Musical extravaganza - what a party!
3 May 2011
Bluesfest 2011wraps up its 22nd festival with the world's finest musicians and 110,000 fans
Running at six glorious days and nights for the first time ever, Bluesfest wrapped up tonight in Byron Bay leaving fans, artists and organisers exhausted, elated and euphoric.
With final numbers expected within a few days, Bluesfest saw approximately 110,000 people enter its gates at its Tyagarah Tea Tree Farm event site – averaging out to about 18,000 people per day. With terrific weather for 95 percent plus across the festival period, Bluesfest has been a great success for both festival goers and the Byron Shire business economy alike.
Commentators and pundits from across the music industry are saying Bluesfest 2011 is probably the best musical line-up in Australian festival history. And with an immense depth of cross-genre, musical excellence throughout the entire line-up this year, they could well be right!
At Bluesfest 2011, fans were royally treated to artists such as: Bob Dylan, BB King, Elvis Costello & The Imposters, Ben Harper & Relentless7, Los Lobos, Blind Boys of Alabama with Aaron Neville, Grace Jones, Mavis Staples, ZZ Top, Kasey Chambers, Warren Haynes, Michael Franti & Spearhead, Rodrigo y Gabriela, The Cat Empire, Derek Trucks & Susan Tedeschi Band, Robert Randolph & the Family Band, Fistful of Mercy, Mavis Staples, Tony Joe White, Indigo Girls, Kate Miller-Heidke, Washington, Jethro Tull, ZZ Top, John Legend , Grace Jones, Gurrumul, Toots & the Maytals, Wolfmother, Funky Meters, Irma Thomas, Paul Kelly, Buffy Sainte-Marie, Tim Finn, Leon Russell, George Clinton Parliament Funkadelic, Luciano and the Jah Messenjah Band, Ernest Ranglin, Fishbone – and the list just goes on and on!
Festival Director Peter Noble said, “I know we do everything we can each year to better our festival, but let’s just say, this year will be very hard to beat! We’ve been blessed with good weather, we’ve had a very peaceful and happy event, and we’ve had the planet’s finest artists delivering incredible music for six days and nights straight.
“Last year we were named as the Australian Event of the Year and Best Cultural or Arts Event at the 2010 Australian Event Awards – well, we’re feeling optimistic for 2011 as Bluesfest this year has been even better on almost every level!”
“Bob Dylan’s set was wonderful and people are saying his concert was the best show they’ve seen in years. Great things are also being said about bigger name and lesser known artists alike: Jethro Tull, Elvis Costello, Mavis Staples, Irma Thomas, Grace Jones, Ben Harper, Rodrigo y Gabriela, Peter Rowan & The Blue Grass Band, Derek Trucks & Susan Tedeschi Band, Gurrumul, Buffy Sainte-Marie and Barrence Whitfield – who all delivered outstanding performances.
Peter Noble concluded: “Bluesfest is proud to be a family event that remains artistically, musically and ethnically diverse. We’ve grown bigger as we’ve evolved to appeal to multiple generations of music lovers, but our success comes from staying true to our roots and loyal to our many patrons who’ve been with us since Day One. So stay happy, fight the good fight, and we’ll see you next year for another spicy gumbo mix of madness and fun when we do it all again!”
Every year at Bluesfest a buzz generates around some fantastic emerging artists who play a great set one day, only to play to a jam-packed tent for their following Bluesfest performance the next day. In 2011, Bluesfest would like to make a special mention to the following incredible emerging artists who, this year, did just that: Trombone Shorty and Orleans Avenue, Raul Malo, Public Opinion Afro Orchestra, and A French Butler Called Smith – all of them just incredible. Big honours also go to Germany’s amazing blues band B.B. & The Blues Shacks, the sultry Yodelice from France, and the captivating Melbourne Ska Orchestra conducted by Nicky Bomba. Hats off to all of you guys!
The winner of the Bluesfest 2011 “Busking over Byron” busking competition was the fantastic Minnie Marks – who impressed judges and audience members with her quirky, funky acoustic rhythms – well done Minnie!
Australia’s favourite ‘anti-pop festival’
Peter Noble continued, “At Bluesfest, the feeling is a genuinely aware, globally united, anti-mainstream spirit and attitude – the musicians who play here get it – and the audience definitely gets it. Artists tell us all the time they love playing at Bluesfest. First Byron is a special place, second they love the level of sound production we offer, and third – they say our audience is among the most receptive in the world! Bluesfest is at heart a family event. We strive to be inclusive of everyone while remaining a festival that holds no more than 18,000 people per day (much less than most of Australia’s big festivals). That’s why we celebrate a diversity of cultures, ethnicity, musical spirit and genres. This is the lifeblood of Bluesfest, and everything we stand for."