Steve "The Colonel" Cropper is the best-known Soul guitarist in the world. The original member of the Blues Brothers band. A major figure in the Southern Soul movement of the '60s. In the '80s, he rode the classic STAX sound back to popularity with a new audience when actors John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd tapped him for service in The Blues Brothers.
"Blue" Lou Marini is one of the most sought after session horn players on saxophone, flute and clarinet and an original member of the Blues Brothers band.
Leon "The Lion" Pendarvis the humble musical genius, Band Leader, arranger, composer and keyboard extraordinaire has performed, composed, written and recorded with everyone in the music business and besides the original member of the Blues Brothers band.
"Smokin" John Tropea is a guitarist with extensive experience in the Rock, Pop, and Jazz genres. Tropea has written for and played with major recording artists from around the world.
Eric "The Red" Udel a dynamic performer with looks that match his incredible talent, has evolved into a superb musician.
Lee "Funkeytime" Finkelstein is an in-demand drummer in New York City who currently plays with the Original Blues Brothers™.
Larry "Trombonius Maximus" Farrell is a real musical character. He is one of the top horn players on call in New York City, is always in high demand and very esteemed and respected.
Bobby "Sweet Soul" Harden the Soul Man from New York. Most acclaimed Soul singing sensation is thrilling audiences globally as lead singer of the world-famous Original Blues Brothers™ Band.
Rob "The Honeydripper" Paparozzi is a Grammy nominated American harmonica player and vocalist from New Jersey.
This is going to be one fantastic, nonstop, foot tapping show and rest assured: you will not be able to stop smiling when The Original Blues Brothers Band hits the Bluesfest stage.
“the voice of Don McLean is one of the great instruments of 20th Century America” – Roy Orbison
"Don McLean: his work, like the man himself, is very deep and very compassionate. His pop anthem 'American Pie' is a cultural phenomenon" – Garth Brooks
The man himself, responsible for contemporary music’s most celebrated classic ‘American Pie’, Don McLean, is returning to Australia for the first time in three years and to Bluesfest for the first time in eight years!
This master songwriter also penned huge hits including ‘Vincent (Starry Starry Night)’, ‘Castles In The Air’, ‘Dreidel’, ‘Crying’, and ‘And I Love You So’.
With a career spanning over 40 years, 20 albums, six American Top 40 singles, and 40 Gold & Platinum records worldwide, McLean is renowned as one of the truly great singers and songwriters in contemporary music history.
His songs have been covered by Elvis Presley, Shirley Bassey, Glen Campbell, Josh Groban, George Michael, Madonna, and even punk band NOFX.
With a string of awards and honours including the Songwriters and Grammy Hall of Fame, McLean is one of the most respected and enduring artists of his generation.
Held in the highest regard by musical royalty, when McLean covered Roy Orbison’s hit ‘Crying’, which peaked at No. 5 on the Billboard charts, Orbison said that it was the best cover of the song he’d ever heard and McLean did a better job than he did.
Don McLean drew the second largest audience in British history, next to the Rolling Stones, with his 1975 concert in Hyde Park, and holds the attendance record at the Capitol Theatre in Australia with 18 consecutive performances, which broke Joni Mitchell’s record.
McLean is a gifted story teller; ‘Vincent’ inspired by troubled artist Vincent Van Gough, ‘American Pie’, the tragic death of Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens & The Big Bopper in a plane crash, ‘Wonderful Baby’ about Fred Astaire (whom later covered the song himself), and ‘Superman’s Ghost’, inspired by George Reeves who portrayed Superman. And in a spade of reciprocation, Don has inspired countless other artists as diverse as Michael Stipe from REM to Rapper Tupac Shakur; Don also has writing credits for artists including Drake and Olivia Newton-John, and his captivating live performance inspired the mega-hit ballad ‘Killing Me Softly With His Song’, made famous by Roberta Flack, and later covered by The Fugees.
Don’t miss this legend live at Bluesfest, and prepare your own voice, as you know the sing-a-long to end all sing-a-longs will happen in this exciting set!
DON MCLEAN will perform on Friday 25th of March.
The past five years have been an incredible musical journey for both Russell and his fans, fortunate enough to create and release two albums of Blues and Roots music that pertains to some of the iconic characters, events and moments in our rich tapestry of Australian history.
Red Dirt Red Heart is the final installment by ARIA Hall of Fame Inductee Russell Morris, from his Blues & Roots Album Trilogy.
