Huge Collabs & 600 Kilos Of Avocados: We Wrap Up A Very Special Bluesfest

23 April 2019 | 2:21 pm | Staff Writer

We don’t even know where to start.

Bluesfest’s huge 30th anniversary celebration across the long weekend more than lived up to the hype, with a slew of memorable performances, collabs and more across five days.

Festival Director Peter Noble described the event as “wonderful”, adding: “We tried some new things and it seems they really worked,” while highlighting sets from Jack White’s group The Saboteurs (“absolutely brilliant”), Paul Kelly, Julia Stone, Kasey Chambers, Yothu Yindi and Mojo Juju, just to name a few.

With 150 performances across the weekend, it's not surprising that crew and artists consumed a whopping 2.5 tonnes of vegetables and 912kg of meat, while the Avocado Hut sold more than 600kg of avocados, Pink Lotus produced 1 tonne of fresh produce and Sauerkraut Sisters delivered 75kgs in sauerkraut. Holy guacamole.

Here's what else went down at Bluesfest 2019.


  • Irish Mythen delivered “a beautiful blend of raw lyrics, gripping guitar and honestly one of the trendiest haircuts in the folk game”.
  • The California Honeydrops were tight, proving why they’d been invited back for the third year in a row.
  • “Looking more like a Zumba class at times than a band, [Nahko & Medicine For The People were] a real treat for such an early time slot in the festival.”
  • “No one slays as much as Samantha Fish and cuts from her latest album Belle Of The West go down like smooth bourbon.”
  • Kurt Vile’s rolling psychedelic torpor had everyone hooked from the moment he graced the stage.
  • Mavis Staples may have not pulled the biggest crowd in the Bluesfest grounds but she definitely brought the most fun.”
  • “Being one of the few synth/drum and bass focused bands at Bluesfest must be daunting, but the crowd welcomed [Six60] with open arms.”
  • “Bruce 'The Boss' Springsteen ain’t no fool - Steven Van Zandt can play. And is there anything more wholesome than an artist shredding on guitar while giggling? The man might be Bluesfest personified in this very instance.”

Read the full day one review here.

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Bluesfest 2019 - Day One!

Check out the highlights from day one of Bluesfest 2019! 💥🎶 Limited tickets remain:

Posted by Bluesfest Byron Bay on Thursday, April 18, 2019


  • “There’s flossing, classic hip hop call and response, bird facts and, at one point, DOBBY even punches his bracelet off.”
  • Despite an early set, Melody Angel didn’t hold back for a second, her solos being the fresh cup of coffee we needed to get day two in motion.
  • Blending searing solos with a huge voice, The Marcus King Band had our blood pumping.
  • Snarky Puppy deliver some of the best funk jams we've heard this year; some parts cinematic, other parts an all-out disco. The entire set is a master-stroke in making your audience move.”
  • Imelda May is the equivalent of sneaking through security undetected, delivering the smoothest rockabilly-flavoured set we are most likely going to see this weekend.”
  • Norah Jones produced a “magical”, piano-driven set.
  • “The award for the most intense cramming of people into one area this year goes to Hozier, whose luscious locks attract an absolutely insane number of people to the main stage.”
  • Gary Clark Jr’s set was “sleek and just so damn cool, nothing more really needs to be said”.
  • We had to pinch ourselves listening to Iggy Pop play Search & Destroy, Gimme Danger, 1969 and No Fun live.

Read the full day two review here.

Day 2 Bluesfest Highlights!

Take a look at the highlights from day two of Bluesfest 2019! 💥🎶 🎫 Limited tickets remain:

Posted by Bluesfest Byron Bay on Friday, April 19, 2019


  • “Starting with RocKwiz Live, when we see the JAMBALAYA tent overflowing with people we have to question SBS’ decision to cancel the show - just give the people what they want!”
  • Vintage Trouble erupt at MOJO, lead singer Ty Taylor orchestrating the rhythm centre stage. The buzzword here is energy.”
  • “While his appearance may be more suited to Splendour In The Grass, Allen Stone's voice is 100% Bluesfest.”
  • Tommy Emmanuel was “the perfect soundtrack for an afternoon of blissed out finger picking. Consider us impressed”.
  • “[Larkin Poe] deliver some cosy blues-rock with a bit more grit than most bands today, not that we are complaining.”
  • Colin Hay is one of the many Bob Dylan-esque songwriters on the lineup who delivers on making the audience's jaws drop immediately.”
  • Yothu Yindi & The Treaty Project: “A set with everlasting power for all ages, as the iconic Treaty closes proceedings, it's a poignant reminder that nearly 30 years on, this is still an unresolved issue.”
  • “[Kasey Chambers’] early set highlight of huge hit Not Pretty Enough absolutely shatters us, but a surprise Hank Williams cover of Ramblin' Man blows our mind.”
  • Fresh from a guest appearance with Yothu Yindi & The Treaty Project, [Baker Boy] is just so damn fun. 
  • “Opening with the fuzzy swing of Pink Balloon, [Ben Harper & The Innocent Criminals] then jam their way through a cavalcade of both Harper's solo work and the bluesy goodness of the band's originals.”

