aura of Cramps’ guitarist Poison Ivy.

True power inspires awe, and Irish Mythen packs a lot of it – lyrical, musical, and personal – into a relatively small frame. After seeing Irish Mythen perform live, you are left with a sense of wanting more. No wonder Bluesfest fans were requesting the return of this globetrotting troubadour – an Irish-born, contemporary Canadian folk artist who mesmerised the Bluesfest audience in 2016 with her impactful and impressive live show.

A tour-de-force that finds Irish combining her contemporary and catchy anthems with traditional tunes borrowed from her homeland, woven together with a signature blend of edgy humour and heartfelt storytelling. Irish Mythen might be small-statured, but this powerhouse simply commands attention with her presence and charisma.


All 5, 3 & 1 day festival and camping tickets are now on sale through or by phoning the Bluesfest office on 02 6685 8310

Thursday 13th to Monday 17th April 2017