Following on from his critically acclaimed releases; Sharkmouth and Van Diemen's Land, Red Dirt Red Heart tells a story of the Australian interior. This album goes on to tell the stories of two bush rangers, another about a beautiful town, a song about a loner, a recluse, and an escape artist (Goal that is), a snake and the spectacular Nullarbor Desert.
Welcome back to Bluesfest Mr Morris! It is always a huge pleasure experiencing your incredible craftsmanship at Bluesfest!
RUSSELL MORRIS will perform on Monday 28th of March.
THE BLIND BOYS OF ALABAMA
“seeing the Blind Boys of Alabama in concert is part living history, part concert, all uplifting experience…the best moments come when the group join forces for stirring harmonies…Inspired and relevant…borders on the miraculous” – The Washington Post
The Blind Boys of Alabama have the rare distinction of being recognized around the world as both living legends and modern-day innovators. They are not just Gospel singers borrowing from old traditions; the group helped to define those traditions in the 20th century and almost single-handedly created a new gospel sound for the 21st. Since the original members first sang together as kids at the Alabama Institute for the Negro Blind in the late 1930s (including Jimmy Carter, who will be leading the group at Bluesfest), the band has preserved through seven decades to become one of the most recognised and decorated Gospel Soul music groups in the world.
In the early 1960s, the band sang at benefits for Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and were a part of the soundtrack to the Civil Rights movement. It’s almost unbelievable that a group of blind, African-American singers, who started out touring during a time of whites-only bathrooms, restaurants and hotels, went on to win five Grammy Awards, a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award, be inducted into the Gospel Music Hall of Fame, and to perform at the White House for three different presidents.
Their most recent album, Talkin’ Christmas!, a collaboration with Bluesfest legend Taj Mahal, continues the band’s streak of creating original and interesting work. It includes new versions of Christmas standards, covers of hidden gospel gems, and seven brand-new holiday songs – six of which are the first Christmas songs ever penned by the Blind Boys themselves.
We could not be more excited to be welcoming back this genre reviving, five time Grammy Award winning band for their seventh Bluesfest visit which will undoubtedly become a seventh heaven experience when they take the stage.
THE BLIND BOYS OF ALABAMA will perform on Sunday 27th and Monday 28th of March .
JEFF MARTIN (THE TEA PARTY)
“Rock alchemy is at play…Always epic but never grandiose”- Sydney Morning Herald
“If your ears have had enough of mediocre mainstream sounds, treat your senses to the many musical flavours and moods of Jeff Martin and Co.” - Beat
It has been nine long years since the Bluesfest stages has been graced by the “child prodigy”, “virtuoso guitarist”, “singer with perfect pitch”, “the devil’s child”and “an occult reincarnation” that is Jeff Martin. In 1992 he set the music industry abuzz as he became the youngest ever producer of an EMI record (Splendor Solis). 24 years on and almost four million record sales later, he is regarded as the highest calibre of songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer.
Jeff formed The Tea Party in 1990 and their 15 year, eight major-label release career has led to comparisons to Led Zeppelin and his appearance, voice and singing style has drawn comparisons to that of Jim Morrison. Jeff Martin’s solo craft has drawn inspiration through his extensive travels with psychedelic influences mixed with elements of Middle Eastern, Celtic and Mediterranean music.
The Canadian-born artist, who now resides in the Byron Bay area, has legions of loyal and long lasting fans due to his live energy, many have likened a Jeff Martin acoustic show as ‘a religious experience’ that stays with them forever. Bluesfest audience: Get ready to share this unique experience together!
JEFF MARTIN (THE TEA PARTY) will perform on Sunday 27th and Monday 28th of March .
A Bundjalung / Gunditjmara man, Archie is one of Australia's beloved, respected and admired singer/songwriters with a voice and sensibility that is this country's most important song line.
A venerable and dignified performer, he captured the hearts and minds of a nation in 1990 with Charcoal Lane and the landmark song 'Took the Children Away'. Now, celebrating the 25th anniversary edition release of Charcoal Lane, he has made a triumphant return from incredible adversity and personal pain, bold enough to come back to the stage and the spotlight and tell us what he has learned.
Charcoal Lane won two ARIA awards, gold status in Australia and was acclaimed in US Rolling Stone's Top 50 Albums for 1992. Looking back, it may mean more that Archie's truthful song and the humanity that made Paul Kelly and Steve Connolly want to produce this first album was honoured with a Human Rights Award. This was a first in Australia. Archie humbly came to understand the special power of music to make people listen, think and feel so very deeply.
