A word from our Festival Director, Peter Noble OAM

Arts’ presenter Peter Noble, Festival Director of Bluesfest, who won the Keeping the Blues Alive Award presented in Memphis, Tennessee, in 2018 by the Blues Foundation, had the following to say about Bluesfest 2024. 


“I have booked many, many editions of Bluesfest in the past, but I have not had one come together as well as this one did in so many ways. There were brilliant performances every single day of the festival, beginning with Taj Farrant at the camper’s festival on Wednesday before the event officially started.


From the first day to the last, there were so many outstanding performances. It’s really difficult to pick anyone out, but I will try. There were discovery artists such as Here Come the Mummies, Sweet Talk, Ben Swissa, who won our Buskers competition last year and within a year is now signed with the William Morris Agency and Island Records.


Other Standout performances included Erja Lyytinen and The Women of Soul Collective, who received rave reviews. Katie Malua, Drive-By Truckers, Tom Jones, and Tedeschi Trucks Band cemented their reputation as the world’s best live music band today.


Snarky Puppy was brilliant.  There were so many. Of course, we loved Tom Jones, and we counted more than 40 pieces of underwear thrown onto the stage.


PJ Morton, a five-time GRAMMY winner, brought positive messages of faith and inspiration. He will be back. Standout artists included Brad Cox, who has already agreed to come back and play Bluesfest next year, the brilliant Yirrmal, and many more. But there will also be many, many brand-new artists next year.


Peter Garrett‘s performance was outstanding. The Teskey Brothers followed him, and they were brilliant. And before all of that, Jimmy Barnes was inspirational. Australian artists showed time and time again that they could give international artists a real run for their money and, in many cases, better than


It is just a wonderful time to be in the music industry right now and hear tomorrow’s superstars, such as19-Twenty, perform. 


We had legends like Taj Mahal, and younger artists are now establishing themselves as the legends of the future.


The Bluesfest Busking competition was another resounding success. Via our Busking Competition, we bring unsigned original artists to Bluesfest, showcasing a diverse range of genres, ages and epic talent. This year, we were thrilled to announce The Steele Syndicate as the winner of the Adult competition and The Royals won the Grommet competition.


We’re still calculating the numbers, but we know the attendance for Bluesfest this year was at least the same as in 2023. We have held our position, and as much as we would like to see more people come, it’s not going to happen until the interest rates drop. We do ask our government to support our industry until then.


We all know that the music industry is facing challenges right now. The interest rate rises, intended to curb the disposable dollar spending, have influenced all aspects of the industry except for superstars touring, such as Taylor Swift.


Bluesfest will be 125 million per-cent back in 2025. Our Early Bird tickets for Bluesfest 2025 are already selling well.


Let there be no doubt: Bluesfest has celebrated a triumphant 35 years of amazing live music, and we’re not done yet.


Under the stewardship and deft musical ear of festival director Peter Noble OAM, Bluesfest has blazed trails, helped break new talent, reintroduced masters to new audiences, rolled with the punches, adapted to the times and earned pride of place in the hearts and minds of artists and patrons alike to cement its status as one of the world’s leading contemporary music festivals.


There’s a reason the event is one of Australia’s most awarded – from six Australian Event of the Year awards and 10 nominations by industry bible Pollstar, as Best International Festival of the Year, Bluesfest and Peter Noble are renowned for consistent excellence.


It’s a reputation built on trust. Trust that the bill will thrill with old favourites, new discoveries, and strange delights. Trust that the team that puts the event together never rests on its laurels.


Bluesfest’s rich 35 years of fine-tuning and improving the experience for artists and their audiences have enabled the festival to create and nurture a space for the past and the future to meet in the present and tip their hats to the blues.


And this year’s tale of two Taj-es was a perfect example.


GRAMMY-winning Blues Hall of Famer Taj Mahal, who played an exclusive Australian show at Bluesfest to mark his 10th appearance at the event, and homegrown 14-year-old guitar wonder and certain future Grammy winner Taj Farrant beautifully bookend the marvellous musical alchemy blues embodies.


In between, well, we’ve enjoyed it all.


From returning favourites Ben Harper, Jack Johnson, Blind Boys of Alabama and The Cruel Sea to Playing For Change, the mastery of golden-voiced showman Tom Jones, live superstars Tedeschi Trucks Band, and 19-Twenty, the depth of talent on show was staggering.


Bluesfest is a team sport from the team of paid and volunteer workers to stallholders, crowds and campers, the performing artists and their crews, and the wider musical and local communities.

And nowhere was that more evident than front and centre across our stages.


Ziggy Alberts joined Jack Johnson during his set; the Blind Boys turned choir for Tom Jones, and Bluesfest star punter Kasey Chambers joined Sweet Talk and The Teskeys Brothers.


Of course, as far as Easter resurrections go, it was hard to beat the heartfelt, overflowing Mojo tent welcome for national treasure Jimmy Barnes’s return to live performing on Sunday night after life-saving heart surgery.

Jimmy was joined by some of his favourite fellow performers, including fellow Bluesfest stars Tommy Emmanuel and Josh Teskey, as well as musical royalty Bernard Fanning.


The best was saved for last when Ian Moss joined the Barnes family onstage for three blinding Cold Chisel classics: When the War is Over, Flame Trees, and Khe Sanh, in one of the extra-long weekend’s biggest singalongs. 


Taj Farrant wasn’t the only discovery on many punters’ programs this year.

Here Come the Mummies rocked our socks off while Infectious Grooves’ festival debut was a masterclass in tight, phat fun!


The brains behind it all, Peter Noble, has assured fans the event’s future is not in doubt but urges one and all to join the rallying cry for more Federal, State and Local government support for the live music sector.


Tickets for the four-day Bluesfest 2025 are on sale now! 

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About Bluesfest Byron Bay

Bluesfest is Australia’s most awarded music festival and was recognised as one of the TOP 10 Festivals of the Decade by industry bible Pollstar in 2021. From its humble beginnings in 1990, the festival now takes place at the beautiful Byron Events Farm (formerly the Tyagarah Tea Tree Farm) and has attracted audiences of over 100,000. Located just 10 minutes north of Byron Bay, NSW, Australia, Bluesfest is well-situated and surrounded by the charming village of Mullumbimby and the beach towns of Byron Bay and Brunswick Heads.