Australia is currently experiencing a renaissance in its music festival circuit. With boutique festivals constantly popping up to feed your most obscure niche and heavy hitters continually selling out in seconds, it’s quite clear Aussie’s hunger for days filled with nonstop tunes and good times.
Although it may seem like each summer you have a plethora of new festivals to fill your schedule with there’s a reason some of the country’s longest running festivals have endured for as long as they have.
This year Bluesfest will celebrate 30 years of delivering Australian music fans with unforgettable days filled with incredible performances, culture, and diversity. Over the course of 30 years, Bluesfest has evolved immensely, transcending the traditional meaning of what a music festival provides.
From celebrating the rich culture of indigenous music, to highlighting voices in blues and roots from around the world, it’s legacy has influenced generations of music fans and will live on
To celebrate Bluesfest’s massive 30 year anniversary, we’ve taken a look back on some of the country’s longest-running music festivals that all music fans need to tick off their bucket list.
Bluesfest Byron Bay – 30 years
No festival has accrued an ‘iconic’ status in the country quite like Byron Bay’s Bluesfest. Responsible for bringing out the likes of Bob Dylan, BB King, Erykah Badu, Robert Plant, R.E.M., Grace Jones, Patti Smith and more, it’s a five-day celebration of music and arts that has truly developed its own identity over its tenure.
Founded in 1990, tucked away in the rolling green hills of the East Coast’s crown jewel, Byron Bay, the festival offers up a totally whimsical and all-encompassing musical experience that transcends generations of fans of roots, blues, soul and rock.
Aside from delivering the world’s most iconic acts, the festival has always had a knack for spotting up and coming talent. Back in 1996, an unknown Ben Harper played his first set in Byron – this year, he’ll be returning to headline, marking his 12th appearance at the festival. The connection each artist playing the festival has with their fans parallels the deep seeded connection Bluesfest has with Australian live music culture – it signifies the country’s unique relationship with performers.
Shaking things up even further, Bluesfest’s very own festival-within-a-festival Boomerang Festival will be making a return to highlight the wealth of indigenous talent on offer, including Baker Boy, Archie Roach and Mojo Juju. First appearing at Bluesfest back in 2013, Boomerang is described as a dedicated First Nations program that aims to showcase excellence through performance and culture.
This year’s installment boasts a lineup featuring the Godfather of Punk himself, Iggy Pop, The Raconteurs, Norah Jones and more alongside a slew of Australian legends-of-tomorrow. It’s set to be a truly wondrous spectacle and with acts that span generations, there’s something for all ages to enjoy.
Watch: Tash Sultana live @ Bluesfest Byron Bay 2018
Tamworth Country Music Festival – 47 years
Taking over the entire town of Tamworth for almost a month, no festival offers up quite an experience like Tamworth Country Music Festival. In every nook, cranny, pub, and church the sounds of trailblazing folk-rockers, sentimental country crooners and Americana lifers reverberate with intensity.
For 47 years, country music lovers have flocked to the town to celebrate the nations best in the genre. With over 2,800 events, including 800 artists playing across 120 venues, there’s truly something for everyone.
Watch: Keith Urban and Kasey Chambers live @ Tamworth Country Music Festival 2019
Falls Festival – 26 years
Founded in 1993, the festival has constantly showcased the best in alternative music, with its early lineups boasting the likes of Pennywise, Iggy Pop, Blondie and more.
Spanning four locations, Falls Festival is the ultimate New Years music celebration. 2018/2019’s lineup saw the world’s best in hip hop, indie and pop flock to Australia’s most picturesque rural locations in.
Watch: Liam Gallagher @ Falls Festival Byron Bay 2018
Woodford Folk Festival – 25 years
Attracting over 125, 000 each year, Woodford Folk Festival is one of the country’s largest annual cultural hallmarks. Taking place over six days, punters celebrate the New Year amidst the atmospheric and emotionally-piercing sounds of the best in local and international folk music.
With approximately 2000 performers at the helm and 438 events are programmed featuring local, national and international guests, amplifying an ambience of total creativity and expression.
The week is topped off with a New Years Day closing ceremony
Watch: Violent Femmes live @ Woodford Folk Festival
Meredith Music Festival – 28 years
If the words ‘Supernatural Amphitheater’ isn’t enough to entice you to take a trip to Meredith, perhaps its long history of totally jaw-dropping lineups will. Boasting the likes of Sleater-Kinney, Built To Spill, Angel Olsen and more over its tenure, Meredith is a hallmark of alternative music.
Watch: Angel Olsen live @ Meredith Music Festival
Catch all the action at Bluesfest
Bluesfest 2019 Lineup
Ben Harper & the Innocent Criminals
Gary Clark Jr.
St. Paul and The Broken Bones
Thursday, April 18th – Monday, April 22nd, 2019
Tyagarah Tea Tree Farm, Byron Bay, NSW