The secret beating heart of Archie Roach's music is the connection to his country and people. Archie's voice, with a tremor like broken moonlight, washes in across the southern ocean.
Influenced by Gospel, Jazz and especially the soulful American singers like Sam Cooke and Nat King Cole, he was early inspired as a child by a Hank Williams song and that, Archie says, made him pick up a guitar and in time become a songwriter.
He has travelled the world performing with the likes of Paul Kelly, Joan Armatrading, Bob Dylan, Billy Bragg, Tracy Chapman, Suzanne Vega, Patti Smith and Crowded House, and performed an unforgettable tribute to the late Uncle Jimmy Little at the Sydney Opera House.
Archie's songs bring audiences together to think of the hurt we cause one another but also the forgiveness that heals and lets us rise above it all.
Archie will be performing his moving, heartfelt songs at Bluesfest, and appear in conversation in the Boomerang Precinct.
ARCHIE ROACH will perform on Friday 25th of March on the Bluesfest stage and will also be featuring on the Boomerang Talks & Ideas program, discussing '25 years of Charcoal Lane'.
TEX PERKINS AND THE APE
“A little tough, a little boozy, and a whole lot of balls… a cracker” - AU REVIEW
Bluesfest is excited about the return of an Australian Rock legend and another ‘Byron Bay local’, The Cruel Sea’s Tex Perkins – perhaps a little different to when our audiences saw him last…
An Australian supergroup like none other; lead by Tex, and featuring Raul Sanchez (Magic Dirt) on guitar; Gus Agars (The Dark Horses/The Gin Club) on drums and vocals; style king Pat Bourke (Dallas Crane) on bass and piano, form The Ape: a raunchy, rough-around the edges outfit full of grit, cheek, and unapologetic, dirty Rock’n’Roll.
“The Ape is the album I was born to make. It is the album that Richie - the president of the Tex Perkins fan club -has been waiting for. It is an album bursting with swing and grunt, and is easily the best thing I have ever done, or ever will do.” - Tex Perkins.
One of the most prolific and diverse Australian songwriters and performers, Perkins has collaborated with everyone from Don Walker (Cold Chisel) to Suzie Dimarchi (Baby Animals) to Tina Arena.
The multi-ARIA award winner has constructed and produced landmark and widely successful projects including his Ladyboyz, Tex, Don & Charlie, The Dark Horses, TnT and Beasts of Bourbon, as well as the highly successful Johnny Cash tribute show, in which he played the lead to resounding acclaim.
Performing with some of the country’s most experienced and respected Rock musicians in Sanchez, Agars and Bourke, Tex leads and almighty power-packed band that is guaranteed to rock!
Tex Perkins and The Ape, bringing you primitive, filthy fun Rock’n’Roll since 2013, will set hearts and heads on fire at Bluesfest 2016 – get ready for a kicker of a show!
TEX PERKINS AND THE APE will perform on Friday 25th of March.
“There’s a reason these two have been lauded as an Austin breakout” – Glide Magazine
“this chiming country rock with its sumptuous vocals and easy flowing melodies makes a perfect soundtrack for a summer of warm nights and hot, lazy days” – American Songwriter
“Chris is the best guitar player that's ever been in this band and Eleanor's a better musician than any of us,” Steve Earle.
Austin, TX-based Alt-Country husband and wife duo The Mastersons are coming back to Bluesfest!
The charming duo's lilting song craft and charismatic chemistry have already won over listeners around the world, thanks to the couple’s ongoing status as members of Steve Earle's band The Dukes, their frequent opening sets for Earle, and their critically-lauded 2012 debut album, Birds Fly South.
Their second album Good Luck Charm is generously filled with infectious melodies, instinctive harmonies and vividly insightful lyrics, embodying the uncanny rapport that singer/guitarist Chris and singer-violinist-guitarist Eleanor have developed in their experiences living, touring and making music together. It was recorded with noted producer/engineer Jim Scott, whose resume includes work with Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, Wilco and the Dixie Chicks.
