Bluesfest Director Calls For More Support From Triple J; Lashes Kendrick Lamar Haters

13 November 2015 | 6:47 pm | Uppy Chatterjee

"Triple j won't present Bluesfest because we put older people on."

In a long and open conversation with Rolling Stone's Mathew Coyte, celebrated Bluesfest director Peter Noble dished up the enlightening process behind putting rap king Kendrick Lamar on next year's festival line-up, as well as some criticism of triple j's lack of support of Bluesfest's "older" artists.

Noble explains that his decision to book Lamar was a "pretty obvious no brainer", coming down to the fact that the man is "a work of genius". 

"I was on a plane from London to Singapore, I was lucky enough to fly business class, sorry, and I was getting tired and they've got such great music on Singapore Airlines I put on To Pimp A Butterfly and fell asleep. By the time I got to Singapore I must've heard it half a dozen times and fallen in love with it. I thought it was a work of genius, the best thing I've heard in rap and hip hop since Eminem came out, and yes I'm a blues promoter, but I just went, "I gotta have this act." 

"I started talking to people, the guys at Live Nation, Michael, hyping them up and they went with it. They said, "you must be crazy, you've done rap and hip hop at Bluesfest before, Jurassic 5 and The Roots, but never the best artist in rap right now, Kendrick." He's just so far in front, what he's doing is genius stuff, he might be the first rap artist ever, in my memory, could be wrong, to win the album of the year Grammy. It's certainly going to come between him and Taylor Swift and we don't want her. He's a shoo-in, he'll win the rap Grammy... but he's redefined the genre. 

"He's talking about what it's like being a black man in America, to feel like you're a shooting target for the police. But he's not saying it like, fuck the police, he's doing it like, "hey, I'm afraid. These guys might just do me in." And much more than that. He's a work of genius, I think it's the best record that's come out this year, and if I wasn't being the guy that was promoting it, I wouldn't be having the festival that's nominated for the Pollstar award. It's that bloody simple. Some people are saying, "You don't know what you're doing, you're on crack, you're putting a headliner on Bluesfest who's a rapper" ... But a work of genius in any genre is a work of genius and that's the best album out this year, easy, by a country mile. That's why he's on Bluesfest."

When asked whether Noble has an addiction of sorts to adding more and more acts to the festival, Noble disagrees, saying of course a budget is adhered to. 

"You've got to spend X amount of money to get an event at a certain level where hopefully it means a lot to different types of people. There are a number of events in Australia that are just based on triple j programming because they know they're going to get a presents, they're going to get all this free marketing on a station that's #3 in some cities. You can't buy that. But the event is only that and only appealing to one audience. Personally, I don't wanna do it. Triple j won't present Bluesfest because we put older people on. Even though Kendrick Lamar is presented by triple j, but because Kendrick Lamar is playing Bluesfest with Brian Wilson and UB40, they won't present us. 

"I say this with respect to Richard Kingsmill and people like that, there's a whole lot of events with triple j-friendly artists that you're programming and playing, mixed with other artists, and it would be really nice if you could jump over their shadow and get behind them as well, rather than events that just do what you do."