Read the full day three review here.

Bluesfest 2019 - Day Three💥

DAY THREE 💥🎶 Limited tickets remain for Sunday & Monday:

Posted by Bluesfest Byron Bay on Saturday, April 20, 2019


  • “[Miss Velvet & The Blue Wolf] waste no time jumping into a lengthy blues rock jam which hits us harder than the double shot latte we had minutes previous.”
  • “If you take one thing away from today’s review, let it be this: don’t sleep on Fantastic Negrito. Hot damn.”
  • The War & Treaty are an example of a fresh band making their way into the history books with unreal voices.”
  • “[Deva Mahal’s] voice makes us cry, makes us dance and makes us believe that Ariana Grande was right when she said 'God is a woman'.”
  • Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats’ unleash a “blues rock explosion”.
  • Playing to a PACKED crowd, Melbourne Ska Orchestra deliver a “real fun time with film and TV show covers, band-audience call and response, mid-song selfies and in true orchestral style, music stand banners”.
  • “Don't let the fact that [Anderson East] has a track on the ‘Fifty Shades’ soundtrack distract you from the fact that his live show is one for the books.”
  • Jack Johnson: “There’s a return to the simple things tonight; a guy and a guitar, up on stage playing music with his mates.”
  • George Clinton & Parliament Funkadelic: “With the third generation of Funkadelic in tow, Clinton delivers ten fold on his final Australian shows.”

Read the full day four review here.

Bluesfest 2019 - Sunday!

Day FOUR 💖 🎶

Posted by Bluesfest Byron Bay on Sunday, April 21, 2019


  • Māmā Mihirangi & The Māreikura kicked off the fifth and final day of Bluesfest 2019 with a powerful set.
  • “Bringing trap-rap beats to the otherwise blues and roots-focused stages, Thando is a major left-field choice for the Bluesfest line-up but her otherworldly voice reels any naysayers in.”
  • Julia Stone illuminates us early in the day with a surprise set where it’s apparent far too many people are still sleeping in.”
  • Mojo Juju was a “delight to watch, especially so with guitar in hand, despite the clear oversight of not playing the MOJO stage”.
  • Ray LaMontagne’s voice is haunting, and his reverb-laden lap steel rings out like a ghost in the night.”
  • “In reality, [Lukas Nelson & Promise Of The Real] is somehow ten times better than expectations.”
  • “We’re obsessed with David Gray’s signature bobblehead dance moves.”
  • The Saboteurs: “The tent isn’t packed but the air is electric and [Jack] White is mopping the sweat off his face and combing his hair between tracks.”
  • Paul Kelly: “With this being the last hurrah of Bluesfest, the cheers can be heard all the way across the Byron Shire. Summoned back on stage, PK quenches our blues thirst one last time as we meet him in the middle of the air.”

Read the full day five review here.

Monday - Bluesfest 2019!

Highlights from day five of Bluesfest 2019. Thank YOU for making our 30th one to remember 💥

Posted by Bluesfest Byron Bay on Monday, April 22, 2019


Once again, Bluesfest offered up some top-notch onstage collaborations:

Kasey Chambers’ set included surprise after surprise, with Ben Harper, The War & Treaty, Tommy Emmanuel and the Veronicas all joining her.

Ben Harper reciprocated, inviting Chambers to join him as well as Jack Johnson.

Leesa Gentz of Gold Coast duo Hussy Hicks graced the stage during Lukas Nelson’s set for a performance of Shallow from A Star Is Born.

Gary Clark Jr welcomed Lukas Nelson and Marcus King on stage.

Sunday night headliner Jack Johnson shared the spotlight with special guests Lukas Nelson, Gary Clark Jr and Paula Fuga.

George Clinton & Parliament Funkadelic teamed up with Little Steven.

Yothu Yindi & the Treaty Project welcome a slew of epic talent to the stage, including Deline Briscoe, Emma Donovan, Baker Boy, Mojo Juju and more.