Eleanor and Chris have both been making music for most of their lives. Eleanor began playing fiddle at the age of four and studied with legendary Texas fiddler Johnny Gimble. Chris, meanwhile, was a teen guitar prodigy, playing the Blues in Houston clubs by the age of 13. Both future partners had considerable success as instrumentalists-for-hire, with Eleanor backing the likes of Regina Spektor, Kelly Willis, Diana Ross and Will Hoge, and Chris playing with Son Volt, Jack Ingram, Bobby Bare Jr. and Wayne Hancock. They then toured and recorded with Steve Earle, performing together on numerous Earle tours and playing on his acclaimed album The Low Highway.
Don’t miss this charming couple’s impressive musicianship and storytelling at Bluesfest 2016!
THE MASTERSONS will perform on Friday 25th of March.
“…nothing short of breath-taking; a stark reminder of the huge gap between simply ‘playing guitar’ and the ability to make an instrument the extension of your musical imagination” - X Press Magazine
Since forming in 2006, Julz Parker and Leesa Gentz have forged their own, very unique way into the Australian music scene as Hussy Hicks, a formidable acoustic duo.
Their influences are drawn from Blues and Country, and from their travels, combining a distinctly Australian Roots edge with European Gypsy guitar, Arabic rhythms and optimistic social commentaries.
Having won the Bluesfest Busking Competition in 2010, Hussy Hicks have gone on to tour internationally with great success. It’s with absolute pleasure and wide open arms that we welcome back Hussy Hicks to the Bluesfest stage this Easter.
HUSSY HICKS will perform on Friday 25th & Sunday 27th of March.
Bluesfest welcomes one of Australia’s most promising new and eclectic bands, N.E. Arnhem Land rock sensation and multi-award NIMA winners East Journey, who will play a full electric set at Bluesfest 2016.
East Journey members, like Yothu Yindi before them, have deep spiritual relationships with their land, sea and country. These relationships, in part, are maintained through song, dance and ceremony, and public aspects of this relationship are found in the band’s recordings and live performances.
East Journey’s inspiration and material is drawn from manikay (ceremonial song poetry), traditional melodies and instruments that, through guidance and encouragement from their elders, is fused together with western and contemporary musical traditions.
Their music is a blend of Contemporary Acoustic Rock, highlighted with traditional bilma (clapsticks) and yidaki (didgeridoo). They tell their ancestral stories in a uniquely different modern style, to engage audiences, no matter whether the broader general Australian public are from the city, bush or sea areas.
Beieling music, dance and culture are of mutual benefit to all, they plan to build on traditional knowledge, and on the past success of Yolngu musicians, to share their experiences to build strong communities and develop role models for the future.
The 2012 debut album Guwak (named after their totem, the nightbird) received five nominations at the National Indigenous Music Awards. They received the award for their songlines Mokuy & Bonba recorded with permission to be publically available via The Genesis Project EP released earlier this year. This is a collaboration with their mentors from the first generation of Yothu Yindi and was produced by Native American guitarist Stevie Salas, who has worked with Mick Jagger, Aerosmith and Justin Timberlake.
Don’t miss this opportunity to see the live experience that Rolling Stone have called "explosive" when East Journey take to the Bluesfest stage for the first time and you will also be able to catch them in the Boomerang precinct. .
EAST JOURNEY will perform on Saturday 26th of March on the Bluesfest Stage and will also be performing at the Dancestry Grounds as part of 'Going Wanhurr' at the Boomerang Festival at Bluesfest.
GREAT NEWS: PROUDLY ANNOUNCING BOOMERANG @ BLUESFEST
Bluesfest and Boomerang Festival have come together to provide a First peoples experience like no other including: Talks and Ideas, Workshops, Traditional Healing Practices and Dance – with more to be announced!
It is a unique cultural exchange that we know is going to touch, inspire, excite and amaze you in ways other cultural experiences cannot. Our Indigenous culture is really that special, and it is a privilege and pleasure to create this space for you to enjoy!
We are excited and proud to yesterday announce the first group of talented artists and cultural leaders in what is shaping up to be a truly deadly Boomerang program. See the Boomerang line-up to date right here
Yesterday, we also launched a Crowd Funding Campaign for Boomerang Festival to encourage community support for it to grow back into a stand-along, independent festival that thrives and becomes a landmark event for Northern NSW, and the nation.
READ MORE AND SHOW YOUR SUPPORT HERE
Win the ultimate USA road trip!
We have teamed up with STA Travel and Visit the USA to bring you the chance to win the ultimate USA road trip for you and a friend!
Score 2 x return flights from Sydney to LA + 7 nights Road Bear RV Rental.
||Purchase any ticket to the 27th annual Bluesfest Byron Bay
before 14 March 2016.