One of the most highly anticipated dates on the Aussie festival calendar is the first Bluesfest artist announcement, and the fan favourite has come out all guns blazing with a massive 2017 line-up boasting headline sets from Zac Brown Band, Patti Smith and her band performing her seminal Horses album, an exclusive performance from blues icon Buddy Guy and a whole lot more.
The first in a series of numerous artist announcements doesn't disappoint with an eclectic bill of festival regulars, Aussie exclusives and exciting Bluesfest debuts transcending on Tyagarah Tea Tree Farm (just north of Bryon Bay) for five days across the Easter long weekend, Thurs 13 – Mon 17 Apr, for the 28th iteration of the award-winning event.
Anyone who caught American country and folk ensemble Zac Brown Band at Bluesfest 2015 knows just how well their acclaimed records translate to the stage, so it’s not surprising the Atlanta group were quick to grace the festival with their presence again. They return with their new record Jekyll + Hyde, which dropped shortly after their last visit Down Under.
In what’s been described as a “dream come true”, Bluesfest have locked down rock icon Patti Smith and her band for the Rock’N’Roll Hall Of Fame inductee’s first Aussie performance in eight years. If that wasn’t enough, they'll perform her debut album, 1975’s seminal Horses, in full at their Bluesfest debut, with band co-founder Lenny Kaye and Jay Dee Daugherty, Tony Shanahan and Jack Petruzzelli in tow. It’s rare you get to see a living legend perform such a masterpiece live.
A change of pace sees Ho Hey hitmakers The Lumineers return after a 2013 appearance. The prolific act have no doubt honed their skillset even further since then, and their recent single Stubborn Love won over President Barack Obama's, featuring on his Spotify playlist, which is pretty impressive, to say the least.
Another genre legend, the King of Blues, Buddy Guy, is one of three Aussie exclusives on the first announce - alongside Mavis Staples and Beth Hart – and has 80 years of blues experience to unleash. Prepare for the schooling of a lifetime.
Without further ado, here’s the first artist announcement in all its glory, curated to compliment the festival’s picturesque 120-hectare venue:
Zac Brown Band, Patti Smith and her band performing Horses, The Lumineers, Buddy Guy (exclusive), Bonnie Raitt, Mavis Staples (exclusive), Billy Bragg, Jethro Tull, Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue, Gregory Porter, Snarky Puppy, St. Paul & The Broken Bones, Beth Hart (exclusive), Laura Mvula, Roy Ayers, Booker T presents The Stax Records Revue, Andrew Bird, Rickie Lee Jones, Joan Osborne, Turin Brakes, The Strumbellas, Jake Shimabukuro, Dumpstaphunk, Nikki Hill, Irish Mythen and more to be announced.
Bluesfest director Peter Noble said pulling together this year’s impressive line-up was no easy feat.
“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,” Noble said.
“It has taken over three years to get the very in demand Patti Smith confirmed, a similar time also for Billy Bragg.
“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.”
Festival and camping passes are now on sale via the Bluesfest website, and you can get a taste of the 2017 line-up below.
Tyagarah Tea Tree Farm, Tyagarah